Two campuses - for the price of one

Some business education programmes can take you across continents

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The Independent Online

If business school is your first step towards an international career in management, you might want to consider a growing number of Masters programmes that will take you across continents to develop your cross-cultural mindset and build your business credentials.

Many major employers specifically target recruits who have already experienced an international immersion, confident that this will bring not only language skills but also understanding of cultural diversity and local markets. And when it comes to the consideration of where to study, you no longer have to choose between the creative spark of France, the industrious vibe of Germany, or the fashionable style of Italy, when now you can have it all.

Take ESCP Europe as an example, with campuses in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Turin. It also has the distinction of being the oldest business school in the world, opening its doors to students in 1819.

Frank Bournois, the school's dean since 2014, believes multi-location education is critical for young business students and that Europe, with its history of bringing disparate nationalities together, is the perfect test bed for an international career.

"Each campus is a melting pot of experience of the country's culture, but it is also a place of experimentation and expertise in the reality of Europe," he says, continuing, "This continent has seen it all. Its history is one of innovation, conflict and reconciliation. This has created a uniquely rich learning ground for addressing the changes that lie ahead for companies."

For Simon Mercado, associate Professor and UK director of the ESCP London campus, the international multi-campus space is a high growth area of business education - but there are still relatively few truly authentic multi-campus schools.

"Having been established nearly 200 years ago, ESCP probably offers the most mature example in Europe with programmes designed specifically to develop tomorrow's international managers," says Mercado. "The need for such individuals is only going to increase as quality graduates with a global perspective becomes a true necessity for companies pushing into new markets."


These beliefs, coupled with the structure of ESCP Europe (which adds a sixth campus at Kozminski University in Warsaw later this year), demonstrate the importance of culture in management education.

Enabling students to experience different cultures in a business context is a key reason behind the structure of the International Masters in Practicing Management (IMPM) run by Lancaster University and the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, as well as three other partner schools in Brazil, India and China.

Each school hosts a 10-day module that focuses on a different managerial mindset - from analytical to worldly - and immerses the students into local life and business. The China module takes place in Beijing at Renmin University. The participants are taught a Chinese professional perspective, understanding the importance of harmony and balance.

"In the Chinese capital, we teach management specifically in relation to China, focusing on a collaborative mindset," said Dora Koop, managing director at IMPM.

"Company visits and lessons on regional economies are interlaced with cultural events, like visiting tea houses."

Programmes like this utilise the strengths of their locations. French business school Emlyon, for example, runs a specialised Masters in management (MiM) between campuses in Lyon and Shanghai. These focus on the industries of hospitality, sports and luxury, and feature a four-month internship in a country of the student's choosing.

Eric Vogler, programme director of the MSc in hospitality management at Emlyon, explains: "Studying and working in both locations provides students with a solid foundation in general management, as well as specialised knowledge in the likes of brand design and innovations management.

"The Asian hospitality industry is world-renowned for quality customer experience, like France for culinary arts," continues Vogler. "It's one way we're trying to give globally-minded students the skills to launch successful careers in an industry that's growing worldwide."

With the Asian metropolis of Shanghai and the European cultural hub of Lyon providing the foundation, students experience the ways of life and industry on two continents that drive business around the globe.

Bocconi University in Italy also teaches students to take a global viewpoint. The school runs the World Bachelor in Business (WBB) in partnership with Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Students on this four-year course are taught in English and study in the design capital of Milan, the entertainment hub of Los Angeles and the technological powerhouse of Hong Kong.

By spanning business hotspots like these, one programme can offer a world of insight.

Students packing suitcases filled with textbooks will become the managers of tomorrow, Bournois of ESCP Europe argues.

"Cultural diversity is vital to international business development and is therefore vital in the training of future business leaders," he explains. "Companies know that highly multicultural profiles - known as high potentials - will ensure international success."

Students studying outside their home country are making a conscious study choice that provides personal as well as professional benefits. The appeal of heading to Sydney for a semester or Tokyo for a term is growing. Taking into account the advantages of international courses, the days of studying one programme in one place are numbered.

'It's an experience that builds character'


Nicole Fruth, 24, Masters in management student on the CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education.

"Coming from Arizona in the US, studying at the London School of Economics (LSE) and then in Chile at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago was a culture shock, but I have always been a curious person.

Having joined the CEMS programme at LSE for my Masters in management, I chose Chile out of 29 business schools on offer around the globe.

I don't regret it. Chile was unique: the country is a visual feast if you like to hike and explore outside. Everything might be slower, but you learn to be patient and flexible. It's an experience that builds character.

The school itself is beautiful. I enjoyed the architecture, and the quality of the teaching.

I had the best marketing teacher I've ever had there. She would shut you out of the class if you were late, but never raised her voice and always supported you. She demanded respect.

I had never been to South America, though I had always wanted to - more than anything, I wanted to learn Spanish. I now understand much better the way people think and act in both business and life."