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International study: are digital open days really worth your time?

If you’re considering an MBA or executive education, you want to know that the institution you choose will really suit your needs. But with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, it may be impossible to visit in person.

International study: are digital open days really worth your time?
Nayda Massoud. Photo: ESSEC

So what of digital open days: are they really worth the time and effort? Reaching across time zones is more important than ever today, and the digital world is increasing the demand for personalized learning opportunities.

But if you’re an international person and fear current restrictions could stifle your growth, can you learn enough to make an informed decision by joining remotely?

The Local takes a look at how one Parisian business school is reimagining the open day and bringing it into the 21st century, as well as learning how some of its alumni are prospering in today’s digital world.

Experience a new kind of open day: find your path to world-class business learning with the ESSEC Executive virtual open days, between the 21st and 25th of June, 2021

Turning adversity into opportunity

Most of us have attended a university open day before – it’s an opportunity to not only learn more about the courses delivered by a university or business school, but also to get a feel for the atmosphere and learning environment you could be entering.

While the pandemic continues, the traditional style of open day – an open campus visit with sessions running throughout, usually on a weekend – just isn’t possible. Contact restrictions mean the kind of course counselling sessions you might see featured throughout a day can’t be held.

Founded in 1907, ESSEC provides high-quality and innovative business learning, including leading MBAs, at campuses in France, Singapore and Morocco. It has a series of 100 percent digital Executive open days planned for the end of June.

As with so many things, the changes enforced by the pandemic can also open up new opportunities. Indeed, the leap to online learning and greater use of digital tools means a virtual open day can be a much richer, more useful experience than the traditional approach.

Claire Szlingier, ESSEC Executive education’s Head of Marketing, says switching to virtual open days makes it possible to give those interested in joining ESSEC a much broader and deeper experience. “To begin with, it allows us to reach international students across multiple time zones.” With lectures and seminars scheduled from dawn to dusk across a number of days, those from overseas who wish to come to France to study can access events, no matter where they are.

“Hosting open days on our learning platform online also allows us to deliver a deeper, more tailored experience to prospective students,” Szlingier adds. Using a bespoke platform, MeltingSpot, designed by an ESSEC alumnus, the school’s open days allow prospective students to select a combination of events that reflects their interests and address their questions. They will be able to access ‘masterclasses’ from ESSEC faculty, discuss their needs with advisors and the admissions team, and watch Alumni Q&A sessions that give an inside glimpse of student life at ESSEC.

Hosting digital open days also reflects the school’s strategic plan, ‘RISE’, which includes a focus on tackling social and environmental problems, says Szlingier. The plan also encourages innovative entrepreneurship and holistic use of data to guide thinking, as ESSEC seeks to positively influence the major challenges facing businesses, organisations and society.

Access business acumen from world-class teachers, professors and advisors: find out more about the ESSEC Executive virtual open days, taking place from the 21st to 25th June, 2021

An earlier open day at ESSEC Business School. Photo: ESSEC

Future vision, past tradition

What of the courses you can learn about? ESSEC delivers a popular and highly-acclaimed full-time Global MBA program and the part-time ESSEC and Mannheim Business School Executive MBA (modular track). You can also choose the part-time ESSEC Executive MBA (weekend track).

In addition, it offers a number of specialised courses: the full-time MSc in Hospitality Management (IMHI), the part-time Executive Master in Luxury Management and Design Innovation or ‘EMiLUX’ and the part-time Executive Mastère Spécialisé in International Business Development.

ESSEC alumni have many positive stories to share about how their experience at the school changed their lives.

Nayda Massoud, who is of Lebanese origin and has lived in Nigeria and France, did an ESSEC Global MBA and went on to find an exciting position as an operations manager at Amazon France.

She says she is “thrilled” with her new position and that the Global MBA was “a gateway” to the opportunity. “Along with its reputation, the program’s choice of specializations, the incorporation of hands-on learning through consulting missions brought balance to the academic experience,” she says.

