By Ashok Som, Associate Dean & Director of the Global MBA
Today, educational institutions, including business schools, must be in constant evolution to adequately respond to the complexities of globalization and technology. The rapid leaps in computers and technology that have been made in recent years have changed the way that we teach, the way that we communicate, and the way that we think about doing business. These technologies allow us to maintain a seamless connection across long distances: within business schools as well as dual or even multiple campuses. This changing reality leads us to ask what might be the benefits of dual or multiple campuses in business education.
The evolution of the global economy means that, more and more, business is about the interplay between developed and emerging markets. Cross-cultural understanding and cross-cultural presence are directly tied to a company’s ability to be successful in this dynamic climate. Today, businesses are crossing borders and building their presence on an international stage. It is only logical that the schools that seek to prepare the future leaders of these businesses should do the same. ESSEC Business School has established campuses in Asia and Singapore to address this belief. Studying in Asia equips European students with the skills they need to successfully do business in Asia, much as studying in Europe helps prepare Asian students for careers in the Western world.
Singapore and Paris are both culturally rich and fascinating locations, and both very different from one another. Students have flocked to Paris for centuries to benefit from the unique cultural, economic, and political richness of the City of Lights. Simultaneously charming and cosmopolitan, living in Paris offers opportunities to explore art and architecture, culture and cuisine, politics and history, all in close proximity to major French, European, and International businesses. Singapore, half a planet away, is a dynamic and vibrant city at the crossroads of East and West. It is fascinating and full of opportunity, and an ideal starting point from which to explore the rich culture and geography of Southeast Asia: Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam… the two cities together provide a portrait of both Asia and Europe as coexisting and yet distinct entities. ESSEC students who study in Singapore and in Paris get the unique benefit of combining what Paris does well with what Singapore does well, and we think it’s a pretty winning match.
The Singapore campus of ESSEC Business School is a key factor in the Global MBA program in particular, as it helps our students foster a multi-cultural mindset and opens doors to an economically dynamic region in Asia as they search for careers after graduation. With coursework conducted on two continents, the Global MBA is taking full advantage of all the benefits of ESSEC’s dual campus system. Having a presence in both Paris and in Singapore has been a key component of ESSEC’s international growth strategy, and has concrete, tangible benefits for our students. By studying and living in both cities, students gain rich exposure that complements their educational experience in a way that responds to our increasingly globalized world. This experience is simply not paralleled by traditional programs that take place in one location, or that only offer brief exchange or immersion programs of a week or ten days.
As ESSEC Singapore grows, our school will continue to gain clout and import in the region, meaning that we will in time have an influential network of alumni as well as meaningful connections with the many companies that call Singapore home… or a second home, as it were. Being a major player in two economic regions is instrumental to our goals of recruiting students from around the world.
Certainly, Singapore isn’t ESSEC’s only international presence. We have an extensive array of exchange and double-degree programs with major universities in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Strategically, many of these double degree programs are located in Asia: Beida in Beijing, IIM Ahmedabad in India, NTU in Singapore, KEIO University and Business School in Tokyo, and Seoul National University in Korea, to name a few. But the Singapore campus is a much more definite, determined, and larger scale effort to be a global school. Being in the right place at the right time is key to the success of any institution, and as we look toward the changing economies of the future, Singapore is set to complement our Parisian presence in a major way.