Choosing the right business school to attend is a monumental decision. And it's one that doesn't just affect the student, particularly if it involves studying abroad. The Local spoke to the parents of two students enrolled at ESCP Europe's Bachelor in Management (BSc), an intensive programme where students spend each year of study in a different European country.
ESCP Europe boasts a prestigious reputation. Along with being the first business school in the world, the school is also triple-accredited and consistently ranked highly by the Financial Times. Founded in 1819 (and celebrating its bicentenary next year) the school's rich history combined with its forward-thinking and global approach to education makes it an appealing choice for both students and their parents.
The Bachelor in Management (BSc) allows students to grow in the most international of environments, offering them the choice to study at a different ESCP Europe campus every year (London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid or Turin). And, from September 2018 on, they will be able to complete their first year in the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Investor Romen Mathieu's 19-year-old daughter Marijo has just completed the second year of her undergraduate degree at ESCP Europe.
Photo: Romen and Marijo
With French and Lebanese parents, Marijo had an international upbringing, which her father believes taught her to be independent at an early age. It's what makes Romen certain that the Bachelor programme at ESCP Europe was the natural choice for his daughter.
“Marijo has travelled alone since she was 10 years old and used to visit her grandparents alone. We prepared her early on in life, so I'm not at all worried about her,” he says.
After spending the first year of her degree in London, Marijo chose to spend her second year in Paris. Romen is confident that this experience will be instrumental in helping her to one day kick off an international career.
“Studying at ESCP Europe is a key to success. We are living in a globalised world, you have to be able to adapt to another country and another job. She is getting that ability to adapt, changing from one country to another, one teacher to another, and one group of friends to a different group.”
Romen says this is an unforgettable experience for someone so young and believes no other business schools compare to ESCP Europe. He is also happy knowing his daughter is supported by dedicated staff every step of the way.
“To travel the world when you're young is great. At the same time, you're not throwing them into the jungle. They're very well supported by ESCP Europe. The entourage of staff is very good,” he says.
He adds it's reassuring knowing that the students also band together and forge strong bonds.
“There's a great spirit among them, which is very important because it helps with networking in the future,” he adds.
As well as immersing themselves in a different culture, there are obvious language learning benefits. The business school aims for graduates to improve their skills in three languages (including their mother tongue) on graduation, with some modules in the second and third years taught in the local language, depending on the track chosen.
It's a clear competitive advantage that will set them apart from graduates of other, less international business schools.
“Marijo already speaks Arabic, English and French fluently. She took Spanish at school and now she's learning German because she's going to Berlin this coming year,” Romen explains.
With students from more than 50 nationalities undertaking the management programme this year, it makes for a truly unique and international experience. It gives Romen confidence that his daughter will thrive once she graduates from ESCP Europe. He even hopes his 16 year-old daughter and 9 year-old son will follow in her footsteps and attend the school when the time comes.
While Marijo is the first and seemingly not the last member of her family to attend the school, fellow student, Max Muennighoff is the second generation of his family to attend ESCP Europe. His father Stefan also gained his Masters degree at the business school, spending the three-year programme between Paris, Oxford (now London) and Berlin.
Stefan says it was the beginning of his own successful career in business.
Photo: Stefan Muennighoff
“It was my starting point for an international career. I'm grateful for the school because it helped me to really go global,” he enthuses.
Stefan explains that Max had been intrigued by business from a young age and started his first internship in the US at the age of 16.
“He's seen me and what I've done and he likes that. He was always interested in business,” he says.
The change in Max since attending ESCP Europe has been clear to his father as well as the rest of his family.
“When I look at Max today compared to two years ago, he's been through a transition process. He has really become even more independent. He's extremely good at organising himself, he's very culturally aware of different countries, nationalities and the way people work differently,” Stefan notes with pride.
This level of awareness and maturity serves Max well on a day-to-day basis, particularly at Amazon Germany where he is currently interning.
Photo: Max Muennighoff
“It really helps him at Amazon where he is working with teams from different countries. He has learned leadership skills -- ESCP Europe gives him a wonderful platform but at the end of the day it's up to you what you make out of it,” he says.
At just 19 years-old Max has already completed various internships and is now preparing to enter his third year of business school. He is due to graduate at the age of 20 speaking German, French and English and with three year-long stints living in various foreign countries under his belt.
Stefan asserts that the programme may be challenging but recommends it provided your child is motivated and has family support.
“ESCP Europe gives them all the tools they need but they have to know how to use them.”
Applications are still open for the next course starting in September. Click here to find out more about the programme as well as the different tracks that students can choose from.
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by ESCP Europe.