Company Visit: Schneider Electric

Fran├žois Dabin, Global MBA 2015-2016, France

On Wednesday 18th November, 31 smartly dressed Global MBA students met at Rueil Malmaison to attend the 1st company visit of the academic year. This visit to the headquarters of the global leader in energy management and automation – Schneider Electric – was made possible thanks to Nishtha Sharma, a Global MBA Alumna who graduated last September and who is currently doing her internship in the company.

The first part of the visit was meant to give the students an insight to what Schneider Electric does both for individuals and corporations: products, services and solutions for energy management and consumption optimization. Schneider Electric’s involvement in Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability concerns were also highlighted.


Then, the Global MBA students had the opportunity to meet the VP strategy of Schneider Electric – Anton Kotov for a company presentation. Mr Kotov detailed the company's significant growth in the 10 last years during which Schneider Electric doubled its revenues and diversified its activities through mergers and acquisitions making the 180 years old company a worldwide leader in different businesses like Low Voltage and Building Automation, Critical Power and Cooling, Medium Voltage and Grid Automation. He also highlighted the strong presence of Schneider Electric in emerging countries from which the company generates 44% of its revenues. The presentation was followed by a lively interaction with the Global MBA students.

This visit to Schneider Electric was an excellent opportunity to discover the company from a different perspective. It changed our outlook on the energy industry, as we discovered how exciting the challenges that the energy industry faces are such as: making electricity accessible to all and optimizing its consumption through innovations to make it's sustainable. We highly appreciated the clear and professional company orientation, and Mr. Kotov’s availability to answer our questions.


Where are they now? Interview with Rajesh Ramanathan class of 2015

Rajesh Ramanathan graduated the Global MBA in 2015 and has recently realized his professional ambition by being employed as a Project Manager in Paris. 

Born and raised in Pune in India, he completed an Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering degree at Pune University, later obtaining a Masters degree in Financial Management at Symbiosis International University. Before coming to ESSEC Business School Rajesh worked for 7 years as a Software Architect in the IT industry. 

1. Why did you decide to join the Global MBA at ESSEC Business School?

I was involved primarily in a technical role throughout my career. I was seeking a change into a role as a Project Manager or a Business Analyst, wherein I could be involved more in the business side of things, and leverage my prior technical expertise to help both the customer and my organization to achieve better results. I was also seeking an international relocation.

An MBA from a top business school seemed as a perfect platform to exercise my extrovert nature to interact and gain access to a more international and diverse group of people, to hone my people and cross cultural skills and of course to learn about the latest management practices and trends from an internationally recognized school and faculty. Furthermore, I was learning French during the past 2 years at the Alliance Francaise de Pune, and so France was naturally a top destination for me to pursue my MBA. Another constraint in the selection of an MBA program was the overall tuition fees, cost of living and the availability of scholarships.

ESSEC's Global MBA offered me a perfect mix of the factors that I was looking for in an MBA program:

    (1) Amongst the top 3 business school's in France, has an award winning, international and a diverse group of faculty, has an incredible campus.

    (2) The Global MBA with its small and internationally diverse cohort, truly international experience (Paris campus, Singapore campus, International Field Trip to Shanghai, and an International Immersion Program in a fourth country - I chose to stay in Paris), affordable program cost and had scholarships based on your overall profile.

    (3) Optional French language courses, possibility to take some courses in French (electives), and possibility to meet and interact with a no. of French students meant that I could master the French language through complete immersion, which was a priority for me.

    (4) An incredible alumni network of over 45000, ever willing to help you and guide you in your career quests.

2. How has the smaller class size has been an advantage? 

The smaller class size meant that I was able to interact, learn and have a lasting impression on each of my class mates. It facilitated a number of one to one conversations, and I have made some life long friends in the Global MBA.

Apart from the personal perspective, a smaller cohort ensures that we get one to one attention from even our professors, career counselors and during the various workshops that take place during the academic year.

3. How did you find the 5 weeks spent in Singapore?

Singapore is an incredible city, and I had a whale of a time during my two months studying at ESSEC's Singapore Campus (February-March 2015).

The Singapore term was memorable in terms of academics for a course on "Geopolitics in
Asia" conducted by Prof. Dr. Cedomir Nestorovic, who I believe is one of the best professors to have ever taught me. Besides the courses, we also had a large no. of company visits, and guests speakers from the industry which made the overall experience extremely gratifying.

