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ESCP - I'd appreciate your views on this

(24 Posts)
engeika Thu 22-Jan-15 13:14:30

My DD has decided that she wants to study abroad instead of at a British University. The brochure at ESCP looks good but in reality I don't know anyone who has had any direct experience of it.

What is it like? What are the job prospects of an ESCP graduate compared with a graduate of a British university? Do you know anyone who has been there?


Bonsoir Thu 22-Jan-15 13:17:18

Are you talking about Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris?

engeika Thu 22-Jan-15 13:40:39

No, Sorry - I am not sure exactly what it stands for - European something Business School I think.

Bonsoir Thu 22-Jan-15 14:37:33

ESCP = Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris. It is a highly regarded business school for French students who take the two year Prepa (foundation) course and competitive entrance exam to enter the Masters programme but I would be reticent about the three-year Bachelors programme.

engeika Thu 22-Jan-15 15:57:00

Oh right - didn't realise that - thank you. Sorry - not usually so stupid. Also I hadn't realised it was French based as my daughter was talking about London and Madrid. Haven't done my research yet she just told me today and I have looked at the website but that's it.

Why would you be reticent about the Bachelor's programme? I'd be really interested in your views as you seem to know what you are talking about.

Bonsoir Thu 22-Jan-15 20:33:23

The French Grandes Ecoles de Commerce, of which ESCP is a famous and good one, work on a model whereby future students do two years of extremely hard work in a Prepa (foundation course/crammer) at the end of which they take very competitive entrance exams. Once they are "in" to the Grande Ecole the quality of teaching and demands of the course are not particularly high. It's an unusual and old-fashioned academic model but has the merit of selecting very high-performing students with a huge capacity for hard work, as demonstrated by the two Prepa years and the entrance exams.

I would have serious reservations about the learning experience in the same school minus the Prepa!

engeika Thu 22-Jan-15 22:14:23

OK thanks - that makes sense.

There is an open day next month and DD wants to go so I'll take her. I will specifically ask about the points you have made.

Bonsoir Fri 23-Jan-15 08:30:18

Is it the study in other countries that particularly attracts your DD? There are lots of courses at British universities that have a year abroad.

UptheChimney Fri 23-Jan-15 08:55:16

Why does your daughter want to go to another EU university? Does she have future employment or current educational reasons? Is it to avoid debt or fees?

I think she needs to think very carefully. Does she have a second and third language (in addition to English) with at least one of the non-English languages at very high level of fluency?

I think the thing that I observe from family in France & Germany & Italy at university is that the experience is very different from a typical UK experience. The lifestyle is very different (a lot more stay at home or in private rental accommodation -- generally there are not the halls of residence as standard as in the UK). Teaching is very different: generally very large class sizes, and not the individual attention a good degree in the UK will offer.

OTOH, there's the possibility of increased mobility by being educated in a second or third language, and the fantastic experience of being truly multicultural.

Needmoresleep Fri 23-Jan-15 09:44:27

Interesting. Bonsoir, what do you think about French Universities for a Masters? Obviously INSEAD, but what others are worth considering? Because DS has gone to a local University for UG, he is likely to want to go somewhere quite different if he carries on to post-Graduate studies.

OP, we looked briefly at European options, albeit for economics rather than business, but as UptheChimney suggests the different educational style put us off. Also degrees in England are three years. Not so in Germany and elsewhere. And course content can be very different. Certainly no one else seems to offer economics in the same way. Ditto I suspect the Anglo-Saxon approach to accountancy and finance opens more doors internationally than something based on European traditions.

I agree though with UptheChimney that for many business/finance careers there are advantages in a multi-cultural education.

The alternative to leaving study abroad until Post-Grad, is to choose a degree with the option of a year abroad, or to look to a year's study abroad before or after a degree in the UK. A bit of Googling suggests that ESCP's Erasmus study partners are Aston, Cass/City, Lancaster and Bath, but I can't work out whether these opportunities are limited to Masters or are available to UGs. The French may find our tertiary education system confusing but their's is even more so. When we were looking there seemed to be a range of short and summer courses offered by various institutions, however I suspect these were mainly aimed at students from the US and probably were not cheap.

(Contacts made as a result of a school German exchange has meant a steady stream of German students staying with us whilst they attend LSE summer schools. Summer schools seem a common way for Europeans to internationalise their degrees, improve their English, and discover London. A lot of of work hard/play hard. They leave exhausted.)

Bonsoir Fri 23-Jan-15 10:53:56

Needmoresleep - INSEAD is not "French" - it is merely located in France (I am an alumna and also worked there). It is a very good MBA programme that attracts top flight students and recruiters but you do need 2+ years of proper work before applying. The course would be meaningless without real professional experience.

If your DS wants to do an Economics Masters there is a good one at Polytechnique in conjunction with HEC but it is very academic and is prep for a PhD rather than a career in finance.

Bonsoir Fri 23-Jan-15 11:03:12

If your DS is a fan of Piketty he could investigate the Paris School of Economics.

Needmoresleep Fri 23-Jan-15 11:04:11

Thanks. To early for DS to decide what route he will want to take, academic or otherwise, other than a general sense that he should spend time out of London, especially if he then plans to apply for a London based job. Plus there is so much maths in the UG degree that a Masters might be sensible simply to do some economics.

Perhaps rather than advise French students on English Universities you could take on a role advising English students of French options!

