The 2016-2017 Global MBA Class

The 2016-2017 Global MBA Class

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

ESSEC Hospitality and Food management Forum 2017

By: Victoria Estic, ESSEC student.

Every year, ESSEC Business School hosts an industry conference focused on topical strategic issues affecting the hospitality sector on its campus in Cergy Pontoise near Paris.This brings students from both of its Hospitality Management programs (the MSc in Hospitality Management and ESSEC’s Global MBA major in Hospitality Management) together with alumni and industry partners to discuss issues, challenges, and trends facing the industry today, giving them the opportunity to interact with senior industry executives as well as advance on their job search for after graduation.

This year ESSEC jointly organized this forum with the Mastère Spécialisé Management International Agro-alimentaire (MIA), further expanding participant's horizons away from traditional hospitality and opening their minds towards opportunities in the broader food production, distribution and retailing areas.

The forum kicked off with two industry panels focused on two key interconnected industry issues –developing business models and innovation.  The first panel, entitled ‘Excellence in Business Models’ was moderated by Professor Peter O’Connor and included speakers from a very wide spectrum of hospitality companies including Trivago, Squarebreak, Touch & PLAY, Deutsche Hospitality and SnapShot. The discussion started by highlighting how the business model behind traditional hospitality companies is increasingly coming under threat, whether from innovative players such as AirBnB or online companies such as the OTAs, both of whom are radically changing paradigms as what it means to be successful.   

According to Laurent Michaud (IMHI 2011), CEO of Eazeattoday hotels are struggling to drive additional revenues.  Currently accommodation make up four-fifths of overall revenues, but this figure is relatively fixed and if hotels wish to keep growing, they need to find supplemental revenues from somewhere else.  Some companies are moving ahead – for example Accorhotels with its innovative ‘Local’ initiative, Deutsche Hospitality by moving away from the company’s traditional markets with its new concept Jaz, and Squarebreak by combining private rentals with hotel-like services while also innovatively responding to a growing demand for both privacy and unique experiences. 

The biggest challenge most hospitality companies currently face is this one of managing change.  Which is why perhaps they should consider trying to collaborate more closely with start-ups like Snapshot or Eazeat, whose smaller size and nimbler organization structure allows them to react to developing market opportunities much more quickly.  As David Turnbull (Co-Founder & CCO of Snapshot) pointed out, the hospitality industry should start investing in technology and data to better understand customers and satisfy their developing needs. The PMS can be used to store information, the CRM to offer personalized services and the channel manager for online distribution. Then, the staff should be trained to use the data and be proactive.

The second panel returned to this topic of innovation.  Speakers such as Régis Bertrand, Innovation Manager at Metro and Laurent Repelin, General Manager Food Service and B2B at Savencia, highlighted the role of having the right people in the innovation process.  Thus, creating an environment that fosters innovation is essential. Thinking differently about this business is one of the key issues, which perhaps helps explain why having a shadow Comex composed of Millennial has become a growing trend in companies struggling to keep ahead of the game.

As Craig Cochrane, Senior Vice President Human Resources Movenpick pointed out, hotels do not always have the internal resources to innovate for themselves, but can use startups to better understand the customer and respond faster to their needs through social media, the web and media such as mobile.  In the food industry, innovation also means finding the proper tools to respond to both individual needs and more macro trends to insure that the company can deliver the right product to the right user at the right time. For example, restaurants could make better use of CRM to better understand customer habits. From this communications channels such as social media could be used to better market to the customer, thus helping to increase turnover.

Irrespective of the industry, the key issue is understanding the customer to know what products he is looking for and how much he is willing to pay. In Berlin, Metro is launching an accelerator where solutions are tested for free by customers to make sure that the digital promise matches real life requirements.  And companies should also keep in mind that although some innovations can be considered global issues, others need to be tackled locally to better service regional needs.

