The ESSCA School of Management, was founded in 1909 in Angers, in France. Besides the biggest French towns (Angers, Aix-en-Provence, Bordeaux, Lyon, Paris and Strasbourg), the School also has two campuses abroad: one in Shanghai, China and the other one in the Hungarian capital. The Budapest Campus offers professional business education and humanistic values in great international atmosphere.
“These international campuses both represent a little French island in the two countries where the courses, the professional approaches as well as the student life are structured and organized in a French way and bring the students closer to the French culture,” the Director of ESSCA’s Budapest Campus, Professor Dr. Zsuzsa Deli-Gray explains to Diplomacy&Trade the French characteristics of the institution.
ESSCA looks back a history of 111 years. As to how this great past appears in the philosophy of the School, the Campus Director stresses that humanistic values have been in the center of focus of the ESSCA School of Management since 1909. The attention has always been on the students and all pedagogical activities of the school have been centered around them.
“It is very important to mention that the ESSCA School of Management has been pioneer in France in many different areas: it was the first school of commerce in France which recruited girls, which introduced the dual (co-op) program into its educational structure, which proposes bachelor and master level programs in six French cities and in two abroad, and which determines the tuition fees in function of the revenue level of the families.”
The benefits of international atmosphere
ESSCA in Budapest welcomes and trains – in English – more than 700 students annually from all over the world. That makes quite an international community. As the Campus Director explains, their students come from approximately 50 different countries which guarantees a true international learning and teaching experience at ESSCA. The great diversity of the students as well as their different cultural background make it possible for all of them to get familiar with different professional approaches, to understand the many dimensions of the same question and to appreciate the cross-cultural differences. “We shouldn’t forget either about the incredibly high value of the social network they elaborate during their studies, which will help them professionally and personally in their whole life. The ESSCA students appreciate this diversity and enjoy the international atmosphere of the Campus. In classes, they study and work on business projects with classmates who come from different countries, and they are all invited to take part in interactive activities where they have to integrate their different points of view. Apart from the academic courses, the Campus proposes its students several cultural programs: gastronomic and touristic programs, CSR activities as well as sports activities. It is good to see that students also organize programs for themselves and they tend to send the invitation for these events to all of the students of the Campus. I would, however, like to emphasize that not only our students are of different nationalities but our professors as well. This makes it possible for our students to experience different teaching styles and it further increases the international scope of the Campus.”
Coping with the epidemic
The current pandemic introduced new challenges for all educational institutions. As Dr. Zsuzsa Deli-Gray points out, for the ESSCA School of Management, the most important goals were fourfold. “First, it made all efforts to guarantee the continuity as well as the high quality of the courses, which were proposed to our students. Our Advanced Pedagogical Center proposed trainings for all of the professors of ESSCA on how to deliver creative, innovative courses online, how to make online classes interactive, how to involve all students into online discussions, and how to use the different platforms for online teaching. We were lucky, as the IT Department of the School had already established the technological background of online teaching well before the outbreak of the pandemic at all of the Campuses and thus, we could switch from offline teaching to online teaching without canceling any classes. Second, we all wanted to make sure that our students are tutored and looked after in the same way as before the appearance of the pandemic. We tried to find new ways to make their student life experience live and value adding. Third, as all of our students need to spend at least one semester abroad during their studies, we had to find alternative solutions for this requirement. We introduced new international corporate projects, international internships as well as new cross-cultural academic programs for our students in order to let them replace their originally planned international experience by another exciting professional option. Fourth, the ESSCA School of Management had to find additional ways to recruit its students. In order to maintain the high-quality selection process of the students, the School adapted new forms of evaluation of the candidates.”
She adds that there is a continuous, honest and direct communication between the Budapest Campus and its students. “We do encourage our students to give us feedback on their learning experiences, their opinion on the courses and professors and their appreciation on the atmosphere of the Campus. I organize a meeting with the student representatives and another one with all of the students once a week. These meetings let students discuss their remarks and questions with other students and get immediate feedback from me. Apart from the weekly meetings, all students are invited to share their individual points with us in a discrete environment, personally or virtually, during and also outside of working hours. We also ask students to evaluate their courses and professors at the middle of the semester as well as at the end of the semester.
Practical soft and hard skills
ESSCA Budapest provides education in the field of marketing, finance, business and management in English. “Most of our young graduates obtain a position at international companies in the fields of business development, finance, sales management, customer service, or market research. Regardless of the industry or nature of the job, there are certain key qualities that employees need to have if they wish to succeed in the business world. Thus, we do incorporate the development of specific soft and hard skills into all of our courses which include communication, team work, work ethic, time management, interpersonal skills, analytical and language skills. We also include the humanistic approach, CSR as well as sustainable development into all dimensions of our activities at ESSCA which is highly appreciated not only by the corporate world but also by all of the different stakeholders of our School,” Dr. Zsuzsa Deli-Gray concludes.
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