|

From California to France: Meet Jacob at Toulouse Business School

Hello, my name is Jacob Zeidberg and I’m from Monterey, California. I’m currently in my first year working towards my Bachelors in Management at Toulouse Business School in Toulouse, France. Before university, in California I worked full time and didn’t want to jump into the rest of my life too soon, so I decided to once again enroll in school but this time overseas.

 

The enrollment process was a bit different from what I’m accustomed to. For starters, they didn’t ask for my SAT or ACT scores, which was quite good for me. All that they required was my high school grades plus grades from any schooling done after high school. To get to know me better, I had an interview where I was asked typical entrance questions like “What’s your greatest achievement?”, “Who inspires you?”, and “Why TBS and how will it be a good fit for you?”.

The school itself is a small, triple accredited business school by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS with campuses In Toulouse, Barcelona, Casablanca, and Paris. The Bachelors in Management degree is a three year degree where students are trained to be professionals in a management setting in an increasingly interconnected world.

Students take classes ranging from accounting to fundamentals of marketing in their first semester to build a foundation of skills to refer to in their future endeavors. The classes themselves are in either one and a half hour, two hour, or three hour periods, and are held once or twice a week depending on the length of the periods. Students’ efforts are graded on a scale from one to twenty and anything above a ten is a passing grade. As an American who is accustomed to the A  to F scale, this took some getting used to. The homework is not too overbearing, however, you are expected to spend a lot, if not most of your free time studying for the various multiple choice quizzes you will most likely have throughout the week. Also, the way that multiple choice quizzes are graded in France is quite unique. If you don’t answer a question nothing happens, it neither helps nor harms your grade. If you get a question correct, that is plus three points, but if you get a question wrong that is minus one point, which means that it is possible to get negative points on a quiz which I found out the hard way. Each year students are required to complete an eight week minimum internship at a company of their choosing to put their newly acquired skills to use.

The school is composed of both French and international students and classes are offered in both French and English. There are also a myriad of resources for students to utilize if they need help with anythin g, ranging from tech support to language services. There are also lots of parties hosted by the school’s welcome team which provide plenty of opportunities to interact and make new friends.

Overall, TBS provides an excellent education and plenty of different opportunities for its students. Since first arriving in September I’ve greatly expanded my knowledge of the business world and have made numerous meaningful connections. Toulouse has proved to be the community I was lacking back in the United States and has quickly become a second home for me.

 

 

 

|

ESCP: Management Program in Three Countries

Hey there! My name is Anya, and you may already know me from the podcast and video blog I’ve done with Beyond the States. I’m from Boulder, Colorado, and am currently in my third and final year at ESCP Business School in their BSc in Management program. This is a very unique program, which allows us to study in three different countries, moving each year to a different campus they have around Europe. The school itself was founded in Paris, France, and is one of the oldest business schools in Europe. It’s well known for its masters programs, which are for the most part taught in English, and within the past few years has started gaining recognition for their English-taught bachelor. It is a private school, meaning higher tuition than most universities you’ll find through Beyond the States. Since I hold dual American-Austrian citizenship through my parents, I pay the European tuition (around 13k Eur per year), whereas international students will likely pay more (Current tuition is around $24,650 per year. – Ed.). This is excluding housing and living costs, so factoring in everything, I pay about as much as I would for out-of-state university, and around $25k more than what I would pay for an in-state school. However, I finish in 3 years, and I get a double degree (French and German), but more on that later.

I attended my first year on their London campus, which is in the quaint area of West Hampstead, about a 30 minute underground ride to London center. Though ESCP doesn’t provide housing, in each city there’s always student housing options and of course the option to share an apartment with other students or with locals. I chose to live in a student accommodation my first year, so I could meet other students and ease into living on my own. This was a popular choice by ESCP students, which I knew from the beginning, so that made my choice easier. I lived with 7 other people whom I shared the kitchen and living area with, and then I had my own small bedroom and bathroom. Beside the housing, I was able to get to know my fellow classmates through induction day, Whatsapp groupchats, and student-proposed meet ups at the accommodation or within the city (this was all pre-pandemic).

