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The Tech Program That Takes Globetrotting Students To 3 Top B-Schools On 3 Continents

·12 min read

2022 graduates of the Edhec Business School Global Economic Transformation and Technology master’s in management program gathered for a closing ceremony on the campus of UC-Berkeley in May, where EDHEC Dean Emmanuel Métais spoke to them about their future. Courtesy photo

The Covid-19 pandemic may have abridged big portions of his degree experience, but Hugo Charré will always consider EDHEC Business School’s Global Economic Transformation and Technology program one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

Charré recently graduated from the GETT program, a master’s in management that over three years took him from his native France to Seoul, South Korea and on to Berkeley, California to study how innovations in technology are driving the transformation of global business. At Berkeley in May, he and 39 classmates attended a ceremony that concluded a long and difficult but rewarding journey.

“I found it really interesting because it was something that was kind of a mix between everything I liked,” Charré says of GETT, which he joined in fall 2018. “So on the one hand, it was about seeing different cultures, traveling, being able to study in different countries, and that was something that I thought was really cool. The fact that you could go to Asia, which is probably lesser known as a destination for studies for French people — going to Korea in my mind was kind of exotic.

“And the other thing was that the program was focused on innovation and that was also something I really found interesting because it corresponds to my background. I have a passion for tech, I learned how to code when I was young. And so the mix of everything really resonated with me.”

GETT GRADS FINALLY GRADUATE

Ludovic Cailluet

Innovation is the key descriptor for the GETT program, which was launched in 2017 with an initial cohort of 42 students. That group, like each group of GETT students since, studied on three global campuses: EDHEC’s Paris campus, then at the Sungkyunkwan Graduate School of Business in Seoul, followed by two semesters at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in the United States. The wide range of locations, experiences, faculty, and curricula — and the program’s unique design that includes a year of work sandwiched between periods of study — help students acquire the skills desired by companies in a world increasingly attuned to the needs of sustainable development and answering the challenges of disruptive change amid rapid informational and technological advances, says Ludovic Cailluet, associate dean of EDHEC’s Centre for Responsible Entrepreneurship and director of the GETT program.

“We have to work with three different partners on three continents, different time zones, different learning traditions,” Cailluet tells Poets&Quants in a recent interview. “The administration is different. So it’s a nice joint venture. It requires a lot of goodwill and flexibility to make it work on a daily basis.”

The latter point was especially true amid Covid-19, he says. The pandemic wreaked havoc on schedules and canceled events across the last two-plus years — making the ceremony in Berkeley extra special.

“That was very special for me,” Cailluet says. “This program was launched in 2017. And because it’s a master in management that lasts for three years, there are two years of study and in between there’s a gap year where they work in companies to get some experience. So the duration of the program is three years, and we were unable to celebrate with the first class and the second class of the program because of the Covid. So both years we had to cancel, in the last minute, the celebration.

“We actually did celebrate in France, on our campus in March. But there was nothing we could do with our friends and colleagues at UC-Berkeley. So that was a very special moment to be able to get together, celebrate, and also mention all the hard work that was done with the partnership with UC-Berkeley people and with the students and some family members that were present. So very moving in a way, a very warm moment.”

DEVELOPING DEEP & LASTING RELATIONSHIPS

GETT offers “direct access to the cities, communities, and concepts transforming the world of business,” the school boasts, and graduates of the program go on to careers in consulting, business development, and innovation management, among other lucrative (and enriching) occupations, each armed with a pair of master in management degrees from EDHEC and SKK and a diploma from Berkeley Haas’ Global Access Program.

GETT cohorts are on the younger side, with the latest reporting an average age of 22 and an age range of 21-24. It was 48% women and 52% men, with eight languages spoken; most — 66% — came from a business/management background, with the rest, like Hugo Charré, from engineering.

It’s a small group of students, with 50 or fewer in each class, Cailluet says. That inevitably means the development of strong personal connections.

Covid-19 only made those connections deeper.

“It’s a little bit like a small business,” Cailluet says. “I’m not the owner, but I’m the principal or the general manager. So I was very happy to be able to tell them at UC-Berkeley that I was very proud of them in front of their parents for some, and also to tell my colleagues to congratulate them because we had been through Covid. And that was not an easy journey. We had to learn a lot. We had to adapt a lot. And that has created bonds with that team of people.”

‘AN INNOVATION MINDSET’ INFUSED INTO THE PROGRAM

Hugo Charré

Hugo Charré, a French native from Saint-Cloud in the Paris metro area whose background is in software engineering, was thrilled to go to Korea as part of his GETT experience. Unfortunately he arrived there in January 2020, and had to leave when Covid exploded across the globe two months later.

Covid might have dampened the overall experience for some. It had a different effect on Charré.

“One thing that I learned in this program is that you should seize every opportunity,” he tells P&Q. “That’s something that I might not have been conditioned to because in the French educational system, you’re very used to being told what to do. There’s little room for creativity sometimes — everybody has a very predetermined trajectory. And I think that the fact that this program is so large in breadth and also very ambitious makes it very useful for people because you can basically do whatever you want, as long as you put in the effort to network with people to find opportunities to go beyond your comfort zone.”

The program pushed him out of his comfort zone, and made him unafraid to venture into unknown territory — “whether it’s physical, because we’re actually traveling, or whether it’s psychological, because you’re working maybe in fields you’ve never worked before, or you’re doing things that you might not have thought were possible before, basically extending your horizons.”

Now, after a brief visit to France, the newly credentialed Charré will return to California this summer to start a new job in the tech industry.

