Ever wondered where the word “entrepreneur” comes from? The term was coined by a chap named Jean-Baptiste Say, who was one of the founders of ESCP way back in 1819. Although ESCP might be the respected veteran of the European business education scene, for many years it was best known for its very well-regarded executive education and master’s courses. But in 2017 the school launched an MBA.
What makes ESCP different — besides its pedigree — is the geographical spread it offers students. The school has six campuses — in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin, and Warsaw — and students get to spend five-month semesters at two of them, with the chance for exchanges and electives at the others, including an associated campus in Luxembourg and the option of an elective in Beirut for those who take the Doing Business in the Middle East elective.
At 10 months this is about as short as an MBA gets, but a lot is packed in, including 500 teaching hours. As you’d expect, this is an international MBA; the most recent cohort consisted of 98 students representing 33 nationalities. Forty percent come from Europe, about the same from Asia; 14% hail from the Americas, and the remainder from the Middle East and African region. The 150 full-time faculty are similarly eclectic, being drawn from over 20 countries, while associate professors and professionals also teach classes. The 55,000-strong alumni network is spread over 150 countries, and students have access to them: at the start of their MBA, students can choose a mentor from that group, if they wish.
ESCP’s MBAs can choose four of 23 electives, which include slightly offbeat ones like A Stakeholder Approach: Happiness, Wellbeing, and Management, and International Luxury Management.
The MBA also has a career development program called I-LEAP, which aims to help students identify professional objectives, understand their career prospects, and give them advice, data, and tools to be successful. There are courses in Professional Self-Knowledge, Personal Career Growth, and Career Goal Setting, and students can use professional careers coaches to give them a boost.
For career-changers, a four- to six-month internship is available, and there are bootcamps on Consulting, Banking, Tech, and Marketing led by alumni on how to be recruited by the leading companies in these sectors. The school’s career service — which has a branch on each of the six campuses — offers coaching and workshops, company visits, and job fairs that attract 130 companies per year. The school says it has access to a massive 30,000 internship opportunities each year.
In 2018, ESCP launched the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute, fittingly dedicated to entrepreneurial leadership and innovation. As well as a core course in Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Innovation and entrepreneurship-based electives, ESCP has three “Blue Factory” incubators in Berlin, Madrid, and Paris, as well as an accelerator in Paris. Students get opportunities to pitch ideas to investors; since 2007, when they created their chair for entrepreneurship, they say they have supported the creation of 600 companies.
Oliver Madden, MBA 2019
I did my undergraduate degree in Boston, then worked for several companies in the technology industry in the U.S. I wanted to develop in a structured way, so an MBA was the obvious choice. From a personal point of view, I wanted an adventure, too. I wanted to press pause on my career and reflect, but not for the full two years it takes to complete an American MBA. On the other hand, a part-time course couldn’t give me the depth I wanted. All in all, ESCP’s 10-month course was just right. I loved the idea of ESCP’s six campuses. I lived for five months each in Paris and London, did an elective in Turin, and then an exchange in Beirut.