Category Archives: Courses

Semester Wrap Up

What a whirlwind 4 months it’s been. I still vividly recall the days spent holed up in Hotel Armstrong in the 20th (which has the best dining room music and punch-card room keys).

Now classes have ended, a farewall cocktail is planned and the inevitable goodbyes loom in the horizon.

Given the end of classes, I figure it’s the best time to reflect on my courseload. I chose classes that were interesting and unique to ESCP, which means they probably won’t transfer back neatly.

My Courseload

Strategic Marketing – One of the most practical courses I’ve ever taken. We used Markstrat, a marketing simulation where teams selling Sonite and Vodite products compete for global domination over 9 periods. I’m a bit of an analytics junky, but being overloaded with information challenged me to analyze only the most information to refine our strategy and tactics.

Positional Bargaining: Negotiation Workshop – Definitely recommended. While we started off with cases that had a few points to mull over, we eventually moved onto the final behemoth of a case which had 10+ points to negotiate, leading to a very dynamic discussion. The class is completely student driven so what you give is what you get. Being the one of the lead negotiators for 3/3 cases meant a lot of preparation before the hard fought international battles to reach a collective win-win outcome for both parties. Nothing like celebrating over a beer with your arch rivals in the ESCP courtyard after class.

Business Law – An informative look at the American and British business environment and its relationship with the law. It’s definitely advantageous to be exposed to the different legal systems and business implications given the global nature of ESCP.

Buying Your Own Business – While I wanted to love the course, I felt it was to short to deep dive into any topic. As a 5 week “sampler” course, the professor scratched the surface on many topics but didn’t go in depth in any. My key takeaway was a better understanding of the sale process in small/midsize business and the buyer/seller emotions. You really need to be a little bit crazy to be an entrepreneur!

European Integration & Management – A crash course seminar giving insight into the political, social and economic forces that’s shaped Paris (and Europe). This is mandatory for everyone that studies at ESCP and it was very interesting to see alternative management philosophies and cultural differences between Vancouver/Canada and Paris/France.

International Consulting – A short but succinct course giving an overview of international consulting and some consulting methodologies. While there were some interesting sessions by former consultants, what I really enjoyed was working on an optional consulting project. Being paired up with 3 other ESCP students and 4 MBA students from the Technion university in Israel to research and analyze innovative Greentech for use in Paris and Tel-Aviv/Haifa has been very interesting.

Sleeper Courses

The Big Management Fads: Tools and Lessons – Despite the slightly ridiculous name, one of the professors for this class only teaches the EMBA program and is an former management consultant. From what I’ve heard, it’s actually a very interesting course.

Should We Manage Young People And Seniors With The Same Approach? An Insight For Managing People And Understanding Consumers – Yes, you read it correctly. Imagine this gem on your CV. Instahire.

The Best Class I Never Took

Stratégie et Marketing des Industries du Luxe

Stratégie et Marketing des Industries du Luxe – Taught by Christian Blanckaert. Need I say more? I heard that he would be critiquing shops inside Printemps so I dropped by to see what the fuss was about. The man commands such a presence while effortlessly deconstructing a shop’s customer experience, all from a mere glance. While the course is taught exclusively in French, I’m confident this course, moreso Christian Blanckaert, will at least peak anyone’s interest in luxury marketing.

What I love about the course system at ESCP is the flexibility. Some courses run until the first half of the semester and others start midway during the semester. On the other hand, course registration is not done online, but manually. While you choose courses on the intranet, somebody manually registers you into these courses depending on space, prerequisites etc. This means not knowing what your courses you’re in until the very beginning of the semester.

Sidenote: My post on Why I Chose ESCP Europe has been featured on ESCP Europe. While completely unexpected, I have to admire ESCP’s brand management.

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Why I Chose ESCP Europe

Being 1 of the 4 students chosen to study at ESCP Europe this spring (1 of 2 this semester, 1 of 4 the entire year) has made me appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given even more.

Formerly ESCP-EAP, now ESCP Europe

When I chose where I wanted to go on exchange I considered things like the city, school reputation, coursework, night life, cultural experience, cost of living etc.

But for me, the choice was easy. In fact, ESCP Europe was the only school I applied to for exchange. I chose it for these 3 reasons: Professional Development, Academic Development and Personal Development.

Professional Development
When I applied for exchange (January 2010), ESCP Europe was ranked #3 in the world for its Masters in Management program by Financial Times. When I arrived (January 2011), it was ranked #1. It was important to me to be in an institution with high caliber, like-minded individuals. In addition, the amount of networking and on-campus recruiting events have been plentiful. ESCP Europe is unique because its a dedicated graduate business school, which means the school is 100% focused on business.

Academic Development
ESCP has boatloads of options. Courses like “Investment Banking and Financial Engineering” to “Positional Bargaining: Negotiation Workshop” were interesting courses I could only dream of taking back home. Not only this, but many of the professors have impressive industry backgrounds to. For example, the professor for “Strategy and Marketing the Luxury Industry” (albeit in French) was the former Chairman and CEO of Hermès Sellier.

What amazes me the most is the amount of classroom diversity. With ESCP’s 5 campuses in Paris, London, Madrid, Turin and Berlin, its easy for students to cycle between campus’. Its quite interesting to have a group project in “Buying your own Business” when three of your teammates have already worked in M&A, all in different countries. This kind of academic collaboration has been eye-opening for me and helped develop my global perspective.

Personal Development
Coming from Vancouver, I wanted to experience life in a metropolitan city. ESCP Europe is directly in the city of Paris. Paris is gorgeous. While I’m starting to feel settled in, I feel like I could spend years here and still have nooks to discover. The sheer volume and depth of arts and culture, history, monuments and museums is mighty impressive. Not to mention cities like Nice, Lille, Lyon, Grenoble all a short train ride away, its hard to complain.

Things like finding an apartment, living in a city where English isn’t the primary language and taking masters levels classes has moved me beyond my comfort zone. It definitely isn’t for everyone.

To me, ESCP Europe is the triple threat. I highly encourage anyone with the possibility to apply to ESCP Europe (Paris) to do so. Its been one of the best decisions I’ve made my entire life bar-none. Perhaps my only regret is not coming here sooner and staying for 2 semesters instead of 1. A semester here is definitely to short!

There’s no question that I’ll return to Paris sometime. Maybe for work, maybe for fun, but I’ll definitely be back.

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