“GETT was really a really good experience because every single course had that kind of innovation mindset infused into it. So whether it was financial accounting or strategy courses or marketing, every single course had that kind of tech, innovation aspect to it,” he says. “It’s especially focused on this kind of halfway deal where you’re basically technical and business minded at the same time. And that will be an amazing asset to me in my career.”

See the next page for another recent graduate’s impressions of the GETT program

Emmanuel Métais, dean of EDHEC Business School, speaks to graduates of the GETT program on the UC-Berkeley campus in May. Courtesy photo

Dorine Ré is originally from the Lyon region in central France, where she pursued her studies until the end of high school. Seeking to work in the tourism industry, but hoping to keep her options open at the same time, she looked to join a top business school by entering an economic and scientific classe prépa, which is two or three years of intensive study to prepare for competitive B-school exams. This led Ré to EDHEC, where she studied as an undergrad for one year, later joining the GETT program for her master’s specialization.

Dorine Ré: “From the first classes in Paris that were very different from the ones I attended the year before in Lille and way more focused on technology, to probably the moment we landed in South Korea and discovered a new studying culture, I realised that I made a good choice”

When Ré joined the GETT program in 2018, it was still quite new, “so the acceptance rate was quite unclear and a third of the 50 or so spots available were held for non-EDHEC students,” she tells P&Q. “During my years in ‘prépa’, I looked a lot and in depth at all the different programs offered by the top business schools, and the GETT program was obviously extremely appealing.”

For one thing, GETT was focused on new technologies, “which was a big interest of mine since I took several years of engineering classes in high school,” Ré says. In GETT, “you have the opportunity to discover three big innovation hubs as well as their environments and cultures: Paris, Seoul and the Bay Area, which were all places that looked amazing to live in. The international experience as a student is a huge chance and having everything planned out within the program helps a lot enjoying it even more.”

Finally, even as GETT students take classes in different schools, they are not considered “exchange” students, Ré says. “It is a real partnership,” she says.

“The idea that I had for my career when entering EDHEC was to continue learning as much general knowledge as possible, to one day be able to join my three big passions: the environment, technology, and tourism,” Ré says. “And I was sure that the GETT program would help me figure that out, since it also carries a significant sustainability perspective, and the one-year professional experience gap would have helped me gain more experience on the tourism industry.”

‘I HAVE LEARNED TO NOT BE AFRAID OF NOT KNOWING SOMETHING’

From the first classes in Paris, which were much more more focused on technology, than those she had taken as an undergrad on EDHEC’s Lille campus, to the moment she landed with her classmates in South Korea and discovered a new studying culture, Ré knew she had made the right choice. Even after Covid struck and shortened her class’s time in Asia, “we all kept thinking these last three years was that we were all extremely lucky and proud of our position as EDHEC students and specifically GETT students. I feel grateful for everything and everyone that helped me experience and enjoy it so much!”

Her main takeaway: She now feels much more confident about tackling new challenges.

“I think the program, because of its diversity of topics, high expectations, and really concrete exercises, really pushes us to try things and to be curious,” Ré says. “Thanks to that, I have learned to not be afraid of not knowing something. Overall, it has helped me feel a lot less pressure and more confident in my work and in my personal life.

“I learned so many things that I wouldn’t have had the curiosity to on my own. As future active workers, we should always continue to look for new learnings, and I definitely will!”

GETT APPLICANTS: BE OPEN-MINDED & ADVENTUROUS

Applications for the next GETT cohort are open through June 2022. The class will once again be about 50 seats, says Ludovic Cailluet, though interest has grown every year and EDHEC could easily expand its size.

The ideal applicant, he says, is someone who is not afraid of taking on challenges. “Because being in three countries in three years with three different learning traditions is a bit of a challenge,” he says. “So I want people who are open-minded, a little bit adventurous, and who like to discover things.”

They also need to have academic bona fides. “I need people who are good students in an academic sense because the institutions they will be learning at are demanding institutions,” Cailluet says. “The level is quite demanding. It’s accessible, but you need to work.”

Typically about a quarter of GETT students got into finance, he says, not unusual for a European graduate program. Another quarter go to tech companies: Google, PayPal, Amazon, as well as startups. A third batch finds work in consulting, particularly technology and cybersecurity strategy consulting.

“And the last quarter is your typical jobs of business school graduates: project managers, marketing people in charge of a product or segment or range of product, jobs that a generalist would get out of a business degree,” Cailluet says. “Quite a large minority have landed jobs in the U.S. because they wanted to stay there, and others have found jobs elsewhere in other countries, not only in France or in Europe.”

A GREAT MIX

The wide range of outcomes is a reflection of the diverse backgrounds and interests coming into the program, he says.

“That’s a great thing with the program because I would say 60% of them will come from an economics, marketing, finance background, and then the rest come from political science, engineering, or other type of STEM or science based background. So they don’t learn the same way. If you come from an engineering school and if you come from a business school, you don’t look at problems the same way, and that creates an incredible conversation in a classroom.

“They have a lot of teamwork and it really creates something that is very interesting because the cabling is not done the same way in their brains, but they very quickly adapt and they are very complementary in their work. I believe that’s very, very useful for future jobs.”

Learn more about EDHEC’s Global Economic Transformation and Technology program here.

DON’T MISS STRATEGIC PLAN FOR A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS SCHOOL and FRENCH SCHOOLS DOMINATE NEW FINANCIAL TIMES RANKING

The post The Tech Program That Takes Globetrotting Students To 3 Top B-Schools On 3 Continents appeared first on Poets&Quants.