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!


German College Update

german college building I love it when I learn something new about universities in Europe from a member!  I was on our live member Q&A call on Sunday when a member asked about something she saw on the German college site (daad.de/en) about APs.  When we last wrote about this country, Germany did not consider APs as recently as just a few months ago, so I told her that I would look into it and get back to her.

I have very exciting news to report about this! First, though, let me give you a little bit of backstory.  Students often come to me asking about German college. Some students are interested in the culture, after taking some German in school. Others are excited by the tuition (which is free to international students at most public universities). German colleges used to require that American students submit SAT scores to apply but, a couple of years ago they stopped accepting these scores. That meant that American applicants needed either an IB diploma, 2 years of college credits (with a number of course requirements), or a full Associate’s degree. For many students, German college was off the table.

It’s now a feasible option again, though still quite difficult. The first requirement pertains to the courses the student takes in high school. Most of these are pretty much aligned with the college track graduation requirements in the US. These requirements include 4 years of English (honors for one), 2 years of a foreign language, 3 years of social studies,  2-3 years of math (Algebra II or Trig and Precalc), and 2-3 in Science (2 courses in either math or science, 3 in the other).  This is all doable.

In addition, students need to have 4 AP scores of 3+. These scores make students eligible to apply only for specific subjects. There are two different combinations of specific scores needed. Students who want to apply to programs related to Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, and Economics need scores of 3+ in:

  • English
  • Foreign language (French, Spanish, Latin, or German)
  • Math or natural science (Calc, Bio, Chem, or both Physics C tests
  • Additional score in European History, American History, Computer Science or Macro+Micro Economics

Students who want to apply for programs around Math, Science, and Technology need scores of 3+ in:

  • Math (specifically Calc)
  • Natural Science (Bio, Chem, or both Physics C tests)
  • Language (French, Latin, German, Spanish or English Lit or Lang/Comp)
  • Additional score in European History, American History, Computer Science or Macro+Micro Economics

In order to keep all the options open, a student could take five APs that include Calc, Bio or Chem, English, Foreign Language, and one of the additional tests noted.

I don’t often recommend German universities. In addition to the fact that they were impossible for most American students to apply to for the last few years, I also found that many of them had a rigid and old school approach to education. It’s often (not always) very lecture oriented and not as interactive as many of the students I work with are looking for. There are some indications that this might be changing, or at least that are some new options with a different approach. The Global Environmental and Sustainability Studies program at Leuphana University, for instance,  certainly points in that direction. I recently wrote chose this to profile in a Beyond the States Program of the Month. These are generally accessible only to members, but in celebration of the good news around German admissions, I’m sharing it here as well!

There are affordable and high quality options in other countries as well! In fact, of the 1900+ programs in continental Europe, only about 350 have the AP requirements.  It’s a great time to start exploring since there are a few days left to take advantage of our FREE 5 COURSE BUNDLE!    This offer is good through 11/21/20, so act now to take advantage of the knowledge AND savings!


Changes to College in Germany

college in GermanyAs some of you may know, Germany has changed their admission requirements, and it’s now much more difficult for American students to apply.  Until this year, in order to be eligible to apply for college in Germany, American students needed either an IB diploma or a regular high school diploma with:

  • a 3.0 GPA,
  • a number of specified courses and
  • a minimum of either 1,360 on the SAT or 28 on the ACT.

For students not meeting these requirements, a number of college credits were required.

Well, all that has changed. Germany is no longer accepting SAT or ACT scores.  If you have an IB diploma with 3-4 HL classes, certain required classes, and no more than one exam score of 3 or lower then you are still eligible to apply.  What about the rest of us though?  If you are graduating with a regular high school diploma, you will have to fulfill one of the below requirements before applying:

  • 2 years of full time college credits (these cannot be completed at a community college or liberal arts school).
  • A full Associate’s Degree

With 4) AP scores of 3+ in English, foreign language, math or natural science and one other area, you can apply for humanities, social sciences, economics and emergency home solutions programs only.

With 4) AP scores of 3+ in math, natural science, language, and one additional subject, you can apply for programs in math, technology, and natural sciences.

A German Foundation Year program

Unless you want to spend 6 years of full time study on your bachelor’s, the foundation year is your best bet (called studienkolleg).  Here are my concerns with these programs though:

Public studienkolleges are taught only in German. There are private studienkolleg programs, but there is a fee involved. One of the programs costs a whopping 17,500 euros for the year!  This includes housing, but is in a part of Germany where housing is not so expensive. Another one, in Berlin, is 11,000 euros per year. This does not include housing, and housing in Berlin is not cheap or easy to find.
Most of the private studienkollegs are connected to a particular university.  In many cases, it won’t qualify you for admissions to other German universities.  Further, not every German university has a connected private/English-taught foundation year program.
Many students participating in the programs are there to improve their English proficiency, in order to meet admission requirements. My concern is whether this would slow down the instruction and pace of learning in other classes.

So, what are your options if you really want to study in Germany?
The first thing you want to do is to identify the reasons that studying in this one particular country is so important to you, and identify alternatives, based on those reasons.

Maybe it’s because you have enjoyed learning the language and would like the opportunity to use and develop those skills at college in Germany.  If that’s the case, you could consider  other countries that have German as their sole official language (Austria) or their co-official language (Switzerland and Belgium).

Perhaps the culture is what appeals to you about college in Germany. If so, I suggest looking at schools that are very close to the border, allowing for easy day trips. Prague is just over an hour and a half to Dresden by train. Salzburg is under two hours to Munich. Nijmegen is just 30 minutes to Kleve. Maastricht is under 90 minutes to Cologne. Szczecin in Poland is less than two hours to Berlin.  These are all close enough that you can still experience German culture on a fairly regular basis.

Of course, many people are attracted to the free tuition offered by college in Germany at most of the public universities!  The other major consideration is that the requirement for college credits or the foundation year no longer make accessing these programs as affordable, when you factor in those costs.  For instance, if you attend the studienkolleg program in Aachen, you could attend Rhine Waal University of Applied Science.  Tuition here is free, but students pay an enrollment fee of 270 EUR per semester.  At the completion of the 4.5 years (3.5 years for the bachelors+ 1 year for the foundation year), your total will be 19,390 euros (not including housing, of course, for the other 3.5 years). Any 3 year program less than 6,463 euros per year would cost less  than this and any 4 year program under 4,847 euros per year-not to mention that you begin to generate income sooner.  There are around 800 programs in our database-outside of college in Germany- that fall in this range.

college in germanyIf there is a particular German university you are dying to attend or a city you feel you must live in, then there are opportunities to do so for at least one semester of your studies at another European university.  This is possible through either bilateral agreements the school has as well as the Erasmus program, which allows you to spend up to a year at another school or in an internship.  We have a blog that explains that option as well as a podcast interviewing the International Board of Erasmus Student Network.  It’s a super exciting option!

More than anything, I encourage students to keep an open mind when considering their options in Europe.  Yes, I know there are amazing places that you already know about, like college in Germany. I know there are places that you’ve always dreamed of going, but there are even more amazing places that you might not have considered or even be aware of.  Our Best Fit List helps students and families identify programs in places they might not have otherwise considered.  I create a personalized list of programs that are a good fit for the student’s personality, preferences, interests, qualifications, and budgets. Sign up for a Best Fit list today!