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.
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.
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.
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.
This content was paid for by an advertiser and produced by The Local's Creative Studio.