By Ying Li, MBA in Hospitality Management, China, 2014-2015 1 Year Track
I’ve known about the ESSEC MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI) since 2010 when I participated in an exchange program between my school and Sup de Co La Rochelle, so you could say I’ve been aware of IMHI’s reputation for a long time. After working for the past 2 years, I realized that I needed to pursue further studies in hospitality, so ESSEC was naturally my first choice.
My first impression upon arriving at ESSEC was that its location in Cergy is quite good. It’s not too far away from Paris, where there are lots of hotels, convention centers, and hospitality companies, which is good for IMHI students.
When I first arrived on campus, I was surprised by the colorful mural and other artwork in the halls, which I didn’t expect to see in a school. I told myself, “Ok, this is France. Everything is related to art. When I arrived at the Welcome Center, I was pleasantly surprised to discover everything was well prepared and well organized, a big difference from my previous experience as an exchange student abroad. The Student Affairs Office is very helpful at ESSEC, there was always someone to answer my questions. When I presented my passport to Mme. Fabienne Guédé, from the Student Affairs Office, she wished me “Happy Birthday!” which was just amazing for me. It’s your first day in France, your first day at school and you don’t know anyone, and there is someone there to wish you happy birthday like an old friend.
The first week of classes was unforgettable: CRASE (Cornell Restaurant Administration Simulation Exercise) class, a virtual management game with Professor O’Connor. The CRASE provided us with a broader vision of the market and made us think outside the box to see what our competitors were doing. It taught us to find our own answers. The whole week was intense and involved a lot of teamwork and decision making. As for myself, I think I was a little too cautious the first time and reluctant to take risks, but in the end my team did a good job. We achieved 5% ROI and came in #1 of all 7 groups in our section.
In conclusion, my first week at ESSEC went smoothly and happily in both my personal and academic life. In order break the ice among students in all three MBA programs, the school has organized many get-togethers. I have met international students from many different countries, but there’s a bit of a funny dilemma with the French students… They all want to speak English with us and we want to practice our French with them! Since we are in France, learning French is a priority for me.
Now I’m off to the Integration Weekend with my new friends. I think it will be a lot of fun with a big surprise in store for us!