Outside school, Singapore offers an incredible setting. We spent many a evenings at Clark Quay, sampling different cuisines, visiting incredible hotels like the Marina Bay Sands etc.

When you are in Singapore, in the heart of South-East Asia, and are being served by the best airport in the world Changi International Airport who would not want to travel?! Many of us took off during the weekends to the visit the surrounding countries like Indonesia (Batam, Bali), Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia etc.

My advice to future students would be to come prepared to work hard and party harder in Singapore! And of course to bring along their shorts and swimming costumes to profit the most from the wonderful weather. And lastly to plan their trips in advance so that they benefit form cheap airfares to travel.

4.  What has surprised you most about yourself during your time at ESSEC? 

At ESSEC, I found myself mentoring fellow students on some courses which I was good at like Finance, Accounting, Economics etc. I was surprised at how well received these informal "coaching" sessions were. And some of them even egged me on pursuing a career in teaching and academics!

Besides that, I also realized that I was indeed a good people's person, and work well in teams and across cultures. 

5.  What's the best advice you received during your time at ESSEC? 

I personally believe that one can learn from every person around them be it peers, friends, professors or mentors. I benefited incredibly from my interactions with all these people during the course of my MBA year. However, if I were to pick one advice that stood out, then it'll have to be the one given by my career services adviser Ms. Claire Gaudissart. 

She told us all at the beginning of the year to be very open and receptive to new experiences and opportunities. She told us that the MBA will be filled with new learnings and partnerships which could open doors or make us aware of career opportunities that exist beyond the limits of those we envisaged for ourselves. She told us that the MBA year should be one of experimentation and testing our boundaries, so that we know ourselves much better than ever before.

6. What would you recommend to upcoming students for the best MBA experience?

I would say come with an open mind. You are going to work and interact with people who have cultures and upbringings completely different from yours and who can be a treasure trove of knowledge. It is for you to open up, make the effort and interact with them and eventually benefit from this interaction.

Lastly, I really do believe that the MBA year should be looked at as an year of "self development" and "experiential learning". ESSEC Global MBA assures you a great time both academically, professionally and personally and will surely propel you to greater heights in your life and career.

Social Innovation and Global Ethics forum (SIGEF) in Geneva

By Praveen Kumar Sundararaju, India and Hannah Lee United States of America/South Korea, Global MBA 2015-2016

We had the opportunity to attend the Social Innovation and Global Ethics forum (SIGEF) held between October 23rd and 25th in Geneva. The conference was organized by Horyou, an action-oriented social network for Social Good. Specifically, Horyou is a platform on which NGOs and organizations focused on social work can converge to discuss topics such as global hunger and empowering the youth. There was a variety of NGOs and social projects in the conference to showcase their work. One that stood out to me was a Korean Brazilian named DJ Joo. He shared his personal story of breaking rather rigid, cultural expectations of his parents and pursuing his passion. As a result, he came up with the idea to provide access to musical instruments for inner-city children and his company was born. His story was powerful.

Renowned speakers and representatives of various firms from all over the world came to the conference for the keynote speech and panel discussion. The topics discussed were sustainability in developing and underdeveloped countries, social entrepreneurship, agriculture, climate change (COP21) and youth and women empowerment.

Many of the projects were quite interesting. One was Green Bronx Machine in which school children learn to grow plants and understand more about nature at school. By providing hands-on experience, the teacher (and owner of Green Bronx Machine) empowered the students to take action. We were then able to apply what we learned from the speeches, as well as enriching discussions during networking sessions, to the various projects we are working on in class. For example, we are partaking in an initiative by the U.S. government to combat extremism and help prevent radicalization by ISIS. My group and I have decided to target the youth, from ages 15-21, and one takeaway that I was able to apply to this challenge was that young adults have very short attention span. By learning this, we were able to tailor our project so that our messages were relevant and was short enough to engage our target audience.

The ‘Scaling the Conversation’ by Jon Mark was was interesting as well. He spoke about a digital strategy, in which he emphasized 3 aspects that are important for scaling: diffusion, organization, and interaction. In order to scale, one must diffuse information. However, it must be done in an organized and clear manner. Finally, interaction is crucial for sustainability. Again, this learning could be then applied to our project, since the challenge was a digital initiative.

We also had the opportunity to interact with experts from different industry and understand more about the ground situation and challenges they are facing. The most interesting aspect were the strategies they implemented to target their respective target audiences. For example, one organization used Hip Hop as a means of communicating effectively.