GENERATING MORE SYNERGIES
ESSEC has long been a trailblazer. In 1997 it became the first school outside North America to be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Its embrace of digital learning platforms and digital competencies has long put it at the forefront of B-schools globally.
However, ESSEC’s Global MBA is not currently ranked by the Economist, Financial Times, or Poets&Quants; when that program debuted with 24 students in 2011, it helped to earn ESSEC a No. 10 ranking in Europe by the FT, but since then praise for the B-school — frequent and effusive — has been focused almost completely on its executive education, master’s, and Global BBA programs.
It isn’t ESSEC’s status as one of the best B-schools in France and Europe that was considered in jeopardy when the school’s officers decided to overhaul its MBA offerings, Pache says. It was the interaction between the three programs — and between the rest of the business school and the MBA side — that needed improvement.
“What we realized last year was that it was a pity that we didn’t generate more synergies between the three programs, because obviously there are a lot of courses and content that the three different groups of people participating in these programs can learn,” Pache says. “So there are synergies across the courses but also very specific differences that wanted to keep to ensure that we maintain a high level of specialization for the existing specialized tracks. And so what we decided to create is an overall Global MBA platform that has a very high level of academic density across all levels of specialization while keeping opportunities for students who want to specialize.”
The solution was to keep the specializations that ESSEC was best known for, luxury and hospitality, while also designing new majors that are suited to the school, including Innovation and Digital Business. And to share academic content and resources across all B-school programs.
‘WE HAVE INVESTED A LOT IN THIS NEW PROGRAM’
And then there are outcomes. Pache calls this the “third component” of the new Global MBA program: a redesign of the career component to incorporate close mentoring of students “in a way that they can really develop their ideas about what it is that they want to do.” ESSEC wants to improve on the 70% of graduates who find a job within six months of earning their Luxury MBA. “What are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, what is it they need to work on to act as real leaders in the business world whether in the luxury world, the finance sector, or the consulting sector? We will really design a very individualized mentoring program that will allow each student to really reach the best of his capacity.”
Dozens of corporate partners from Chanel and L’Oreal to Credit Suisse and Allianz, along with the yet-to-be-formed advisory committee, will recruit and provide job and project opportunities for ESSEC students, Pache says. Greater employment opportunities, she says, will arise simply by virtue of the expanded, and expansive, new MBA program.
“We will not lose what made this program very unique — we’ll keep that and add on top of that opportunity to really go deep in one specific field,” Pache says. “We will add what is very key now in the life of any business leader in the luxury, in the finance, or in the hospitality sector: understanding the major transitions that the business sector is experiencing and preparing these leaders for the digital transformation, for learning very intense leadership roles, understanding macroeconomic dimensions, key geopolitical evolutions, etc. So we wanted to make sure we leverage all this key expertise in the program that will be shared across all the specializations, while keeping the opportunity for students to go deep in each of the specializations.
“This is a very strategic, important move for us,” Pache adds.”We have invested a lot in this new program because we feel like this is really a key program for ESSEC and one that should enable students to go very far. We are confident this will be the case and we are really preparing ourselves for that.”