In the bachelor program, the classes are pre-set and we don’t get to choose what we take until third year when we have some electives options. During the year in London, we had many introductory classes such as accounting, psychology, microeconomics, presentation and rhetoric skills, world history, mathematics, law, statistics, and computer skills (Microsoft Office). We also had a credit called ‘collective project’ in which we had the liberty to choose our group and a business project, as long as it followed certain guidelines. Some people created charity companies, others a ‘running dinner’ club, and my group decided to do a podcast called ‘Name It’, where we discussed a wide range of topics and had some of our classmates join special episodes.

My second year took place on the Paris campus, the headquarters and biggest campus of ESCP. I lived with two of my best friends in a shared apartment, which we rented through Airbnb. It was a two minute walk from campus, which made it easy for when we had in-person classes. Our courses in the second year were mostly building upon first year’s classes and

consisted of marketing, macroeconomics, taxation and e-commerce law, contract law, finance and accounting, Python coding, statistics 2, and intercultural skills. Since I was in Paris, my tax and e-commerce law classes were taught in French. In Madrid, different classes of theirs were in Spanish, and in Turin everything was English. To go to Paris or Madrid during our second year, we were required to have a certain level (B2) in French or Spanish. Like the first year, we had another credit of collective project, in which the school collaborated with the ChangeNOW Summit and each group researched sustainable initiatives and companies in certain industries (carbon capture, urban farming, fashion, audiovisual industry, etc).

Each year we also take language classes, usually corresponding to the campuses we attend (except English, no English classes are taught since there’s an English requirement for program entry). For me, that was French and German, since my third and current year is in Berlin, Germany. This is the year we are able to choose elective classes each semester, split into two parts – management elective and liberal arts elective. The management elective is split into ‘tracks’, with each track consisting of two classes. When you choose a track, you have to take both classes it offers, you can’t pick two different classes from two different tracks. The tracks offered were marketing, finance, management, and digitalization/entrepreneurship. The liberal arts elective is just a single class we can each choose, usually centered around humanities, such as negotiations, international relations, big data, conscious leadership, and others. This is also the year we complete a bachelor’s thesis on a topic of our choice. We chose our topic and thesis advisor in the fall, and the spring semester is the time where we really have to crack down and write it out. Based on a blockchain class I took in the digitalization elective, I decided to focus my thesis on how smart contracts (on the blockchain) would disrupt the real estate transaction process (now that’s a mouthful!). I learned that with such a general management degree, there is no right or wrong thesis, and the topics I heard people chose are so varied, from corporate volunteering, to sustainable finance, to NFTs, to luxury marketing, and so on.

Going back to what I said at the beginning, about a double degree – since ESCP has its primary campus and founding in France, but many students graduate from the Berlin campus, those students may be eligible to receive both degrees! The French one is called a Diplôme Visé BAC+3, while the German is the classic BSc in Management that is based on the American standards, however they both mean the same thing and are equivalent. I do want to point out though, to those considering going to ESCP, that in order to get the German BSc (the more recognizable title, but no difference in value!), you would have to a) graduate from the Berlin campus (i.e., it needs to be your third year campus), and b) meet the same requirements that a classic German high school student would meet – so start planning ahead! For me, these requirements looked similar to the following:

                • At least 16 “academic units” in the last 4 years of high school
                • 4 English units
                • 2 foreign language units
                • 3 social studies units
                • 2 or 3 math units and 2 or 3 science units (to make a total of 5)

Alongside those, there are also AP requirements – 4 AP exams with minimum grade of 3:

  • English
  • Foreign language
  • Math or science
  • Additional (can be humanities, comp sci, etc)

Of course, requirements change and I know that they are constantly revamping admissions and even the program outline and campus options, so be sure to check with the admissions officer about what the requirements look like. It’s been a wonderful ride at ESCP, and to hear more about student life and information I wasn’t able to include here, check out the blog and podcast linked above!