ESCP-EAP - Fall 2008 by stariya

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									Exchange report – Fall 2008

University:       ESCP-EAP Paris
Students:         Jan Erik Olsen, Valentyna Sukhina, Kristine Vabø
Semester:         Fall 2008, Master programme


1. ACADEMIC INFORMATION

General Information about the School

Description of the school

ESCP-EAP is well respected, high-ranked business school in Europe (2nd business school in France). It
dates back to 19th century, with campuses in Paris, London, Berlin and Madrid.
The school is situated very centrally, near famous Père-Lachaise cemetry, metro station Rue Saint
Maur. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to get to school no matter where you live. There are 6
buildings on the campus, including auditoriums, library, canteen, gym, basement pub and even terasses
for group discussions in early autumn time. The school is rather small, and not as well equipped as BI.
But after a while one gets used to it, and it seems very cosy since everything is situated so close.

Number of students

There are around 2500 students with approximately 450 exchange students

Is the school a typical graduate or undergraduate institution?

The educational system is different in France. After college students make 2 years of preparatory
courses to enter “Grande Ecole”, and then the master programme takes 3 years. Courses at ESCP-EAP
are designed both for master students and students taking preparatory courses. The level of courses
depends whether you take foundation courses – equivalent to undergraduate courses, or specialisation
courses / electives – equivalent to graduate level.

Study structure

ESCP-EAP offers 2 types of courses – for 2.5 credits which can run in first or second half of semester,
and for 5 credits (equivalent to 6 ESTC at BI). If you are enrolled in specialisation track (like
marketing or finance) you will meet with same peers throughout whole semester. Study requirements
are much higher in specialisation track, and you need to register for it very early, because there is a
high demand. On the other hand, with elective courses you can have the freedom of chosing whatever
courses you like. However, all changes to course selections have to be made by the end of first week,
after this deadline you cannot withdraw from the courses. Depending on the course, you may have
lectures+final exam, lectures+presentation (as a final exam) or combination. Lecture attendance is
mandatory, after missing more than 2 lectures you may not be admitted to final exam.

The Teaching situation

In which language are the courses taught? Any problems?

The courses are in English and French. The number of courses offered in English is limited, but these
courses are very good. Exchange students normally take 1-2 courses in French. But finance courses in
French are not recommendable for exchange students, since there are so difficult. Though, some
professors can give you an option to take your exam in English, even if the course was in French.
There’s a department of liguistics at school, and you can benefit from private French lessons free of
charge (besides weekly courses of French at school).

How would you evaluate the level of study in relationship to the level at BI?

It depends on specialisation. In finance courses there’s less reading to do than at BI. Normally, all
study materials are handed out by professor. There may be 1-2 projects per semester and final exam
(which accounts for 50-60% of the grade). Open book exams are often practiced in finance courses. But
exams are as demanding as in BI (if not more).
Students at Marketing and International Management specialisation had to do a lot of project work
and presentations. So the study rhythm was much more hectic there, with 2-3 projects a week.

Is the teaching primarily practical or theoretical?

The courses are very practical, as compared to BI. Although, one disappointment was the course
“Knowledge management: what does information and communication technologies serve for?”, which
was very theoretical.

Are the professors using cases, group work or lectures (or a mix)?

In finance courses, it’s mostly lectures. In marketing and management courses it’s combination of
cases, group work and lectures.

How is the workload compared to that at BI?

The workload depends on the amount of courses taken here. Generally, the workload is lower than at
BI. However, some courses are extremely intensive and involve a lot of work as well as in BI. For
finance courses, semester is finished in end-November, so there’s a lot of work to be done in relatively
short period. For marketing and international management courses, most of exams are in mid-
December. 2.5 credit-courses finish very fast and 100% of grade is for presentation/project.

How is the relationship between faculty and students?

It depends on the teacher and his background. A lot of finance professors liked to be challenged and
given questions, you could easily approach them for questions at breaks and they responded willingly
to your e-mails. At some courses, there were visiting professors – people from industry and academia,
so this was a good chance to ask questions on the subject of interest.

What is the relationship between the students in the classroom?

It is true that international students stay together and do a lot of activities together. Mostly,
international students don’t interact too much with French students. But if you happen to be enrolled
in French class and make group work with French, they are generally nice and try to take into
consideration that your French is not as perfect as theirs. They are a bit silent and may seem
indifferent to you in classroom, but if you start talking to them first, then you can see that they are
nice, friendly people.
There are a lot of social events organized at school, f.e. almost every Thursday there’s a party at
school, access is free of charge for ESCP students. This is very good for meeting other students and
getting to know better French people.
Required Literature

Is the literature in English or local language?

It is mostly in English, even for French courses.

How do you estimate the level of the literature?

Not so high as in BI when it comes to academic literature, because the articles are usually from real life
situations, but the level of practical insight concerning practical literature, is far higher in ESCP-EAP.

Is exam based on the literature or on the lectures?

The grade for the course is made of one or more presentations, a written exam and
attendance/participation in class. You have to prepare readings for written exam, as well as know the
cases and hand-out material that were studies in class. So everything is important.