After the round tables, the afternoon was dedicated to meetings with partner companies.  Participants included AccorHotels,, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Citizen M, Colisée, Compass Group, Deutsche Hospitality, Domitys, Dorchester Collection, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Oetker Collection, Marriot, Hosco, Savencia Fromage & Dairy, Metro, Movenpick, Trivago, The Ascott Limited, Paris Inn Group and EliorGroup, providing participants with the perfect opportunity to talk with senior industry leaders and start finding jobs and internships. 

The event highlights the close connection between industry and the school – an important consideration given the latter’s orientation to provide practical, applied and relevant educational opportunities for its participants.  Thank you to all the industry executives who made this possible for your continued commitment to preparing the next generation of hospitality leaders.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Travelling the globe with ESSEC’s Global MBA major in Hospitality Management (IMHI)

By: Victoria Estic, ESSEC student.

Diversity is highly valued in ESSEC’s Global MBA major in Hospitality Management (IMHI), and this quality is reflected not just in its orientation and its student body, but also in the composition of its teaching staff.  As befits one of the leading schools producing graduates for the global hospitality sector, ESSEC’s hospitality faculty not only have widely different educational and professional backgrounds but also hail from every corner of the globe. Here we take a look at four really great teachers that truly represent the spirit of the IMHI program.

The first is of course Professor Peter O’Connor, Academic Director of the program and the one who teaches both the Business Computing and the eCommerce courses.  Coming from Ireland, Peter has a deep connection with the hospitality sector. While he holds a PhD from Margaret University College in Edinburgh and has authored both textbooks and countless articles, his true value is his expertise on using electronic channels of distribution in hospitality, as well as on how technology can be used to enhance operational effectiveness in hotels. Peter is greatly appreciated amongst his students. He is not only passionate about his subject but can communicate and pass this onto his students in only one class! A talented speaker, he is a strong believer in “action learning” and “learning by doing”.  While difficult, and often frustrating, for some, by forcing participants to think for themselves, experiment and find creative solutions, this quickly produces deeper learning that traditional methods. “Instead of immediately revealing the ‘right’ solution, by trying over and over people finally succeed and understand much better what they’ve done”.  Perhaps the best reflection of this approach is the high level of technology literacy amongst graduates of the program, a competency much appreciated by employers.

A second teacher who has had an enormous influence of generations of IMHI students is Professor Robert E. Kastner, nicknamed Bob, who comes from America and teaches Financial Accounting. After completing his studies, Bob taught at Cornell on the faculty of the School of Hotel Administration. He is widely known as a lecturer and producer of management development programs for the global hospitality sector. He has had a long association with leading international hospitality management companies, and also works with Robert M. Chase & Associates to deliver executive education programs using two management simulations, the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Simulation Exercise.  Bob’s highly dynamic nature, enthusiasm, and ethic nature represent well his American genes. Bob is an excellent teacher who pushes students to work hard and excel at what they are doing, with the result that, during their careers, graduates think back about Bob’s financial accounting classes & methods. His key battle cry is “cash-flow”!   Everything invariably has to do with “cash-flow”, the lifeblood that makes a company run well.  Behind his serious manner, Bob is a very nice and funny teacher.  Students will never forget Bob and his countless hilarious ties!  He is a truly passionate teacher who definitely doesn’t leave students indifferent. 

Adding further to the international dimension is Revenue Management specialist Dr. Sunmee Choi from South Korea.  Another Cornell graduate, she teaches courses on quantitative analysis and decision modeling, particularly applied to the Revenue management area. Before joining the academic world, she worked in several interesting industry positions, including Director of Hotel Revenue Management at, as well as in operations for companies such as Hyatt, Hampton Inns, and Sheraton. Sunmee is an amazing teacher who clearly knows her highly technical subject inside-out. She is passionate about research and provides students unique academic articles to read and analyze. Rather the simply teaching classes, she encourages students to dig deeply into research and innovation.  Her way of teaching, which is very methodical and thus very different from Professor O’Connor’s more unstructured approach, represents well her South-Korean roots and thus confronts students with the perfect opportunity to learn about different ways of working.  Despite her highly quantitative discipline, Sunmee is at heart very soft as well as genuine and as a result the students love her.

