Try to Take All Electives During Your MBA

An Interview with Michael Aissaoui, an ESCP-EAP student

The primary aim of ESCP-EAP, European School of Management, is to train top level managers for careers in a global context. Our unique 5- European campus structure provides participants with the opportunity to gain real insight on global business environments. The EMBA is ranked 24th worldwide (FinancialTimes2006). The 4 values that lie at the heart of our mission are: Mobility - Diversity - Experience - Quality.

How did you get into this prestigious MBA program?

First I was looking to a top MBA with focus on Europe. The International Full Time MBA is also truly international, we are 31 students with 25 different nationalities.
Secondly I was looking to medium size class MBA in order to maximize the benefits of teamwork, leadership and personal development. Which is only possible when you are 30 to 40 rather than 500 students.
Third, I was looking to MBA where student average age is over 30 years with 7 years experience before MBA on average.
Finally, the 4 international seminars, the interaction with the students from the Executive MBA, the International Consultancy Project (ICP, done by the end of the year) and the quality / choices of the electives proposed.

Could you tell us more about your first year of study?

It is a full intensive one-year program. It is hard work, but I enjoyed it a lot. You have to be aware that you have to do some sacrifices concerning your private life, but it worth at the end. You must think this year as a real investment in time of energy, time and money. Finally I would say: “what you get from your MBA is what you put in…”.

What classes are you learning most from?

I learnt a lot from the Corporate Strategy course, Organizational Behavior, Leadership, Marketing, Corporate Finance. Corporate Strategy gave me the global picture of the business, including the senior management view, the shareholders view, the competition view, the employees/union view and others. It allowed me to capture also all the major functions of a company as finance, marketing, operations, HR, Accounting etc. Organizational Behavior gave the very important soft skills and human role within a company. This course is one of the very important one of the MBA. It helps to analysis political, sociological and motivations at three levels: yourself, the team and the company.

How is the atmosphere at ESCP-EAP?

It was a great time! Very simply 25 nationalities, different background and culture plus a strong teamwork spirit made this year very good. Believe it is not obvious to have a collaborative and teamwork spirit in MBA. I have different friends/colleagues in the class as a Norwegian officer in the army, an Italian R&D or a German banker.

Could you give a piece of advice to a prospective ESCP-EAP student?

If you want to leverage your MBA work hard it is a good opportunity. At ESCP-EAP you have an important choice of very valuable electives, so try to take all the electives during your MBA, even if you need less to graduate.

What is you plan for the future ?

I would go to work in Corporate Finance or Corporate Strategy in Investment Banking or Industry.

About Michael Aissaoui

I was born in Lebanon, I have studied between France and Lebanon. I graduated from the University of Paris IX Dauphine DESS 2003 "Marchés Financiers, Marchés des Matière Premières et Gestion des Risques". Then I started in the Investment Banking, as Trader and Syndication manager on corporate bonds at the MIZUHO Financial Group. Then I moved to consulting at KPMG to work in strategy and corporate finance for the FIG practice (Financial Institution Group). Afterwards, I worked at the head office as Strategy and Business Development Manager to work at the world leader in building construction materials, Lafarge. After three years, I decided to complete my MBA because it was the exact time, after 7 years experiences, to go for a management education programme; in order to complete a career in investment banking or corporate finance in industry



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