Exams

What types of exams were you given?

Some courses may have mid-term and final exams. Others may have presentation/project as a final
exam. Normally, exam is scheduled for the last class of the course. If not, you will be notified of
changes on intranet (equivalent to BI’s banner).

What knowledge level was required to pass the exams?

You definitely need to study throughout whole semester. Even open-book exams are very difficult if
you didn’t do a lot of previous studies.

Other

How is the library?

The library is smaller than at BI and has limited number of computers. But there are computer rooms
and project rooms or empty auditoriums, so you can always find some space to study. The internet
connection is not stable though and at some parts of the campus it is absent. Also, you have to make
sure you don’t have any pop-ups in your Firewall, otherwise you will be disconnected each 5 minutes.
In the library computers available are without the Office package, hence they are only for Internet
search. But in computer rooms there is Office package. Books can be rented only for 1 week, without
right to prolong your order. Library is open from 9 to 21 on Monday-Friday, and from 9-12 on
Saturday.

Do students have easy access to the library and its resources?

Yes, it’s available for everyone.

How is the access to the computers?

The computers are usually occupied because everyone uses them. Except computers in the library,
there are several computer classes.
How is IT used in the teaching or as a distributor of information?

There is something similar to Blackboard called Doc-Rider, but not a lot of teachers use it.
Information is distributed mostly through school e-mail account or personal letter box (privated letter
boxes will be allocated to every student). You need to check your time-schedule on intranet frequently,
because normally there is a lot of changes made in the last minute to your schedule. Anyway, there are
always electronic boards at school saying at which auditorium the class will take place. Teachers
mostly use paper hand-outs, sometimes supplemented by power-point.

Description of Courses

Course name: International consulting – BE39 A7
Exam: presentation/project on one of the topics in international consulting
Description: the course is interesting if you intend to work in the area of consulting, and is rather easy
if you need credits

Course name: Financial analysis and strategy of firms – FD01 A7
Exam: open-book exam on financial strategies / tendencies in specific industries, companies,
demonstration of financial concepts with company examples
Description: the course overviews privatisation, M&A, consolidation in certain industries, and financial
strategies of leading companies in each sector

Course name: International finance – FD08 A7
Exam: written exam with theoretical questions and calculations
Description: rather tough course, but extremely useful. Good for people who would like to work in
international treasury, it gives an insight into financial aspects of running a multinational company
and setting cross-national contracts

Course name: Investment banking and financial engineering– FDOC A7
Exam: written exam with theoretical questions and calculations
Description: tough course, requires basics in theory of finance, but extremely good course. The course
goes through techniques of company evaluation and capital structure management. It’s good for people
who could like to work in investment banking

Course name: A quoi servent les technologies de l’information et de la communiqations – BE8C
Exam: project/presentation on implementation of knowledge management system in specific
enterprise
Description: not recommmendable, too theoretical and uninteresting. The course goes through
definition of knowledge and various types of knowledge management.


Please fill in all the courses you have taken in this form
2. PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON THE SCHOOL AND THE EXCHANGE EXPERIENCE

Information before you left

When did you receive the information package from the University?

This year exchange coordinator sent out admission letters in April, and in May we were provided with
school e-mail and access the school intranet. In June-August they sent us some practical information
by e-mail.
Any difficulties?

No, if you have questions, contact Nathalie Royer – exchange coordinator. The only thing to keep in
mind is that the French have later and longer vacation then in Norway, so offices can be closed. The
lunch break is between 12 and 13:30.

Visa Procedure and travel experiences

What problems, if any did you encounter?

If you are citizen from EU or EFTA countries you don’t need visa to enter France. Exchange students
from countries outside EU or EFTA who stay in France for longer than 3 months, apply for student 6-
month visa, type D. You can make one easily and very fast in the French embassy in Oslo or in your
country. You can have 6-month student visa in France and residence permit in Norway at the same
time. At least make sure your residence permit in Norway is valid when you return after exchange
semester. Otherwise, you may be not allowed to enter Norway.

Does the visa cost anything?

6-month student visa costed 394 NOK in 2008.

How did you order your ticket – any problems?

Over Internet. No problems.

Insurance
As a Norwegian student in France you may be covered some limit by Norwegian social security.
Insurance with ANSA will cover the rest of what Norwegian social security doesn’t cover.
Non-EU students however cannot benefit from Norwegian social security while abroad. Therefore, it’s
necessary for them to buy insurance in their country.

Bank account
As a student of ESCP-EAP you can open bank account in any of the banks connected through network
with ESCP. It doesn’t cost you anything, and you will receive around 50-60 euros on your bank
account. The banks in which you can open account are: BNP-Paribas, Societe Generale, Bank
Populaire.
Opening a bank account takes some while. Normally you will be given an account the next day after
appointment at the bank. The visa (carte bleue) will be ready in 3 weeks.

Academic Calendar

Arrival date – introductory week

Orientation week (obligatory participation in the course “Integration and European Management”):
September 8-12, at the end of the week there’s exam for those students who would like credits for this
course.
Otherwise: September 18th

First day of the semester?

