Studying at ESCP offers a unique experience. Alongside the demands of the degree courses, all of which feature extensive practical projects (such as integrated internships, consultancy projects and networking with experts), students are encouraged to take a step further and enhance their Master experience through participating in one or more of the many societies and events on offer across ESCP’s six campuses.
Building on its entrepreneurial roots and mindset, the School is a hive of constant activity where people of varied backgrounds come together in their spare time to pursue their interests, swap knowledge and expertise, and support one another. This makes it an ideal place for anyone ready to both work hard and play hard to get to their dream career. After all, ESCP is much more than just getting a degree. In this article we interview three Master students who chose to play hard and juggle an intensive extracurricular schedule alongside their studies to help them pave the way to their dream careers.
Combining coursework with extracurricular activities
Maxime Hubert, in his second year of the Master in Management, is also heavily involved in the student society scene: he’s vice president of the sponsorship and events division of the Finance Society and president of the TED Talk Society at ESCP London campus.
“The ESCP Finance society offers a point of support for me because my current Master specialisation is in investment banking. It’s another way for me to keep up to date with the financial sector and understand some real issues. The society also organises events where we look at the requirements of professional positions and the challenges you can face with employers, so I know what to expect when I graduate.”
Making the connection between study and work was also a motivation for Amalia Bogdan, an MSc in Digital Transformation Management & Leadership student, in becoming president of the BizTech Society:
“We are currently working with a startup from Portugal which is launching in January, and are involved in their marketing strategies. We can help the company because what they want is very close to our studies, and the society members are very interested and motivated. It’s our main focus now as the launch date is very soon, and it’s taking up all our time.”
The demands of her course and society work mean that Amalia has a packed schedule, but she is quick to point out that time management and effective teamwork are skills that the BizTech Society is helping to develop.
“We have people from different Master and Bachelor courses, so we all have different schedules. This means that we can complement each other according to the needs of our courses. At the moment it’s very balanced, with equal numbers from across the programmes, which makes it very easy to spread out the tasks and take on work from others when they can’t.”
Teamwork is the key
‘I try to be organised, and having a structure and a plan is very important to me, but it’s also about learning how to work as a team, which means supporting one another. I am the kind of person who thinks that you always find the time to do something. But the variety of people in the BizTech Society means that I can always get help if I am overwhelmed.’
Natalia Alonso, an MSc in Energy Management student and the recently elected president of the Energy Society, has similar feelings:
‘Managing a team is a new experience for me. I oversee everyone’s activity as well as my own, and I have to have clear communication with the board and the ESCP management. I’m still figuring out how to manage the workload, but I’m enjoying it, and we’re talking to the kind of companies that I’d like to work for.’
Natalia’s idea is for the society to bring students together with industry experts, so that they can meet new people and get a better idea of the industry as a whole to see where they might be able to find future employment opportunities
‘There are so many sectors in energy, so one thing we are doing is connecting students with different experts through monthly webinars. Our last one was on COP26 outcomes, and future events will focus on sustainability, electric vehicles, hydrogen and energy efficiency.
‘We are also in collaboration with UCL, Imperial and LSE on an Energy Journal, which has been a great way to expand our network. Four members of the society are contributing articles and two are acting as editors.’
Also planned for early 2022 are a site visit to a solar plant to look at its business approach and technical operation, and a networking event with ESCP alumni so students can get some advice about their forthcoming working life after graduation.
Learning about team management
Like Natalia, Maxime is also learning about team management and interaction as president of the ESCP TEDx London society.
‘In London, we organise one event each year under the TEDx name, with eight speakers. Our next event is taking place on International Women’s Day in March 2022 and is on Adversity and Hope. It’s a big challenge, because we don’t have a lot of prior experience and we have to rely on each other. I am learning how to regulate my behaviour for the team as well as get the best out of others. I am working with motivated people from many different backgrounds. The energy effervescing from them is very exciting to see.’
All three talk about how their involvement in societies and events, while asking a lot of them, is valuable because it offers different ways to talk to experts in their fields and learn transferable skills complementing their degree courses.
Sharing passions, creating friendships
‘It really helps you appreciate the moment you’re in,’ says Maxime. ‘Managing a project allows you to take responsibility and learn about working life. Even though there are stressful times, you are working with others who want the same thing. You make good friends.’
The blend of socialisation and work is important for Amalia too, particularly in the culturally and professionally diverse setting that ESCP offers:
‘You learn a lot from your peers because we come from very different backgrounds, and it’s always very interesting to discuss things and see where everyone stands. We come together because we’re interested and passionate about the same things, even though we study different subjects.’
‘I think that now I have a better definition of where I want to go,’ says Natalia. ‘Running the society and public speaking as president have helped me feel 100% more confident than I did a few months ago.’
On the six ESCP campuses across Europe, students like Amalia, Natalia and Maxime can get involved in over 80 societies to grow their practical skills through exposure to experts and management projects, informing and supporting one another. This student-centred approach of ESCP provides a vital, confidence-building and professional opportunity for students to fully immerse themselves in the world of international business through a vast range of activities.
Taking part in student societies can take a lot of time and energy, especially when it comes to professional societies. But students at ESCP Business School prove that the rewards can well be worth the effort: sharing your passion and achieving a goal with your fellow members, while at the same time developing your leadership and organisational skills and expanding your professional network. These are all essential building blocks of your future career and a welcome complement to the learning journey.