Finding out overseas: the challenges of Enterprise Faculties for worldwide exchanges

Is Europe returning to favoring international trade after the crisis?

After two years of the global health crisis, students are indeed choosing more destinations in Europe. Distance is not necessarily the criterion they look at, but more the ability of countries to cooperate easily in terms of free movement (visa or not), health policy in place or the academic methods chosen (face-to-face, online or hybrid). At EDHEC, we manage this mobility crisis on a case-by-case basis, depending on a multitude of constraints linked to countries and partners. This year, we managed to fill about 75% of the 1,000 vacancies (in Masters and BBA) available for exchange or double degree. Australia, New Zealand and some other countries have remained completely closed to exchange students for almost 2 years! The transfer to destinations in Europe was mechanical.

Do students now also want to limit their footprint/impact?

Yes, in general there is a strong awareness of a large number of students about their carbon footprint during their studies (day trips to campuses, uses, exchanges or internships abroad, associative activities, etc.) are increasingly used by students. However, international experience is a mandatory dimension for obtaining the diploma because it is central to EDHEC’s educational project. Our young talents always have to face otherness, the complexity of the world and cultural differences! Experiencing the minority fact in a class, a classroom or in everyday life is essential. It is about your personal construction, your maturity and also why companies are looking for profiles with these skills and these “soft skills” or general skills. In this debate and in these contradictory injunctions between mobility and carbon impact, I believe that we must distinguish the period of training necessary for our young people (a stay of 6 months or a year in a foreign country) from that of the sometimes excessive travel by plane, car or other within certain activities of our economic life.

With Metaverse, is it possible to strengthen the international, while remaining in the territory?

Indeed, there are ongoing initiatives in terms of “international at home”. They are in their infancy at the moment. O COILS (Collaborative Online International Learnings) exist and allow on online platforms to form small working groups of students from all over the world. This is a very interesting method, especially for building international teams and working on cross-cultural issues around a business case, for example. In the Metaverse, I note that we are still a long way from a qualitative experience from an experiential, intercultural and educational point of view, but everything is happening very quickly now! We stand by.

Interview by Gilbert Azoulay

Interview as part of our Grandes Ecoles de Commerce 2022 special file

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