Business School : Introduction

Business School : what is it?

An Business School, is a private educational institution that offers programs in business and management. These programs can be at the undergraduate level (Bachelor’s degree), typically after high school, or at the graduate level (Grande Ecole), which includes programs from bachelor’s to master’s level (BAC+3/4 to BAC+5). For example, I joined Skema Business School at the BAC+3 level (equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree) and continued until the Master 2 level (BAC+5). Each academic year is divided into two semesters, validated by 30 ECTS credits each.

Each business school has its own specificities and areas of specialization. However, there are common areas of study found in most business schools, including:

  • Purchasing
  • Auditing
  • Banking
  • Business Development
  • Sales
  • Communication
  • Consulting
  • Management Control
  • Culture
  • Design
  • Sustainable Development
  • Law
  • E-learning
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Events
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Innovation
  • International Business
  • Internet
  • Logistics
  • Luxury
  • Marketing
  • Fashion
  • Human Resources
  • CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)
  • Health
  • Social Business
  • Sports
  • Strategy
  • Information Systems
  • Tourism
  • Transportation
  • Wine

In my school, there are several specializations available, including:

  • Seven in Marketing: Digital Marketing (my specialization), Global Luxury Management, Luxury Hospitality and Innovation, Strategic Event Management & Tourism Management, and more.
  • Six in Management: Business Consulting & Information Systems Management, International Human Resources Management & Performance Management, Supply Chain Management & Purchasing, and more.
  • Seven in Business & Strategy: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Digital Business, International Strategy & Influence, and more.
  • Three in Finance: Corporate Financial Management, Financial Markets & Investments, Auditing, Management Accounting & Information Systems.

It is also possible to pursue specialized Master’s programs in partnership with other institutions, such as Institutes of Political Studies. Business school programs can be offered as full-time programs, part-time programs, or in an apprenticeship format. They can generally be entered after completing high school (BAC), after a second or third year of a bachelor’s degree, or even during one’s professional career. However, unlike universities, it is not possible to pursue these programs through distance or correspondence learning.

Business schools have various statuses and recognitions, so it is important to research and gather information about a specific school before enrolling. For example, in my case, Skema Business School is a non-profit association, triple-accredited (EQUIS, AACSB, AMBA), and its degree is recognized by the French government.

Business School, what are the possible study formats?

Business school programs can be offered as full-time programs, part-time programs, or in an apprenticeship format. They can generally be entered after completing high school (BAC), after a second or third year of a bachelor’s degree, or even during one’s professional career. However, unlike universities, it is not possible to pursue these programs through distance or correspondence learning.

Business School, where are the institutions located in France?

There are more than 150 business schools in France, spread across different regions and cities. Some schools may have multiple campuses. For example, Skema Business School has campuses in Lille, Paris, and Sophia-Antipolis within France, and three other campuses internationally. The major business schools often have campuses in the Paris region, Lille, and Lyon.

Business School: How does the education process work?

– Business school, registration and admission ?

To join a business school in a Grande Ecole program (bachelor’s to master’s level, lasting from three to five years), you need to have completed the second year of a bachelor’s degree, typically through a preparatory class, BTS (Advanced Technician’s Certificate), or IUT (University Institute of Technology). Therefore, it is not possible to enroll through ParcourSup for this program. For admission to a post-baccalaureate business school, you will also need to go through a separate admission process, including submitting application documents and taking entrance exams, which are not part of ParcourSup.

The selection is based on your language proficiency, academic performance in your previous studies, and your ability to express yourself orally. After the written entrance exams, you will have to undergo oral interviews to finalize your acceptance.

These entrance exams typically take place between April and July. The written exams begin in April for preparatory classes, and the oral interviews can extend from May to July.

Business School: What programs are offered?

The first two years of the Grande Ecole program are general in nature. You will study project management, marketing, accounting, taxation, law, and other foundational subjects. The aim is to acquire a solid understanding of these subjects as fundamentals. Afterwards, you will need to choose a specialization, which can be done in the first year (M1) for some programs or in the second year (M2) for the majority of cases. It is also possible to pursue double degrees with political science institutes (IEP), engineering schools in China, or in subjects such as business law (Skema offers a double degree in Business Law).

The study schedule can be organized according to the pace and preferences of each student. Numerous pathway options are available, allowing students to tailor their journey as they wish. For example, you can choose to take a gap year and decide when in your academic path you take it. Additionally, you are required to spend at least one year studying abroad, but you can distribute the semesters as you see fit. Regarding classes, it is important to strike a balance between extracurricular activities and academics, but achieving this balance is not difficult. Much of the coursework consists of group work. In the early years, some classes are conducted in lecture halls, while later on, there are more tutorials than lectures.

Following the classes, it’s time for evaluations. Again, it depends on the professor, the course, and the year. Generally, some grades are based on continuous assessment, while others are determined through end-of-semester exams and presentations of group projects.

Business School: Is it suitable for me?

Today, most business school students (except perhaps those from the top 5 schools) have completed a two-year technical degree or a bachelor’s degree before entering the school in their third year. Additionally, there are students who have completed the equivalent of a second-year level after completing a preparatory class. However, it is interesting to note that you can encounter individuals with very diverse backgrounds. Some students have switched fields before joining the business school, while others have extraordinary experiences or extremely enriching passions that they share through student associations.

This diversity of profiles may be less prevalent when considering students from the same (very) affluent social background. However, students facing greater financial difficulties are also represented, thanks to scholarships awarded by the schools to help finance their year of study, internships, and stays abroad.

Overall, it is a highly enriching experience. Most students come with the desire to meet new people, travel, start their own businesses, and more. This diversity is even more pronounced when the school has multiple campuses internationally, providing opportunities to meet people from different backgrounds.

Business School: What to do next?

Business School: What is the average salary after graduation?

The salary of a graduate will vary depending on the company they work for and the employment contract they have. Many students, including myself, end their studies with an internship. For example, I will be doing my final internship in a large international company. It is reasonable to expect a stipend ranging from €1,000 to €1,200 gross. However, a student starting in a startup may not expect the same benefits.

The city in which you are located will also play a role in salary expectations. Therefore, the salary depends on various factors, but on average, the salaries of young graduates range from €30,000 to €35,000 per year (1), depending on the industry. A finance student will not earn the same as a product manager.

Some individuals may also choose to work abroad. It is highly likely to find internships abroad, but they may not offer any compensation. An interesting option offered by French companies is the International Volunteering in Enterprise (VIE) program: you work for a French company abroad with the status and benefits of a French employee!

Business School: What are the career prospects and job opportunities after graduation?

Several careers and positions are available for students graduating from a business school:

  • Sales and marketing roles such as Product Manager, Sales Director, or Business Developer.
  • Finance careers such as Accountant, Management Controller, or Financial Expert.
  • Management roles such as Project Manager or Network Administrator.
  • The digital sector, with jobs like Web Marketing Project Manager or roles related to SEO/SEA, e-commerce, etc.
  • Startups! Many new companies have emerged recently, offering interesting positions in these often young and dynamic structures.

Business School: What higher education options are available after graduation?

After completing our Grande Ecole degree, the vast majority of students start working, either through internships, temporary contracts, permanent contracts, or even abroad.

For those who wish to further their studies or specialize further, it is possible to pursue a PhD or enroll in an MBA program, for example, to enhance their skills in a specific area. It’s up to each individual to decide their career path, knowing that a specialized master’s degree or an MBA is entirely accessible after starting to work.