Double Degree Abroad: Marine and Romain tell their stories
Published on 03/27/2019
Published on 03/27/2019
They applied and were selected. One in Japan, the other in the United States: two students from NEOMA Business School share with us the rich and engaging experience of an international double degree.
“Be ready to integrate into a different culture so you have a great experience.”
Marine already had Japan in her sights for a long time. “I started to learn Japanese at secondary school,” she explained. “I had to stop my two years of preparatory classes because I didn’t have enough time, but I picked it up again.”
When enrolling in NEOMA BS, she was already focused on this one-year double degree in Nagoya, a city 400 km west of Tokyo. “In addition to being a great professional asset, it’s the only programme that let me go abroad for an entire year.” In August, just after getting her Master 1 in Supply Chain and Purchasing, Marine packed her bags for Nagoya. In this city, “which is not the most touristic in the country, but is still the same size as Paris,” she quickly got her bearings.
At the university, everything was in English. The teaching approach was somewhat different. “All the courses are based on case studies,” Marine said. “Straight theory is rare. There are a lot of discussions and talking.”
Her masters programme had a mix of several profiles, namely people enrolled in an MBA. “There were people with a lot of professional experience who really added something.”
So, is working really hard in Japan? “The rhythm is not that much more intense, but work is organised differently. For example, we can work two weekends in a row, have a break period and then have four days of courses from Tuesday to Friday.” It’s not too arduous for a former student of preparatory classes, but still hard to get used to.
Marine suggests the double degree to everyone, especially those who already have a destination in mind. “You go abroad for an entire year. It’s more than a typical exchange programme. But, be ready to integrate into a different culture so you have a great experience.” This year in the double-degree programme will give her one from Nagoya University of Commerce and Business. What are the great opportunities offered to her in Japan, and does she want to go home? “I haven’t decided yet,” Marine said. “The job market in Japan is not known for being open to foreigners. But If I had a good job offer, I could see myself staying here.”
MARINE MECK, in the Master 2 Management, double-degree programme in la Nagoya University of Commerce and Business, Nagoya, Japan.
“American culture is so different from ours, it’s an adventure”
Romain was already in preparatory classes in Strasbourg and he was attracted by the concept of the double degree. But it was when he arrived at NEOMA BS that his thoughts become more focused. “My growing interest in marketing worked well with the idea of doing a MBA abroad and satisfying at the same time my desire to have a longer international experience,” he explained.
His professional ambitions also became more refined and the suggestion that a more concentrated MBA in Business Analytics would be the ideal complement to his marking specialisation. Romain then focused on his application because being accepted is rare. “It was a challenge, but when you take a preparatory class, you don’t doubt your chances at success!” he said. His marks, his level of English and his academic background spoke for itself. He was accepted.
When he arrived in Boston, the university immediately welcomed him and guided him through all the administrative procedures. “And also offered networking activities, which was very helpful in forming my first circle of friends.” Then work started. “In the U.S., you have fewer classes than in France but much more individual work and books to read,” Romain said. “The classes are focused on practical elements and case studies.”
In his MBA programme, there were also professionals, who were sometimes 10 or 15 years older than him. Add to that the percentage system of marks that would make any French person tear their hair out and you have a true sense of culture shock! “American culture is so different from ours, it’s an adventure,” Romain said. There is the professional adventure (along with acquiring skills) and the internal one. “The contrast with our own view points is so striking that you re-examine yourself, rethink your priorities, develop and mature.” It’s a common feeling when going far from one’s home.
ROMAIN RISS, 4th year student in the masters in Management Programme, currently doing a double degree at Bentley University, Boston, U.S.