Behind every emlyon business school training program lies a carefully considered student recruitment strategy designed to enrich the entering cohort and the learning experience that awaits. For an MSc so geared towards strategic thinking, the school’s MSc in Strategy & Consulting is an especially apt example. Associate Professor Guillaume Carton, current student Thibaut Parère, and alumna Laura Bailet share their views on a program that embraces difference and is underpinned by clear pedagogical objectives.
What differentiates the student profile you are targeting from other similar MScs on the market?
Dr. Guillaume Carton: “We are actively seeking to attract students who come from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible. The beauty of having chemists, engineers, political scientists, lawyers etc. within the same class is the dual skill set that they will obtain over the course of the MSc and then be able to offer to potential recruiters upon graduation. The blend of technical and strategic knowledge that they will acquire, coupled with their initial educational background, means that they will have a hybrid set of competences that will accelerate their move up within a company”.
If the student profiles are so varied, how do you get them to dovetail once admitted on the program?
Dr. Guillaume Carton: “Whilst we want diversity within the cohort, we do everything to ensure all students can follow the various classes from day one. An e-summer school focusing on strategy guarantees that everyone will begin the academic year on the same level. Let’s also not forget that the whole cohort is taking certain courses for the first time, so they are very much learning the tools of the consulting and strategy trade together. We have also intentionally designed the MSc to increase in tempo, from the fundamentals in the first term to the nitty gritty of project management and strategy in the second and then on to international and professional experiences at the end. From very different backgrounds, all the students go through this same journey”.
How did you transition from your previous studies to the MSc in Strategy & Consulting and with what objectives?
Laura Bailet: “I was specialized in healthcare law and wanted to work in an international consulting firm on projects with healthcare and life science organizations. Therefore, this MSc fitted perfectly and helped bridge the gap between my job expectations and my capabilities”.
Thibaut Parère: “I wanted to have dual competency in Engineering and Management to improve my comprehension and analytical skills, as well as the ability to present, sell and organize my future work in consulting. Without the MSc I think it would have taken me longer to have all these qualities”.
Diversity is one of the cornerstones of the program. What examples of this did you see in your time?
Laura Bailet: “While some students had a background in business, others were engineers. Many came from Europe, some from Africa, Asia, and a few students from the US. Our previous studies meant we did not all begin with the same business knowledge but 2-3 months later the necessary catching-up was done and we were all able to take an equal part in classes, regardless of our background”.
Thibaut Parère: “Being able to meet new cultures from America, Asia and Africa was a real plus and to be able to exchange on various subjects. I found it very stimulating. What’s more, each student had his or her qualities and strengths. For example, some were very good in Finance while others were discovering the basics. This cosmopolitan dimension and the range of educational backgrounds enriched the course even further”.
Beyond diversity, what were the other strengths of the program?
Laura Bailet: “For me it had to be the opportunity of taking part in internships for a few months. My two experiences as an external consultant were very fulfilling and proved very valuable when looking for an end-of-studies internship and then a permanent position”.
Thibaut Parère: “The quality of the teachers and the different culture of each student. Working with engineers, people from business schools and universities is a real bonus, both personally and academically speaking”.
What kind of opportunities do you see for future graduates of the program?
Dr. Guillaume Carton: “Consulting firms will be crying out for graduates of our MSc due to the firm emphasis within the curriculum on strategy and strategizing. Program components such as the Field Missions and the seamless blending of theory and practice will hone skills within our students that will enable them to hit the ground running in companies in areas such as complex project management. The MSc takes a natural course from the basics through to the more intricate area of strategy and then on to international exposure, precisely to boost recruitment opportunities upon graduation”.