Grandes ecoles de commerce for Undergraduates

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Grandes ecoles de commerce for Undergraduates

Postby rosemummy » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:59 pm

Would like some feedback and information from parents who had studied, or have children who are studying in 1 of the top French business schools.

Specifically, I like inputs on the following:

- Would credits be given for courses completed in accredited US colleges?

- What level of French proficiency is required? Must it be native level?

- Must you be at least 18 years old to gain entry?

Which is a better option:
- BBA in France, MBA or JD in US
or
- BBA in US, MBA in France?

Thank you.

rosemummy
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Re: Grandes ecoles de commerce for Undergraduates

Postby Chenonceau » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:47 pm

I can try to help but what I know is 20+ years old... Best that you get more up to date info from elsewhere eh?

rosemummy wrote:Would like some feedback and information from parents who had studied, or have children who are studying in 1 of the top French business schools.

Specifically, I like inputs on the following:

- Would credits be given for courses completed in accredited US colleges?
Dunno

- What level of French proficiency is required? Must it be native level?
Depending on which Grande École you go to, you would be studying with the top 0.2% of their cohort. In my time, the best business Grande École was École des Hautes Études Commerciales. If you are doing a first degree, much of what is taught should be in French. You would have to write essays, theses and analyses in French. And since you are competing with the best writers of each cohort... well... it isn't recommended to go in there with little French. If you have little French, you would have to pick up in the same way that PRC scholars who go to RI need to pick up. If the PRC students can do it, well... it should be possible for Singaporeans with some foundation in French too.

- Must you be at least 18 years old to gain entry?
For the first degree, most students are 20 at entry. At 18, they take their baccalauréat. Then comes 2 years of cours préparatoires. This is a 2 year program that is very challenging in itself. Someone I know was made to draw a perfect circle on the white board at the end of one of his weekly oral exams... and he spent 10 minutes drawing it to the Prof's exacting standards, only to be told that THAT was his grade for the night. School at cours préparatoires, start at 8am and if you have "oral exam" that day of the week, you stay till 8pm. Students are rank ordered every week and the rank is placed up on the class noticeboard.

If you're not French... and have no family emotional support... best to not do it as a first degree. It can be very traumatic. A lot of effort for little gain. I am a lazy person. If I can get a prestigious first degree easier somewhere else, I would go there instead.

This said, you do get to rub shoulders with kids from immensely well-to-do families... some who are descendants of royalty, and others are scions of France's most illustrious business dynasties, some stretching back to the era of sugar plantations in faraway colonies. For some reason, French families can keep wealth beyond the 3rd generation. Wealth can be handed down, maintained and even grown through 7 to 8 generations. However, it is more than likely that these circles will not admit you socially so...

The French top schools are extraordinarily elitist. Far worse than Singapore and even Britain. This translates into many top management prejudices that still exist till today. In companies like Lafarge, up until 10 years ago, every single top honcho was white, male and a church-going Catholic who practised only Pope sanctioned methods of contraception.

That may have changed some, with globalisation but if you wanna work in a French company, there is a glass ceiling for those who do not fit a certain model... To some extent, this is still true today. The French (of the sort that send their kids to top Grandes Écoles) are little trusting of foreigners. It is their culture, and whilst they may be friendly, they won't allow you near their daughters... nor their top jobs. Perhaps that is why the Americans have had better success at globalizing their technology than the French, when actually the French possess very good technologies. Notice that I have only addressed top Grandes Écoles. This is because, given the language challenges, it really is no point putting in all that effort into a first degree unless you can get into the top institution?

Anyway, this is my view only. Others may differ... besides, whilst I may know more than most Singaporeans but I dun really know all that much.


Which is a better option:
- BBA in France, MBA or JD in US
or
- BBA in US, MBA in France?
I would go for BBA in US and MBA in France. MBA's target audience tends to be more international. Language issues would probably be better managed in an MBA.

Thank you.

Chenonceau
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Postby rosemummy » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:53 pm

Thank you very much Chenonceau for your inputs.

It's quite a long shot for her to study in France. We were just toying with the idea when we talked about having her spend a semester in France or Korea.

Anyway, the schools I've looked at are:

CEFAM (French-American school of management)
IESEG School of Management
Grenoble école de management
Toulouse Business School (ESC)

The BBA / International Business program is available in English at all 4 of them. Most of them have a general education component much like the US. I'm not sure if they're considered traditional Grande Ecoles in the strict sense. I like it that you can do foreign languages like Russian and work overseas for a few months as part of the program. For CEFAM, you can get 2 degrees - 1 from CEFAM and another from the US partner university.

The only problem is that my daughter is almost completing all the general education requirements. If she can't transfer her credits, she'll be wasting 2 years re-doing what she had already done. If they do (which I doubt), she'll be spending too little time there to really benefit. And I think you can't apply until after 18. If it's 20, we can really forget it. She would have graduated by then if she continue with her US degree.

And yes, it really does seem difficult to break into the inner circle in France. But I guess it's not any different from other countries with a long history and strong culture. It's the same with Japan. In fact, for the more prestigious groups like Mitsubishi, you won't get a chance to move to senior management positions unless you graduate from Todai and your parents and / or grandparents had held management positions there previously.

Thank you very much for sharing. I think we're giving up this option. May consider spending a semester there. She's deciding between France and Korea.

rosemummy
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Postby Chenonceau » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:44 am

Rose, you have PM.

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