Choosing Among European EMBA Programmes (Q&A)

Read the transcript of the Chat Session on the topic of the European EMBA featuring three business schools.

Choosing Among European EMBA Programmes (Q&A)

During the Access MBA Spotlight on the topic of the European EMBA, potential applicants had the chance to get valuable information about the Executive MBA journey directly from the representatives of three renowned business schools.  

The live chat welcomed ESCP Europe Business School, KEDGE Business School (France), and Kellogg-WHU (Germany) in September 2015.

Here is a detailed transcript of the Q&A session regarding European EMBA programmes.

Q: What is the main focus of your programme? Is it general management, entrepreneurship, finance?

ESCP: This is a general programme with nine different core courses, electives, and seminars. We have different tracks – the Itinerant one (every three weeks for the core courses during five modules) and the Paris track (three days every month, a total of eight modules).

Kellogg-WHU: The Kellogg-WHU EMBA programme is a general management MBA programme but while our degree does not have a particular specialisation, our global electives and advanced courses allow you to specialise in areas such as finance or marketing, or to specialise in a particular market such as Latin America. Our EMBA programme is 21 months long. It is a modular programme with a module taking place on average every six weeks. We have one intake per year and the starting date is in mid-September. Admissions is on rolling basis, so you are welcome to apply any time starting now for next year's intake.

KEDGE: The KEDGE Global MBA is a general management programme. However, we offer 11 different specialisations: talent management, finance, brand marketing, innovation, entrepreneurship, wine and spirits management, natural resources management, strategic sourcing and value creation, global management, and CSR. These involve 3x3 day modules. Additionally, we offer more than 10 international business seminars (in countries such as India, China, US, Dubai, Russia, Brazil, South Africa) to allow you to internationalise and specialise considerably. KEDGE has rolling admissions.

Q: What is the work experience required for your programmes?

ESCP: Our programme requires a minimum of five years of management experience.

KEDGE: KEDGE begins exploring candidates who are executives. This means we require five years of managerial experience. However, experience can be evaluated in many ways and sometimes management of projects can suffice in lieu of management of people.

Q: Are GMAT and English tests compulsory?

ESCP: GMAT is not required, only TOEFL with a minimum score of 100.

Kellogg-WHU: GMAT is not required if you hold a first higher degree from a recognised Institution (Bachelor's degree or an equivalent).

KEDGE: KEDGE requires proof of your skills in English. However, a test of English may not necessarily be required. We can be exempted from this if you've lived extensively in an English-speaking country or have a degree from an English-speaking institution. We do not require GMAT (but will accept it). KEDGE uses its own placement exam that is diagnostic.

Q: Is it an advantage if I have a GMAT even if it is not required for admission?

KEDGE: KEDGE will accept GMAT. However, our biggest concern will be your professional objectives and background. GMAT measures analytical skills. The key to success on an Executive MBA will, of course, be your academic skills. However, we aim to leverage all of your skills – interpersonal, your capacity to influence as well as confront issues of complexity, etc.

Q: Could you explain what kind of support for relocation I can get after starting the EMBA?

Kellogg-WHU: For the duration of their studies students usually have a student visa. And of course we offer support. Once you've successfully passed the application process and signed your study contract, we can provide an invitation letter.

KEDGE: Financing is always a challenge. KEDGE does personal one-to-one counselling and looks at financing case by case. KEDGE offers EMBA scholarships, but also explores tax exemptions, corporate sponsorship, low interest loans, and other possible merit-based sources. This is, of course, a long and individualised discussion.

Q: What do you offer in terms of career coaching or placement?

ESCP: We offer coaching hours for free during your study and the alumni association can of course help you. ESCP Europe has 45,000 graduates in key positions in more than 150 countries, and 4,000 Executive MBA alumni.

KEDGE: Within an Executive MBA, participants work full-time and study part-time (modular format). Career coaching will focus around your own personal Executive coach. Unlike a full-time MBA, participants do not stop their careers only to complete the MBA and then attempt to jump back into the work force. Consequently, career services are provided through the alumni network, in conjunction with professors and guest lecturers and through developing opportunities with colleagues.

Kellogg-WHU: As part of Kellogg-WHU's Advanced Leadership development module, we offer coaching and career counselling. As a student you become part of both Kellogg’s and WHU’s networks which total almost 60,000 alumni.