And last but not least we have global traveller, Dr. Stefan Groschl, an ESSEC faculty member specialized in Human Resources Management, educated in the UK, based in France but originally from Germany and now living in Panama! Stefan is Co-Chair of the ESSEC Leadership and Diversity Chair and Member of the Faculty of Management at ESSEC Business School. A graduate of Oxford Brookes University, Stefan has both worked in the hotel industry and taught in academic positions in England and Canada before joining ESSEC. He is a regular panelist and speaker at academic conferences and industry events all over the world as well as delivering courses at numerous academic institutions in Mexico, Taiwan, Spain, New Zealand, Germany and Bahrain – a truly international profile. Stefan is an excellent teacher and even though his subject – Human Resources – was not necessarily the one that students were initially the most excited about, he consistency manages to make it as one of the students’ favorite classes. Indeed, one of his classes “Managing Oneself and Leading Others” goes much further than just teaching basic human resources management. It enables students to work and reflect on their own personal growth. Stefan also succeeds in prove to students that Human Resources is at the center of success in most companies, but particularly in the people oriented hospitality sector. His rigor, as well as his proximity to students, are greatly appreciated, and his ability to help people understand that hospitality is above all a people business adds an important dimension to the IMHI experience.

Thus, from Ireland, to America, to South Korea and Germany, and many destinations in between, almost the entire globe is covered by the ESSEC faculty. To that we add the students, who typically come from nearly twenty different countries, the orientation which focuses on the global hotels sector and it all adds up to a truly international experience.  Such a variety of intertwined cultures presents students with a unique opportunity from which to adapt and learn, and in fact experience what most of us actually experience when we’re hired in different positions in global companies in different parts of the world. ESSEC’s Global MBA major in Hospitality Management – offering a truly international education to help prepare you for a truly international career!

What should be in your MBA budget

Knowing how much money you’ll need to see your MBA through is an absolutely essential part of preparing for a successful year of study. That said, putting together a realistic budget for you MBA can seem a little intimidating at first. The academic fees alone can be daunting, and then there’s everything else to account for: accommodation, travel, study materials, and so on. Phew!

Don’t let the numbers intimidate you, however. It’s important to remember that once you’ve graduated, you’ll be eligible for a much better position and a higher salary. In fact, it’s estimated that you’ll be able to make back everything you spent on your MBA in a few years. When you look at things from this long-term perspective, it becomes clear that pursuing an MBA makes financial sense.

Include the following in your MBA budget:

  • MBA tuition cost;
  • Books and other study materials or equipment;
  • Accommodation and living expenses;
  • Daily travel expenses;
  • Field trips, possibly including international travel;
  • Health and liability insurance;
  • A laptop if you don’t already own one;
  • Entertainment.

What each of the above line items amounts to will of course depend on which MBA program you undertake and where you will be living for the duration of your studies.

Find ways to cut costs while abroad.

Pursuing an MBA with an international focus makes a lot of sense in today’s hyper-connected business world. Not only will you have the opportunity to experience foreign businesses practices first-hand on field trips and company visits, you’ll also get to work side-by-side with classmates who have a diverse range of backgrounds and nationalities. You’ll come away with invaluable business knowledge and experience, as well as intercultural understanding and a global network of useful business contacts.

Of course, international experience comes with a price tag. Living, studying, and travelling abroad can be expensive. However, there are ways to significantly cut costs and keep expenses down, without compromising the experience. Food, transport, and entertainment are all areas where you can make significant savings by taking advantage of student discounts and other specials. Even the most notoriously expensive cities offer some great deals. Take the time to do thorough research into available discounted activities and deals in the cities or towns you’ll be spending time in during your MBA studies.

