“The European Experience” – Rohith Chanda – Study Tour At Telecom Ecole De Management, Paris
The candidate who enrols in a MBA programme is likely to have one or more of these aspirations – to get an overwhelming job offer, to become an expert in time management, to interact and network with students from diverse backgrounds and alumni, to have a superior industry interaction, to acquire indispensable skills necessary for a competent manager and lastly, to get a flair of international exposure. I too had quite a few of these dreams before joining b-school. And SJMSOM has done a great job in fulfilling these aspirations.
In today’s fast-paced world, it is vital to have an exposure as well as an understanding of diverse cultures besides our own set of cultural ethos. As an aspiring manager, I can certainly imagine that we are going to work with teams across borders and some of us may kick-start careers in entirely new geographical locations. This is a fair rationale for some of the elite MBA institutes supporting the student exchange programs. Pursuant to the collaborative sharing of knowledge, SJMSOM has relations with foreign institutes for the student exchange programs as well as the winter and summer study tours.
I had the opportunity to be a part of the incredible 15-day long winter study tour at Telecom Ecole De Management (TEM), which remains one of my best experiences till date. The excitement had kindled the moment the International Relations team informed us about such an opportunity. With my fair share of enthusiasm, I wanted to tell why I wanted to be the one on board this journey. True to my enthusiasm, I passed through the interviews to be a part of the touring team. As we say habits die hard, the fancy thoughts led me to unite the members in a common group ‘The 10’ thematic on the Eiffel Tower.
There was a time when we realised that the journey was happening and the feelings were overwhelming. Our journey kicked off with the planning for the tour – a long series of discussions, disagreements, memos for everything that we could possibly include or for that matter exclude for the tour. With the consensus of ‘The 10’, we divided our entire trip into three segments- the pre-TEM tour, the TEM phase and the post-TEM fun. The International Relations team shared their experiences and guided us in developing a fool-proof plan for the entire journey.
While everything seemed to fall in place- the preparation of schedule, the accommodation booking, the travel booking, we faced a little hiccup for getting the VISA since only cash and not were accepted for the VISA procedure during the demonetization drive. But with the winter jackets, mufflers and thermals packed with the stuff of desi recipes, we were set to travel.
On the trail of hours of expectations and excitement, the day finally arrived when we landed in the Spanish capital of Madrid. We reached our accommodation by metro and fortunately, we met a friend who helped us acclimatize in this marvellous city. A few days later, we visited the Catalan city of Barcelona. The incredible part of the journey for some was watching the “El-Classico” match live as the star-studded teams of Barcelona and Real Madrid played it out in the home turf of Barcelona. As we bid adieu to Spain, the Pre-TEM chapter of our journey concluded.
Next halt on the tour was the institution of Telecom Ecole De Management in Paris. During the winter study tour programme at TEM, professors from various domains such as Management, Technology, Sociology, Psychology shared their experience in multiple sessions covering diverse topics like B2B marketing in the age of information, Big Data management, global telecom strategies, strategic management and negotiation skills. Although each session was value-adding and enriching in its own way, unanimously the best of them was the session where we practically showcased our negotiation skills.
A captivating session on the European Economy and its history enlightened us with several global issues like the differences among the Euro Zone, the European Union and the Schengen Zone to intense discussions on the macro-economic crises in some of the European countries. Apart from these sessions, the study tour gave us the opportunity to visit places of repute such as Renault, Linagora, BNP Paribas as well as the European Commission, Parliament and UNESCO.
In BNP Paribas, we met Mr. Houssam Fahs, the head of the IT function, as he shared his experience on leadership and current issues while his curiosity of the work culture in India kept us engaged.Linagora, publisher of Free Software, is one of Europe’s historical leaders of the free software, in terms of engineering, consulting and training, with competitors like Microsoft, Google. The office of Linagora is one of the spectacular places that affords a panoramic view of Paris adorned by the Eiffel Tower from the 40th storey.
Visiting global chambers like the UNESCO, the European Commission and the Parliament was an amazing experience all together. The tour was extensively value-adding and knowledge-enriching as we got a glimpse of European history and different phases of the development of European civilisation as well as it’s architectural beauty.
Apart from the classes and the visits, the memories we shared in Paris will be with us forever, not to add the series of photos that captured beautiful moments on the Eiffel Tower, inside the Louvre museum and few other historical places.Our journey continued beyond TEM to the post-TEM trip as we travelled 7 countries in 25 days. It was one hell of a trip which would be cherished forever. A trip which truly changed my perspective of Europe, enriching me with new experiences and fresh ideas as I blended with the diverse cultures of Europe.
About the Author:
Rohith Chanda is a student of the Class of 2018 at Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay. After completing his B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from BITS Pilani Hyderabad, Rohith holds a work experience of 2 years with Dell. Currently, Rohith is a keen enthusiast in the activities of Opera, the Operations club and is a part of the International Relations Team at SJMSOM.