15th of September (when normal classes start)
Last day of classes?

Depends on your classes, for finance – around 5th of December, for marketing - arounf 17th of
December

Examination period?

Continuous examinations throughout semester. The only negative point about exams at ESCP is that
they are scheduled one after another, sometimes with 3-4 exams in one week.

Any special events?

The student association arranged special events all the time.

Reception

How was the reception at the school?

On the first day at school they gave us package with all information we need to know – tourist map,
canteen card, academic regulations etc. On the fisrt day we also made photos for student card and
signed papers for insurance. The student card and school bags were ready on the second week as the
studies started.

Was the administration and faculty well prepared for your arrival?

Yes. Everything was well organized.


Did the school’s students participate in the reception of the exchange students?

Yes. Students from the different unions where present. They showed us the campus.

Housing

Did you have housing at your disposal or did you have to find your own housing?

Valentyna: I applied to Residence le Vivaldi (specially reserved for ESCP students). But you should
apply very early, as soon as you receive by e-mail application form from exchange coordinator, since
the places are limited. The 19 sq.m. studio in Vivaldi costs 570 euros, exclusive of CAF
(reimbursement for housing).
Other students found apartments through school intranet, since there are a lot of French students who
leave on exchange and would like to rent out during this period. Usually, if you rent from another
student (sou-location), you don’t receive CAF, since this is not a formal contract. The price varies –
sometimes from 500 euros/month to 700 euros/month.
Many applied for rooms in Norwegian house at Cité internationale des étudiants in Paris. Even if you
are a non-Norwegian BI student, you can apply there, but you need to make an application directly to
Norwegian house (by fax or e-mail). Going through general application to the whole Cité
internationale you risk to stay without room.


What support did you receive from the school in locating housing?
In late July and August exchange coordinators were sending us e-mails with some urgent housing
announcements, but they were not many.

Any special issues or good ideas for prospective students?

It’s recommendable to make sure you have a room/appartment before you come to Paris. Although,
several people stayed in the hostel first several days and tried to look for apartment on the spot. But
this is risky since French are not very willing to rent appartment to foreign students, especially for
short period.

Costs

Describe the most important expenses such as rent, books, food, etc.

Housing: € 500-700. You can apply for CAF in you have a formal contract. Depending on your
economical/social situation, CAF is approximately 170 euros/month. Non-EU / non-EFTA students
can’t have CAF unless they stay in France for the whole year and have titre de séjour (residence
permit).
If you arrive in September, you will start receiving CAF from October. So a good hint may be to move
in in the end of August, then you can have your CAF starting from September.
Although, it may take some while to get your first CAF. Normally, it takes 2 months until you start
receiving your first money from CAF.
Food: € 150-250
Transportation: € 57/month (within Paris).
Leisure: depends, a cinema ticket is 8-9 euros, a ticket to Disney – between 25-36 euros
Insurance: if you are non-EU citizen, you have to buy French social security ( 180 euros). Norwegian
and EU students don’t need to buy French social insurance.
Miscellaneous: € 100

The International Office

Is there an international office?

Yes. Office 1108.

Who is responsible for incoming exchange students?

Nathalie Royer

How does the international office function?

You can come to the office during 9-12, 13:30-17:00 or write an e-mail.

Do you receive all relevant information?

Not all of it. There is an intranet and a personal school mail, some of the messages are in French.

Culture and Language

Do you have any language problems with the faculty or other students?
At school, most staff speaks English, since the school is international. French students excepted at this
school have excellent command of English and are generally internationally-oriented.

How are the possibilities to experience the country, language and the local culture?

Paris is well situated, in the heart of France, so you can reach from there any location. Buying a 12-25
card (it costs 50 euros) gives you reductions of 25-50% on railway connections within France. SNCF is
a national railway operator and covers all possible connections within France (www.voyages-
sncf.com/dynamic/_SvHomePage). If you are under 26, you can have reductions on international
railway destinations as well.

If you are taking French courses during exchange semester, you can apply for language grant from
Laanekassen. It gives 15 000 NOK for language courses that should last at least 4 weeks before
semester starts. Normally, this money is enough to cover tuition fee, housing and food expenses during
your staying at language school. As evidence shows, even people you took all courses in English
applied for it and got the support. A school that is a good combination of price-quality and where BI
students go year after the year is Actilangue Ecole Privée de Langue Française in Nice
(www.actilangue.com). You can have the option of staying in the family to rent out appartment with
other students.


Cultural and Social Effects from the Exchange Experience

How do you think the exchange experience will affect you from a cultural and social viewpoint?

Definitely, in a positive way. You become more open-minded after exchange experience, once having
been a foreigner yourself.

How do you think the exchange experience influences your future career possibilities?

For a lot of graduate positions international study/work experience is a benefit.

Any other experiences:

The International Relations Office will appreciate if you will inform about your e-mail addresses, so
that other students can contact you for more information.

Names and e-mails:
Jan Eril Olsen: janerik_olsen@yahoo.no
Valentyna Sukhina: vsuhyna@yahoo.com
Kristine Vabø: kristine.vaboe@gmail.com

								
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