For example, through ALEGESSEC, ESSEC’s student housing association, ESSEC Business School offers comfortable and well-equipped rooms and studio apartments near the campus in France. While Paris is considered an expensive place to live, many students are able to enjoy great savings by taking advantage of various discounted services in the city. For instance, students with an official lease and a low income can be eligible for housing assistance through CAF (Caisse des Allocations Familiales) that can amount to a few hundred Euros per month. In addition, using apps like La Fourchette to book at selected Parisian restaurants can see you getting up to 50% off the r bill. When it comes to transport, getting a NAVIGO pass for just two euros per day gives access to all public transport in and around Paris. These are just a few of the ways MBA candidates can save money while still enjoying an incredible city like Paris.

Take advantage of scholarships and financial aid where possible.

Another way to ease the financial demands of an MBA is by applying for funding, bursaries, and scholarships. There are all kinds of scholarships available to MBA candidates, so make sure you research all your options. Some scholarships are awarded based on outstanding GMAT scores or perceived leadership qualities, while financial aid is need-based or only available to specific groups or minorities. Some schools even offer ‘early bird’ discounts to candidates who submit their MBA applications before a set date. This is a really simple way to lower your MBA costs.

By taking advantage of scholarships and funding and finding smart ways to cut costs during your studies abroad, MBA candidates really can make studying financially viable. If studying and living in Paris or Singapore appeals to you, check out the ESSEC Global MBA brochure. If you’d like to discuss financing your MBA studies, why not get in touch with one of our student advisors?  

Still not sure which MBA program is the best fit for you? Our free guide, How to find the perfect MBA, is designed to help prospective MBA candidates like you choose an MBA program that’s guaranteed to help you thrive in your professional life.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

When not to do an MBA

Why do an MBA? There are a host of very good reasons why doing an MBA is a brilliant idea. However, there are also some very bad reasons to do an MBA. If you’re considering pursuing an MBA for any of the reasons listed below, you might want to pause and think very carefully before sending in your application form.

Here’s when NOT to do an MBA:

  • When you don’t have a clear goal in mind.

The last thing you want is to aimlessly float through your year at business school. Without a clear career goal in mind —and a road map for how you’re going to get there— pursuing an MBA is probably not a good idea. This is because an MBA can only really help you if you know exactly what you want out of it. You need a clear goal on which to base your specialisation choice, project focus, and mentoring sessions. In fact, without a well-thought-out goal at the ready, you’re unlikely to make it through the admissions process, as this is one of the most obvious questions you’re likely to be asked in your interview.

  • When you’re doing it because you simply don’t know what else to do.

If you’re at a bit of a loose end in your career, doing an MBA might seem like a good way to occupy yourself for a year. Studying is never a bad idea, right? Wrong. When it comes to business school, undertaking a year of study on a whim is a pretty bad idea. You should only do an MBA if it’s clear that the investment of time and money will pay off. (see: doing an MBA still a good investment?)

  • When you don’t have any real-world work experience.

Granted, there are some instances when doing an MBA straight after your undergraduate degree is fine. In general, however, it’s much better to first spend a few years (at least three) working in the ‘real world’ before applying to business school. The reason for this is that actual work experience will help you define your goals and understand how businesses operate. You’ll also be able to bring some useful insights and experience to your studies, which will in turn greatly enrich your learnings.

  • If you’re applying to a low-ranked school or an unknown online institution.

Why do an MBA at all if you’re going to attend a low-quality school or, worse, earn your degree through an online institution no one’s ever even heard of? Employers care about where you earned your MBA.

  • When doing an MBA won’t take you closer to your passion.

Maybe your parents are pressuring you into pursuing an MBA, or maybe your siblings all have one and you feel as though that means you need one, too. But if your real passion is to do something with your life that doesn’t require an MBA, don’t go to business school simply to please your parents. Not only is this a huge waste of time, it’s also likely to end in resentment.

