Christophe Giolito, Philosophy teacher at the Lycée Saint-Cyr, and Xavier Enselme, Economics teacher at the Lycée Henri IV, who both took part in the Humanities and Management course launched by NEOMA BS in September 2018, explain the role that disciplines such as economics and philosophy can play in the future career paths of business school students.
In addition to smoothing out any differences that exist between preparatory school and the pre-master year at business school, the global curriculum introduced at NEOMA BS allows Master in Management students to spend time studying Humanities. Co-developed by preparatory school and NEOMA Business School teachers, this initiative is an integral part of the School's response to developing the skills required by more agile and compassionate managers in the future. Explanations by Xavier Enselme and Christophe Giolito.
In your opinion, are students really aware of the need to reconcile business and humanity?
Christophe GIOLITO : On the whole, yes, and they are extremely demanding when it comes to this topic. In the Humanities and Management courses, students were in touch with the proposed subjects. They were asked to present a solution that came from their own commitments and bearing the mark of their own reflection. They really had to channel their thought process towards a collective project. This also implied that they had to share and justify their individual choices. This is entirely in line with the idea of philosophy: preparing tomorrow's citizens and providing them with the weapons for political and economic reflection.
Xavier ENSELME : I think that the students' awareness depends enormously on their background. Those who have had even the slightest professional experience have more ability to be in tune with and more involved in the course. Indeed, they realise that the issues addressed are issues they have already experienced.
How can the social sciences and humanities enable us to take on the role of manager better?
Christophe GIOLITO : I believe that the strength of general culture and philosophy is to enable us to draw conclusions and communicate thought. Philosophy is no different to sharing arguments within a group; in this sense, there is no risk of becoming detached from reality or action. As a manager, it is important to understand that each objection we face corresponds to an interest. Managers today plays an essential role in convincing and getting people to accept a project, which is why management is now exercised through meaning. We lead a team because we share the same values, the same project. And the best way to do this is through discussion, deliberation. However, these are all faculties that can be enhanced through philosophy and general culture. Beyond that, it seems to me that even the defining of objectives for your team is similar to providing a vision of the world. Yet, the question of the meaning of existence and our presence in the world are philosophical.
Xavier ENSELME : I think that the Humanities can help students to construct their judgments by providing the ability to make a decision after listening to all points of view. Throughout their professional lives, they will have to take sides, decide and listen to one another's arguments. They will have to listen, respect what others say, take note and weigh up the argument. In a way, this is a form of arbitration, since they will be faced with a number of demands, have to understand them, where they come from, why and what their reasoning and legitimacy is. Because all demands have a certain legitimacy. And when the time comes, they will have to make a decision. It is important for them to understand that for issues related to work and company organisation, there are a number of ways of looking at things. And this is exactly what was done in the Humanities and Management course by developing a thesis and an antithesis. They were asked to take sides, not according to their gut feeling, but after discussion.
Advice from the Lycée Saint-Cyr and Lycée Henri IV Preparatory school teachers to students who would like to go on to study at Business School
Advice from Christophe GIOLITO, Philosophy teacher at the Lycée Saint-Cyr
Take a critical look at the teaching provided
Build your own approach. The teaching is not a given in itself, but a resource that you must take on board and then reshape.
Avoid being a consumer in your learning approach
It is a question of allowing yourself to be exposed to the training in order to give it meaning, by taking a step back and not simply criticising the teaching.
Do not be intimidated by the original format of certain courses!
Advice from Xavier ENSELME, Economics teacher at the Lycée Henri IV
Gain some initial professional experience
Even very short, one week, an internship or any other type of immersion. This will improve your understanding of the business world, confirm your orientation and strengthen your motivation.
For wider professional opportunities, choose a business school
Today, people no longer enter a business school exclusively to do accounting, but to receive leadership and management training. Once you graduate, your diploma can be useful in a wide range of fields that can sometimes lead to sectors such as research or public administration. This ability of evolution is extremely interesting and contributes to the appeal of business schools.