Do you see what others cannot?

Future managers have to adopt a different ­pattern of behaviour to learn new skills. The dean of ESC Rennes in France tells you how

education Updated: Mar 19, 2014 10:59 IST
HT Education Correspondent

Business schools today should train their students to prepare for the future by seeing what others cannot. “Recent developments, notably the financial crisis, have clearly demonstrated the need for managers to adopt a different pattern of behaviour and to learn new skills,” says Dr Olivier Aptel, dean-general director, ESC Rennes (ESCR), in Rennes, Brittany, France.

Most B-schools have their tasks cut out. Today, managers face the challenges of increasingly intense international competition and that’s why ESC Rennes aims to push the envelope and teach students to foster innovation and new technologies, he says.

Managers of the future, says Dr Michel Delorme, vice-dean for knowledge development, have to focus on five key issues.

* Act globally: future managers should be prepared to face global issues in their decisions and also to manage firms with presence in different countries
* Ethical behaviour is important too: future managers should be prepared to have an ethical code of conduct and adopt ethical principles when they make decisions
* Entrepreneurial mindsets have to be forged: future managers should think like entrepreneurs even if they don’t start their own business
* B-schools should develop the capacity of innovation; creativity and innovation are necessary skills for the world of today and tomorrow. No firm should rely exclusively on its actual success. It needs to innovate constantly.
* Increase communication skills

Where going global is concerned, ESC Rennes is one of the most ‘international’ schools in Europe. Courses are taught by professors and lecturers coming from all around the world (30 different countries, 85% of the faculty is non-French) and
35 % of the students are international (representing 70 different nationalities). Students have to go abroad as exchange students or for their internship.

As far as ethics go, the content of all courses (finances, HR, marketing, etc.) integrates ethical principles and attempts to answer questions like: How to make ethical decisions in finances or HR? The school also offers programmes in responsible business and organises specific events on the topic. To forge an entrepreneurial mindset, regular courses on entrepreneurship are part of most of the programmes’ curriculum. Apart from doing a master’s programme in entrepreneurship the students have to manage small companies or firms in real life situations. They have to also develop ideas for new products and services using the InnoCapt (Capture of Innovation) concept when they go abroad. On their return they have to see how these ideas can be applied for products in their countries or in places they have travelled. To improve their communication skills, students are encouraged to learn languages other than their own to prepare for doing business internationally.

The students learn to operate in an international arena as ESCR has a number of tie-ups with B-schools in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Korea and Denmark. Agreements have been inked, in India, with IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IMT Ghaziabad and Nagpur and IIFT Delhi, among others, says Dr Aptel. There are about 68 Indian students who are enrolled in the master’s programmes of supply chain and logistics management, global business management, international luxury and brand management and international human resource management, he says. All the students in the master’s courses attend three 15-hour career development courses over three semesters. This helps them define and hone their career plans. In the second semester they choose two specialisation subjects and in their final year, they may choose from a variety of management disciplines (HR, digital marketing, supply chain, finance and management control).

“The Master’s aims at giving them the knowledge, skills and techniques necessary to hit the ground running when they enter active professional life. Students complete three internships during their studies: 10 weeks between the first and second year and a minimum of 16 weeks after the end of their second year,” says Laurence Lambert, vice-dean for Education.

Admission basics
When do admissions start for each programme? All over the year: from September (intake in January) to July (intake in September)
Qualifications required to join each programme? International Master programmes: Bachelor or equivalent; IELTS minimum 6.5 or native language
PhD programme: Master degree or equivalent in Business studies or ­related topics; IELTS minimum 7.0
Contact numbers of admissions offices: +33299334840; ­

First Published: Mar 19, 2014 10:53 IST