You move to a new country, where you don’t know anyone, you don’t speak the language, you can’t even read the road signs, or order a coffee. A lot can go right. A lot can go wrong. Are you going to be able to keep up?
Those thoughts filled my mind when I moved to Paris in 2013 to pursue my Master’s in Management at ESCP Business School. At the time, I had just completed my Bachelor’s degree in Technology from Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, and was still deciding what was next for me.
Despite it being the popular choice, I was not particularly keen on working in software development per se, as the field was not aligned to my interests. But I was keen on continuing in the technology sector. A lateral shift from the purely technical aspects of my education to the more business-oriented disciplines was a logical next step for me.
The best option for something like that would be an education in business management. For most people, this means doing an MBA, which is a great educational qualification to pursue. But an MBA program is most beneficial for people who have some work experience, and want to make a jump to a mid-level management job in their respective industry, or move into consulting.
This was not the right option for me.
While researching my options, I learnt of a different qualification – a Master’s in Management. This program is ideal for people looking for an entry into management, finance, or consulting careers, and was offered almost exclusively in the EU at the time.
The curriculum at ESCP covered all the topics that you might expect from a management course: Economics, Marketing, Introduction to Business Law, Introduction to Finance, Operations Management, Human Resource Management, and other such topics.
More importantly, its key appeal for me lay in the fact that it was a ‘purely taught’ program, with very little emphasis on experiential learning, which would not have worked for me, given my lack of experience in the job market.
The curriculum too would lay the foundations of knowledge in all disciplines that would set me up for my future career.
As a plus, the program was taught in English, which was helpful as I didn’t understand French at all at the time. To help with integration in France, the school also provided French classes, and also sessions to learn through conversation with people!
Finally, the program offered students the option of taking a gap year to gain some work experience, which gave me the opportunity to relocate to Geneva for a year. Ultimately, this translated into my current job as an IT Product Manager with the same organisation.
In the three years that I was enrolled at ESCP (including the gap year), I lived in France and Switzerland, and travelled to three other countries in the EU. I got the chance to work with people from all over the EU, who came from different cultures, with different ways of working, and different outlooks on life. The sheer amount of diversity I was exposed to helped me develop my own thinking in unprecedented ways, and challenged me to grow as a person.
A great aspect of studying in the EU is the breadth of opportunities available. The EU includes 27 different countries, which all have their own unique markets, full of their own unique opportunities. From oil and gas in the Nordic region, to finance in Germany and France, to the beer industry in different parts of the EU, you have so many different avenues to choose from.
The start at ESCP led me on a diverse, and unique journey that now brings me to this destination, allowing me to bring something a bit different to the table. And it paid off. I am now set to pursue my MBA in a world-renowned university, starting in September 2020.
It’s almost a cliché in the management sector that you perform to the best of your ability when diverse experiences and people shape your journey. Having lived through my experiences in life, I can only agree that the cliché rings true.
I chose France originally because I would be in a situation that was completely unfamiliar to me, and I would be exposed to so many different thoughts and ideas that the only option available to me was to evolve. Every bit of this came true. I did evolve.
If you’re now at the point in life where you’re considering your own options, I would highly recommend considering this one. There’s nothing like coming out of a 3-year-long journey with all the skills you need to make it in the world.