Bonsoir Fri 23-Jan-15 11:18:04

There is an awful lot more market demand for advice to French students on UK options than the other way round grin. But I am very happy to do both and in particular to weigh up the relative merits of both courses.

Bonsoir Fri 23-Jan-15 12:39:21

Interesting article in today's Les Echos about French business schools:

DP and I agree entirely/have thought same for a long time (which is one of the reasons we were so keen for the DSSs to go to university in the UK).

Needmoresleep Fri 23-Jan-15 13:19:58

Hmm, he as just got to the end of Piketty's book and went to hear him speak in London last year. However I suspect he is a bit too English to be called a fan. Instead I think he appreciates someone challenging an approach which has economics as a branch of mathematics, and who questions standard market-based thinking.

Off-topic, however perhaps useful for OP to consider how different French thinking is from British. I suspect our DC have a real advantage, at least in terms of career opportunities in international firms, from their access to mainsteam Anglo-Saxon education. However this does not mean that a bit of exposure to other cultures and intellectual traditions would not go amiss.

I think the article is wrong about football as a comparator. The French punch way above their weight in terms of developing young footballers, because there have a very structured system of grass-roots sports development. Same goes for tennis. (Completely off-topic!)

Bonsoir Fri 23-Jan-15 14:30:04

I'm a great believer in understanding how other cultures think and where they priorities lie but I am not at all sure that the way to understand French thinking is through undergraduate education in one of their business schools: the thinking in French business schools (so I am not including INSEAD as it is not a French b-school) is a long way from the mainstream. And a bit dodgy, IMO, on the nuts-and-bolts.

engeika Fri 23-Jan-15 16:30:24

This is helpful, thanks. My DD is already at boarding school here and is very practical in so far as she is thinking about employability rather than in terms of pursuing an academic interest.

Because she has already left home the basic UG degree in a UK university hasn't really appealed - she is looking for something different.

She doesn't have a second language yet - the idea was to gain one through this. Most year abroad course in UK universities ask fro a language before you start. ( More research needed though I think)

I am very impressed that you are an INSEAD alumna Bonsoir. I was there in the 80's setting up an English language programme for MBA students and I was amazed by the place. I would have loved to have gone there!

Bonsoir Fri 23-Jan-15 20:13:54

Look around - there are lots of options for an ab initio (or post-GCSE) language learning at some universities and plenty of year abroad options in English.

Does your DD want to do a gap year? They are great for language learning if you go to a big city and do a reputable course.

Bonsoir Sun 25-Jan-15 09:43:36

Topical anecdote: DP and DSS2 went to the Open Day at Lycee Louis-le-Grand yesterday. DSS2 is very likely to apply to Louis-le-Grand as his first choice Prepa (which is his back up scenario if his UK university applications don't get him what he wants).

During the presentation the Head (Proviseur) said, up front, that his Prepa (probably the top state Prepa in France and very competitive) was under ever increasing competitive pressure from international universities. DP (who has been to a lot of open days these past few years) says it's the first time he has heard a head being so up front about the situation.

MillyMollyMama Mon 26-Jan-15 00:23:09

It is definitely possible to do a year abroad in a French Grand Ecole from a UK university. I am not sure Cambridge considers the year abroad in one to be a second rate experience. It does appear they are full of very rich students and I have heard of lots of consuming great wine, cheese and weird initiation ceremonies. They are the public schools of universities!

Bonsoir Mon 26-Jan-15 07:46:49

I expect Cambridge does exchanges with a Grande Ecole d'Ingenieurs, not a Grande École de Commerce (like ESCP).

The French Grandes Ecoles d'Ingenieurs are academically (very) rigorous.

UptheChimney Mon 26-Jan-15 08:06:06

My DD is already at boarding school here and is very practical in so far as she is thinking about employability rather than in terms of pursuing an academic interest

Can I suggest that, in most courses, the two can't be separated? and that your DD is a bit naïve or ill-informed about the purpose of a university education. Here in the First World, we live in a knowledge economy. The skills that pretty much all university courses (however practice-based) give graduates is that of critical thinking. This is not a skill for specific employment, it is the fundamental base of 'academic' education. It means that a graduate has the knowledge skills and critical thinking skills to keep on learning, adapting, and innovating.

If she wants a job, then why bother with university? There are ways to learn on the job in almost all areas of employment. A degree is not simply a certificate to get you a job. Or if too many students see it only as that, god help us in the next generation.

engeika Mon 26-Jan-15 10:11:17

Fair point UptheChimney. I worded that very badly. You are right and make some good points.

I suppose what I am worried about is the number of my friends' kids, (I had my DCs late so most of my friends' DCs are 5 -15 years ahead of us), who studied something at university and are still job hunting having got good degrees. (A 2:1 in Law and still no training contract, a 2:1 in Biology and no job at all six years on, a first in History and no job for seven years, a 2:2 in English and after five years a series of temporary admin jobs in London....)

She has in fact thought about whether or not to go to university at all - but not in a negative way but in a "wonder if it is the best use of time" way. Especially as part of the "experience" is the whole living away from home/ being independent thing that she is already doing.

(I make her sound horrible and precious - she isn't - these are more my thoughts I suppose. She is just trying to work out what is for the best like all of them are at this stage.)

We also have money problems and there have been consequences - I think this has impacted on her need to earn.

I also think the GAP year idea of doing an ab initio language course is a good one. ( Thanks Bonsoir)

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