Q: How important is networking during the programme?

KEDGE: Like any network, you must invest in people – the right people. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to get your interests heard and can begin to see how others might be able to help you. You will start to gain valuable information about sectors, functions, openings, trends within the business world. The KEDGE Global MBA is constantly putting participants together (during travels, get-togethers, projects) and encouraging open and active communication. There are many opportunities for participants to express their professional aspirations so that they can be heard and understood by the group. We also foster a collegial environment where MBAs, alumni, and faculty work together to open up new avenues, build partnerships, and break new ground.

Q: Is there a way to determine which school would provide the best network for my career?

KEDGE: The best way to figure out the networking issue is to examine your network in terms of companies and sector and in particular, how you want your career to develop. It is easy then for me to give you very clear responses to where our network is the strongest and where contacts can be most easily developed.

Q: What are the differences between a European EMBA and an American EMBA?

ESCP: ESCP Europe has five campuses in Europe – in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid, and Torino. Therefore, the network is very strong and the Itinerant track offers you to share your professional experience with people who have different backgrounds and who have experience from all over the world.

KEDGE: Comparing American MBAs and European MBAs is a very slippery slope – somewhat like comparing apples and oranges. It is very difficult to accurately compare such a broad range of programmes.

Q: Do you require a letter of endorsement from my company?

KEDGE: KEDGE asks for two professional letters of recommendation. The objective is to come to understand what you are like within the professional world and to assess your leadership potential. As it is sometimes tricky to ask your direct manager for such a letter, we can look at recommendations from those with whom you work closely (vendor, manager from a related department, etc.)

ESCP: We don't require a letter of endorsement. Two recommendation letters are mandatory in your application.

Kellogg-WHU: Kellogg-WHU asks for two letters of recommendation. Usually, one is provided from within the organisation and one from outside. There is no letter of support required. However, it is essential that your employer provides the necessary time away from work.

Q: I have more than 10 years of experience, most of which on different managerial positions. Right now I really want to focus on entrepreneurship. What programme would be a good option for me?

KEDGE:KEDGE Global MBA offers a specialisation in Entrepreneurship and it features a business nursery as well as a startup lab with more than EUR 2 million geared to starting up new KEDGE participant-related projects. The programme also strongly emphasises innovation and value creation. We would have much to talk about.

Kellogg-WHU: Kellogg-WHU has a very strong focus on entrepreneurship, including courses, conferences, etc. There are also scholarships available for entrepreneurs.

Q: What is needed to be approved for a scholarship?

ESCP: You need to be admitted in our programme first and then you can apply for our scholarship. Please, have a look in our website.

KEDGE: KEDGE proudly discusses its scholarships. We seek diversity, reconversion, and entrepreneurial qualities. Several scholarships per year are awarded thanks to which selected students receive 50% reduction of fees. These go to students who are highly determined and will, naturally, over time reflect strongly on the values that KEDGE supports – create, care, share.

Q: Do you offer online courses?

KEDGE: KEDGE does not offer online courses. We only use online technology within the EMBA programme to bolster skills and connect participants.

Q: How do your schools teach European business practices to someone coming from a different culture such as Russia? This is really important for my company because we want to expand to Europe.

KEDGE: Faculty comes from all over the world with a majority coming from virtually all European countries. They have travelled and worked extensively on a global level. Thus, information and advice will take into account the socio-legal-business aspects of successfully doing business within Europe. I welcome further discussion and, naturally, this is a conversation that will lead to meeting and speaking with a variety of people. For example, KEDGE takes its EMBAs to Moscow each year and works with some key companies and institutions there.

ESCP: Every year we have participants who come from Russia and I can put you in contact with an alumnus. We also have the ICP (International Consulting Project).

Kellogg-WHU: Teaching at Kellogg-WHU is very practically oriented and case-based. Students in our recent cohort came from 22 different countries, the majority from Europe. Their experiences offer a very valuable insight into European business. If you are interested, we can provide you with an alumni contact in Russia.

Q: Is it possible to do an Executive MBA in Europe when my company is based abroad?

KEDGE: Many of our Executive MBAs are international in scope and work between multiple countries. Paris is a convenient hub for them.