Alright, we’ve covered why you shouldn’t do an MBA. Of course, there are just as many reasons —if not more— why doing an MBA is a good idea. You should pursue an MBA if it is in line with your passion and if it will help you achieve your goals. (Explore more reasons for doing an MBA in this blog)

Is the ESSEC Global MBA for you?

Why do an MBA in two years when you can get a top-quality MBA in just 12 months? The ESSEC Global MBA is a 12-month intensive MBA program with a strong international focus, designed to accelerate your career, grow your network, and teach you valuable business and leadership skills. Students have the choice of six in-depth specialisations and two modern campuses based in Paris and Singapore. To find out more, download our brochure.

If you’re convinced an MBA is the right choice for you, but you’re not sure how to choose the best MBA program, download our free guide, How to find the perfect MBA.

Friday, June 9, 2017

3 tips for choosing a top business school

If you’ve just begun the hunt for the perfect MBA program, you’re probably wondering which schools are considered to be the top business schools in the world, and which of those might be a good fit for you. Pursuing an MBA is a big investment—both in time and money—so it’s worth making sure you choose the best possible school available. Here’s how to separate the wheat from the chaff:

  1. Have a look at the most influential business school rankings.

There are various influential publications and websites that publish rankings listing the top business schools or MBA programs in the world on an annual basis. For example, well-known and respected business school rankings include The Financial Times, The Economist, and Bloomberg Businessweek, amongst others. Each publication uses their own system with unique criteria to determine their own top business school rankings. These criteria often consider alumni surveys, job placement rates, starting salaries, employer surveys, and so on. Consulting these rankings is a good way to get a general idea of the top business schools and MBA programs available.

  1. It’s important to look for a top business school that meets your unique needs and goals.

While top business school rankings are useful, it isn’t enough to simply pick any school that appears near the top of the list. When choosing a business school, it’s important to find a school that’s a good fit for you specifically. That means taking a number of factors into account. Most importantly, you need to clarify why you want to pursue an MBA. What exactly do you hope to get out of it? Once you’ve outlined your specific goals, investigate whether the business school you’re looking at is able to best help you achieve those goals.

For example, if you hope to live and work in Europe, it makes sense to pick a top business school that is well regarded in Europe and that has strong ties to the European business community. Or, if you plan to move into a particular field or industry, look for an MBA program that offers a specialisation or major in that particular field. The alumni network is another important topic to investigate. The school’s alumni represents a major networking opportunity for you, so find out who attended the school, where they are now, which companies they are associated with, and how connecting with them could potentially help you in the future.

  1. Talk to current students to get an honest insider’s perspective on your prospective business school and MBA program.
You’ve looked at how the top business schools are faring in the most influential rankings, you’ve considered each school’s alumni network, and you’ve looked at the various specialisations on offer for each MBA program. Now take your research a step further by getting in touch with current students to get an insider’s perspective on each school and program. Ask about their experience of the classes, field trips, and networking opportunities offered by the school. Do they feel they’ve gained useful skills? What kind of connections have they made with their classmates and with the business world at large? Have they had any job offers or interviews? What do they value most about the school? What’s the average level of prior professional experience of candidates? Remember, you stand to learn a lot from your fellow classmates, so it’s more beneficial to attend a school at which most students have at least a few years of real-world business experience.

If you’ve singled out a few of the top business schools in the world but still need help deciding which MBA program is the best fit for you, download our free guide, How to find the perfect MBA, for a detailed look at choosing a program that’s designed to help you thrive in your professional life.

The ESSEC Global MBA is a full-time MBA, offering six Majors with an overall emphasis on international markets, and ranked seventh in Europe for employability. A truly international experience,  the program is present in both France and Singapore and boasts a highly diverse student body consisting of 90% international students who will join ESSEC’s alumni network of 47,000 graduates that are working throughout the world.