For several years now the late 19th century building has been home to the German branch of the ESCP-EAP – a European business school offering courses in international management organized on a transnational scale: in Paris, London, Madrid, Turin and of course in Berlin. The private school was originally created by the fusion of two French business schools on the initiative of its patron the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
From the very outset Céline Starck was determined to pursue business studies at the ESCP-EAP. Following phases in Paris and London the young 23-year-old Frenchwoman is now spending her final year in Berlin. This means she has come full circle: “I spent part of my childhood in Berlin, and I graduated from school here. I definitely wanted to return here to study.” The European Master in Management (EMIM), which she is due to complete this year, takes students to three countries with three sets of qualifications. It’s an ideal study program for young Europeans who can choose from a variety of country combinations depending on their language skills. These are essential, since the courses are held in the language of the respective campus location.
But, although German is the official college language in Berlin, the international participants from over 20 nations know that if they’re lost for words, they can happily carry on talking in English, French or Spanish. In addition to the EMIM it offers the Master in European Business as a one-year postgraduate course and two MBA program, the European Executive MBA for high-level managers and the Central European MBA for East European and German students. It is organized together with partner universities in Bratislava, Prague, Budapest, Tartu, Poznan and Kiev. The idea of the European campus also embraces the teaching content. The dean in Berlin, Herwig Haase, stresses how important it is that the students acquire knowledge not only of the standard American theories but also of European management science. In concrete terms this means knowing what the social market economy means in Germany and to what extent cultural differences can manifest themselves in tax legislation.
Berlin has another main area of emphasis: research. Within the ESCP-EAP network the German branch is the only institution offering three-year postgraduate grants leading to a doctorate in International Business Studies. Nils Horch is working in the field of controlling on a thesis about international production networks. He channels his research results straight into teaching: two of his lectures are directly connected with the subject of his thesis. Students can become involved in his research as well: a French fellow student is preparing a seminar paper on networks in French companies. Although the 28-year-old postgraduate could often work from home, he nevertheless travels across the city every day to Charlottenburg. “The conditions are excellent, partly because of the technical facilities. There’s a good library and access to a lot of databases,” he says. The PhD student values the close contact with professors and the international perspective. For instance, a workshop discussion with French and English participants focused on the differences in scientific publications of the various countries. And in contrast to American business schools, it has been possible to productively integrate other research methods, such as video experiments and qualitative interviews, at the European management school.
Study at the school in Berlin prepares participants for a variety of sectors and business areas, and it’s a good address for anyone proposing to enter the German job market. Contacts are created with companies at recruiting events. In Munich François Morin is also looking for a job with a management consultancy company in Germany after he leaves ESAP-EAP. In Berlin he has written his diploma thesis in French, while Céline Starck is currently writing hers in English under the supervision of a professor in London. As soon as she finishes she will leave for an internship with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. All of this is possible at this management school with its European perspective.
What’s more: international students see Berlin as something like a European New York, not just because of all the clubs and restaurants, and the excellent public transport facilities. François Morin is convinced that the city is a “dream place for studying”. Not only because there are so many things to do. It’s cheap to live here too – an apartment and food cost far less than in the other European business school locations. Melanie Stoll, who has already graduated and will soon start work in France, is a Berlin fan too. As a native of France and a culture fan, she loved getting tickets to ballet and opera performances at the student rate. She went to the Staatsoper and the Deutsche Oper at least 15 times and could now even imagine working in cultural management at some stage in her career. Summing up she says: “My year in Berlin was the best in my whole ESCP-EAP experience.”
The European School of Management (ESCP-EAP) lies like a lush biotope in the greenery of western Berlin, immediately next to Charlottenburg Palace grounds. Flanked by ancient trees the impressive building with its inner courtyards and carefully tended lawns invokes images of pleasant campus celebrations, even though summer seems far away in the cool Berlin spring.
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