THIS FALL, ESSEC BUSINESS SCHOOL
in Cergy-Pontoise, France, invited 420 third-year students in its Global BBA program to create their ideal business courses. This “Build Your Own Course” (BYOC) initiative was the culmination of ESSEC’s i-Xperience Week, a five-day event that revolved around imagination and experiential learning. ESSEC first created BYOC for MSc in Management students in January.
The theme of i-Xperience Week 2015 was “transformation.” Each day, students heard presentations from creative thinkers, including Yves Coppens, a paleoanthropologist from Collège de France; Nicolas Huchet, a developer of bionic 3D-printed prosthetic hands; Jean-Loup Chrétien, an astronaut; Henri Atlan, a professor, biologist, and writer and director of studies at L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales; Kathrine Larsen, a sommelier; and Bridget Polk, an American rock balancing artist.
After each presentation, students worked with tutors to examine what they wanted from their business educations and created posters that depicted their personal goals and purposes. The posters were displayed at the end of the week.
For the BYOC initiative, the students spent four hours on the event’s last day imagining new courses they would like to take at ESSEC. After collaborating on these courses’ titles, structure, and content, they presented their ideas and voted to determine the two most popular ones. The winning ideas included “Self-Marketing & Personal Branding” and “Event Simulation & Creation.” The second course would teach students how to organize and manage large-scale events such as the World Cup.
Over the next year, faculty will work with a group of three to five student volunteers to design both courses, which will be included in ESSEC’s course catalog in fall 2016. ESSEC plans to make the BYOC project a part of future weeklong events dedicated to imagination and creativity on both its France and Singapore campuses.
“We want students to let us know where there is a gap in our catalog,” says Xavier Pavie, director of ESSEC’s iMagination Center. “We want to help students transform themselves and understand who they want to be for society."