ESCP: People in the Itinerant track come from all over the world. There are 25 different nationalities.

Q: Does the location of the school play a big role?

KEDGE: Location is a question of several factors. Firstly, it’s logistics – is it feasible for you to follow a programme from a distance at regular intervals? Is it financially feasible? Secondly, consider the network advantage. What is the added value as a result of that location with respect to what you and/or your company hope to build. With our programme, there is a unique opportunity to learn and experience the diversity of European business culture.

Kellogg-WHU: In case of Kellogg-WHU, you have to do both: i.e. travel to the international locations where you choose to do your global electives but international peers also come to us in Germany. So, the whole programme is really like an exchange because you get to meet new people and see people you've already met somewhere in the world on our campus in Germany.

Q: I thought that bigger classes (and therefore, more fellow students) would provide more opportunities for networking, both with current students and alumni. Is this the case?

ESCP: We have around 85 participants each year who have been recruited by all of our five campuses. They spend time together during the five seminars and the electives. During the core courses they are split in different, smaller groups because we believe this way steers better discussions with the professor.

Kellogg-WHU: Class size, at least in the case of Kellogg-WHU, is not proportional to the amount of networking you'll do throughout your EMBA journey. Through the Kellogg EMBA Global Network, you are able to do global electives at our partner EMBA programmes and you have the opportunity to meet and network with people from all over the world which increases your networking opportunity exponentially. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to study at Kellogg in the US at the end of the first year of enrolment and there you will meet with over 150 new students.

Q: I have been working for 12 years and would like to do an Executive MBA in a full-time format and take a sabbatical year. Is this possible?

KEDGE: On the KEDGE Global MBA, it is possible to complete the programme within 14 months in an intensive manner.

Kellogg-WHU: In our case, you are required to be employed full-time when joining the EMBA programme. In addition, our programme is modular allowing students to go back to their job in between modules to directly apply what they've learned in class.

ESCP: Yes, this is possible but we do not recommend you to interrupt your career.

Q: Can you name the most famous universities with which you partner? How can one benefit from this partnership?

ESCP: We have partnerships with Cornell University in New York, Insper Institute in Sao Paulo, FVG in Brazil, MDI in New Delhi, IMA Ahmedabad in India, and Shanghai in China.

Kellogg-WHU: We are partnered with HKUST, Schulich School of Business/York University, Tel Aviv University, Peking University, and Kellogg Chicago & Miami campus. At Kellogg-WHU you are able to choose your global electives and study at one of the locations above. In the first year of enrolment, you are also required to do a module at Kellogg Chicago.

Q: I was wondering what I can expect regarding the classes, professors, content? Any information that will help me visualise the learning/networking atmosphere and the knowledge I will gain?

ESCP: Each month ESCP Europe organises Master Classes where you can go and listen to a professor or alumni expert. Please feel free to go and see the dates on our website.

Kellogg-WHU: The best way for you to really get a feel for all this would be to come to one of our upcoming “Sit in a lecture” days. You can check out our events page.

Q: What is the advantage of a joint degree – would that open more opportunities for me?

Kellogg-WHU: A joint MBA degree (meaning the two awarding institutions are on one MBA degree) is a great stamp for you to have on your CV. Through Kellogg School of Management and the WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, you gain access to both global alumni networks. This opens doors for you and gives you an education credential that's recognised worldwide.

Q: What is the most important part of the application for the Executive MBA?

KEDGE: The essay question expressing clearly what you hope to achieve professionally through the Executive MBA. Naturally, this question includes the nature of what drives you toward change and professional development. Spend time pondering this issue as it is this which, in turn, will change your life for the better in the long run.

ESCP: Essays are very important, the recommendation letters too. The candidates have to show their motivation during the Selection Interview – this is the most important part!

Kellogg-WHU: At Kellogg-WHU we put strong emphasis on our on-campus Interview Days. You can find further information here. Our Interview Days are conducted by our alumni, senior staff, and faculty members. They are often coupled with our “Sit in a real EMBA lecture” events. Both events provide a great opportunity to discover what Kellogg-WHU is really about. The interview days also give us the opportunity to learn more about you and get to know you better.

Make use of the rest of our learning tools such as articles, interviews, and videos prepared specifically to help you in choosing your academic path.

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