IIM Calcutta offers many options of dual degrees to enthusiastic students. One such unique program is the tie up that IIM Calcutta has with ESCP Europe. Swapnil Jha, a first year MBA student at IIM C, made the choice to take this up. I reached out to him in Paris, where he is currently pursuing this programme.
This story would be particularly helpful for those looking at exchange/placement abroad.
Niranjan: Hi, Swapnil. What is the program about?
Swapnil: Hi, Niranjan. This is a double degree partnership of IIM-C (PGDM) with ESCP Europe (MIM). It runs as following:
2/3 of 1st year in Joka. 1 year in Paris at ESCP and then 1/3 of 2nd year back in Joka. ESCP has such partnership with few other IIMs too and it also offers semester exchange with more IIMs.
N: What was your motivation? Why not a term exchange program instead?
S: Having worked in Japan before, I grew a lot by working in the different culture. So, I was confused between going for MBA in India or abroad. I think IIMs do not offer much diversity (in education, gender, international focus etc.) This program could give me the best of both worlds. In a term exchange, most of us focus on travelling more than the courses, but as a full-time student, I get to fully immerse myself in ESCP’s style of learning while being able to still spend a crucial part of my study period in IIM-C.
N: How is the system of B-school education there?
S: There is a big focus on group work, and it is fun because ESCP is so multicultural. In 6 of my 7 courses, I’m the only Indian. I share classroom with students from 20+ nationalities and directly worked in group activity with people from 8 nationalities. There is a lot of freedom given to students who can use laptops in the classroom and each course has 1 weekly session of 3 hours with a short break mid-way.
N: What has been your favourite course so far in this semester?
S: The course that I enjoyed the most was 'Design thinking in entrepreneurship'. It was conducted in partnership with a leading insurance company. We were divided into diverse groups of 5 and asked to come up with a product/service for the company applying design thinking concepts. This involved a lot of field work which was an interesting experience for me, to go out and strike a conversation with people to gather insights and later to do market testing. I am not an outspoken guy and I was in an unfamiliar country with no French language ability. So, it was quite a challenge and it gave me a lot of confidence to realize I could do it. It was a great feeling of satisfaction when we gave the final presentation at company’s HQ in Paris.
N: How do placements work differently there?
S: Very different. ESCP offers support services, but it has no obligation to manage placement of students. There is a career center that organizes sessions to hone our skills, refine our resume and offer interview tips. We can book free sessions with a career counsellor. ESCP also organizes an annual career fair in each of its 6 campuses in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid, Turin and Warsaw. It’s a good opportunity for students to connect with recruiters. Notably, the resume format in Europe is very different from a typical IIM resume. Language skills are very important, many times more than the grades.
N: What has been your best memory there?
N: Turns out he is currently on a trip to Lisbon and Madrid, creating stories that he could share later. Thanks to him for his time and help! :)