David Pereira launched an automotive industry start-up after studying an Executive MBA at ESSEC. “From the recruitment team to the academic team, everybody made sure I felt comfortable and made me a part of a family,” he says.

With an open day experience that is now one hundred percent online, there’s never been a better opportunity for those wishing to attend a world-class institution of business learning. No matter where you are, or your current working hours, you can still fully access the wide range of workshops, seminars and Q&A sessions provided by ESSEC during their virtual Executive open days, between the 21st and 25th of June, 2021.

Looking to grow in your life and career? Sign up for ESSEC’s virtual Executive open days, taking place from the 21st to 25th of June, 2021

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UNIVERSITY

Five things to know about the ‘best university in Spain’

A new prestigious global university rankings has included several Spanish institutes albeit well down the list. Here's what you need to know about the university that finsihed the highest in the rankings.

Five things to know about the 'best university in Spain'
Photo: Jesús Corrius/Flickr
The QS World University Rankings, one of the big three most-read top schools lists, has just been released, and it includes 27 Spanish universities amongst the world’s top thousand.
 
While no Spanish school ranked in the top 100, university administrators argue that they’re doing more with less – Spanish schools have about €6,000 in funding per student/per year, a fraction of the €100,000 or so spent on each student per year at the American universities at the top of the list. 
 
 
The top Spanish school was declared to be the Universitat de Barcelona, ranked 165th globally. Here are 5 things worth knowing about the university declared by QS to be the best in Spain:
 
A university with tradition
 
The Universitat de Barcelona was listed as one of the 25 best universities in the world with more than 400 years of history by QS. The school was founded back in 1450 by King Alfonso V (“the Magnanimous”) of Aragon, making it 569 years old.
 
While it’s not as old as Spain’s historic University of Salamanca, founded in 1134, it is ranked almost 500 spots higher in the QS World University Rankings.
 
 
Photo: Jordi Domènech/Wikimedia Commons
 
One of the biggest universities in Spain
 
With more than 46,000 full-time students and around 63,000 students all categories included, the Universitat de Barcelona has one of the largest student bodies in Spain. 
 
It is the fourth largest university in Spain in terms of full-time students, after the University of Seville, the Complutense in Madrid, and the University of Granada.
 
Strong points: academic reputation and graduate employability
 
One of the factors that contributed to the Universitat de Barcelona’s “best in Spain” was its good academic reputation, rated at 71 out of 100 by QS. Academic reputation is the most heavily-weighted component in the QS World University rankings, and is judged by it surveying the opinions of over 94,000 individuals in the field of higher education with regards to an institution’s teaching and research quality.
 
Another factor that helped the Universitat de Barcelona distinguish itself was the high employability of its graduates. There, they cracked the top 100, ranking 82nd globally, making them the most employable university graduates in Spain, a quality that demonstrates itself with 90% graduate employment rate.
 
Weakness: a lack of international faculty
 
If there’s one category the Universitat of Barcelona could improve in, it’s international faculty. QS values an international faculty as the mark of a strong international brand and a global outlook, and incorporates into its ranking system.
 
The Universitat de Barcelona was graded an abysmal 5.8 out of 100 on this metric, probably because only 134 of its 3,923 faculty members are from outside of Spain. That’s a 3.4% international faculty for a student body made up of 15% international students from at least 122 different countries. 
 
Looks like that scene in L’Auberge Espagnole where the professor refuses to teach in any language but Catalan might have contained a grain of truth in it…
 
 
An affordable education
 
Unlike the schools at the top of the international list, the Universitat de Barcelona provides a reasonably-priced education, charging domestic students around €1,750 to €3,500 per school year. International students are charged a little bit more, as undergraduates pay €7,000 – €9,000 per year and graduate students are charged €3,500 – €5,500 per year.
 
Compared to the €42,500 – €44,500 per year that top ranked Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students can expect to pay, that doesn’t sound to bad.
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