The Classes are a Laboratory to Explore
Diversity and Intercultural Management
An interview with Chris Wert
Dean of MBA Program, Paris Graduate School of Management
The Paris Graduate School of Management (PGSM), founded in 1975, is a private institution offering graduate and undergraduate programs that cover all aspects of business studies, including computer management and the new technologies. Six different schools make up the Group, with each school offering courses taught entirely in English. Currently, PGSM offers both BBA and MBA degrees. There are more than 4000 students, including 1000 international students from 90 countries.
Could you give us a brief overview of your MBA program?
We offer several options: The European MBA (EMBA): Courses are taught in Paris and consist of three modules. The first, and most general, is called the International Management Program (IMP) and introduces students to general management principles, such as Organization Behavior, Human Resources, Business Financial Management Marketing Management, among others. The second module, entitled the European Management Program (EMP), focuses on issues facing either European firms or foreign companies wanting to do business in Europe. Students explore the marketing, financial and legal environment as they exist in Europe today. The third and last module, called the Specialization Program (SP), offers four majors: Marketing, Finance, Luxury Management and Doing Business in Asia.We are proud of having the EMBA Program accredited in the US by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). The American MBA (AMBA) consists of studying one trimester in Paris, the International Management Program (IMP) module. Upon successful completion of this module, students go to complete their degree at one of our five partner schools in the United States. The Middle-East MBA (MEMBA) and the Latin American MBA (LAMBE) follow the same logic, but students finish their MBA in Israel for the MEMBA Program and in Mexico for the LAMBA Program.
What is the profile of your participants?
Our degree candidates come from all over the world. Over 40 countries are represented with the age group ranging from the mid-20's to early 50's. Most of our MBA students come with some work experience, and many do the program without having to stop work. Classes are taught on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, which allows working executives to enroll in the EMBA Program. The MBA 2003 participants are 50% French and 50% non-French (USA, Mexico, Colombia, China and Morocco). The average age is 31, with 6 years experience. The background is 40% Engineers, 30% Business and Economics, 10% Corporate Law, 20% other.
What are the characteristics you are looking for in applications?
Candidates must have finished an accredited undergraduate program and obtained either a Bachelor's degree, “Maîtrise” in France, or an equivalent diploma. No specific undergraduate degree is required, but a business-related degree helps. If we view a candidate qualified, but lacking in certain basic business skills, we may require her/him to do a preparatory semester, called the Pre-MBA Program, which covers the fundamentals in accounting, finance, marketing and statistics. Non-English speakers must take the TOEFL, or equivalent exam, and the GMAT. Applicants should seek a score of 230 for the TOEFL and around 500 for the GMAT. Work experience helps enormously and compensates for inferior test scores and/or a mediocre undergraduate record.
How does your program differ from a traditional MBA Program?
The student body is remarkably diverse and international. Courses are not only taught in English, but English is the language spoken among students outside the class. The classes are a laboratory to explore diversity and intercultural management, which is a rewarding and rich experience for all involved.
Administratively, the AMBA, LAMBE and MEMBA programs present the biggest difference from our competitors. Students can start their program in Paris and finish the MBA abroad. Another difference is the European emphasis. Students in the EMP module receive an in-depth look at marketing and management through a European perspective.
Who are your professors?
Most of our faculty are native English speakers, with a preponderance to North America. Almost 70% of our professors are doctorally qualified, all have years of professional experience, and some are doing post doctorate work at prestigious French universities.
What business areas do your students generally enter after graduation?
Most obtained positions in the area of their specialization in a variety of small to midsize companies. For those students who are already working before coming to the program, most returned to their original employer but with increased responsibilities, and in some cases, a new post. Two Americans and two French graduates from last year started their own businesses. A few students continued in either a doctorate program in North America or in France.
About Chris Wert
Chris Wert received his doctorate in Law from Suffolk University in Boston Massachusetts, after doing his undergraduate studies in modern philosophy. After his graduate studies, he practiced law at Bowditch & Dewey for almost a decade before deciding to come to France to teach. Before becoming Dean of the BBA Program (2001) and the MBA Program (2202) at the PGSM Group, Mr. Wert was teaching Law, Intercultural Management and other subjects at several French universities, including University Paris Dauphine and ESC Rouen.
What advice do you have for MBA students?
Remember the MBA degree is a general degree, unlike many Master programs. The MBA curriculum challenges the degree candidate and opens her/his mind and spirit. Someone who wants to be a technician or very specialized in a certain field should probably not do an MBA.