International study: are digital open days really worth your time?

If you’re considering an MBA or executive education, you want to know that the institution you choose will really suit your needs. But with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, it may be impossible to visit in person.

International study: are digital open days really worth your time?
Nayda Massoud. Photo: ESSEC

So what of digital open days: are they really worth the time and effort? Reaching across time zones is more important than ever today, and the digital world is increasing the demand for personalized learning opportunities.

But if you’re an international person and fear current restrictions could stifle your growth, can you learn enough to make an informed decision by joining remotely?

The Local takes a look at how one Parisian business school is reimagining the open day and bringing it into the 21st century, as well as learning how some of its alumni are prospering in today’s digital world.

Experience a new kind of open day: find your path to world-class business learning with the ESSEC Executive virtual open days, between the 21st and 25th of June, 2021

Turning adversity into opportunity

Most of us have attended a university open day before – it’s an opportunity to not only learn more about the courses delivered by a university or business school, but also to get a feel for the atmosphere and learning environment you could be entering.

While the pandemic continues, the traditional style of open day – an open campus visit with sessions running throughout, usually on a weekend – just isn’t possible. Contact restrictions mean the kind of course counselling sessions you might see featured throughout a day can’t be held.

Founded in 1907, ESSEC provides high-quality and innovative business learning, including leading MBAs, at campuses in France, Singapore and Morocco. It has a series of 100 percent digital Executive open days planned for the end of June.

As with so many things, the changes enforced by the pandemic can also open up new opportunities. Indeed, the leap to online learning and greater use of digital tools means a virtual open day can be a much richer, more useful experience than the traditional approach.

Claire Szlingier, ESSEC Executive education’s Head of Marketing, says switching to virtual open days makes it possible to give those interested in joining ESSEC a much broader and deeper experience. “To begin with, it allows us to reach international students across multiple time zones.” With lectures and seminars scheduled from dawn to dusk across a number of days, those from overseas who wish to come to France to study can access events, no matter where they are.

“Hosting open days on our learning platform online also allows us to deliver a deeper, more tailored experience to prospective students,” Szlingier adds. Using a bespoke platform, MeltingSpot, designed by an ESSEC alumnus, the school’s open days allow prospective students to select a combination of events that reflects their interests and address their questions. They will be able to access ‘masterclasses’ from ESSEC faculty, discuss their needs with advisors and the admissions team, and watch Alumni Q&A sessions that give an inside glimpse of student life at ESSEC.

Hosting digital open days also reflects the school’s strategic plan, ‘RISE’, which includes a focus on tackling social and environmental problems, says Szlingier. The plan also encourages innovative entrepreneurship and holistic use of data to guide thinking, as ESSEC seeks to positively influence the major challenges facing businesses, organisations and society.

Access business acumen from world-class teachers, professors and advisors: find out more about the ESSEC Executive virtual open days, taking place from the 21st to 25th June, 2021

 An earlier open day at ESSEC Business School. Photo: ESSEC

Future vision, past tradition

What of the courses you can learn about? ESSEC delivers a popular and highly-acclaimed full-time Global MBA program and the part-time ESSEC and Mannheim Business School Executive MBA (modular track). You can also choose the part-time ESSEC Executive MBA (weekend track).

In addition, it offers a number of specialised courses: the full-time MSc in Hospitality Management (IMHI), the part-time Executive Master in Luxury Management and Design Innovation or ‘EMiLUX’ and the part-time Executive Mastère Spécialisé in International Business Development.

ESSEC alumni have many positive stories to share about how their experience at the school changed their lives.

Nayda Massoud, who is of Lebanese origin and has lived in Nigeria and France, did an ESSEC Global MBA and went on to find an exciting position as an operations manager at Amazon France.

She says she is “thrilled” with her new position and that the Global MBA was “a gateway” to the opportunity. “Along with its reputation, the program’s choice of specializations, the incorporation of hands-on learning through consulting missions brought balance to the academic experience,” she says.

David Pereira launched an automotive industry start-up after studying an Executive MBA at ESSEC. “From the recruitment team to the academic team, everybody made sure I felt comfortable and made me a part of a family,” he says.

With an open day experience that is now one hundred percent online, there’s never been a better opportunity for those wishing to attend a world-class institution of business learning. No matter where you are, or your current working hours, you can still fully access the wide range of workshops, seminars and Q&A sessions provided by ESSEC during their virtual Executive open days, between the 21st and 25th of June, 2021.

Looking to grow in your life and career? Sign up for ESSEC’s virt Executive open days, taking place from the 21st to 25th of June, 2021

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


When to send Christmas gifts from France

French postal service La Poste has been hard at work recruiting 3,000 seasonal staff for Christmas, unsurprisingly its busiest time of the year.

When to send Christmas gifts from France

More than 20 percent – and rising – of La Poste’s annual workload is collected, sorted and delivered in the six weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Last year, its Colissimo parcel service delivered an estimated 100 million packages in November and December alone.  

And those additional staff this year will be tasked with helping ensure that another bumper collection of parcels, cards and letters from friends and family arrive in good time and in good condition. 

La Poste has yet to publish its last delivery dates to guarantee your seasonal gifts arrive at their intended destination in good time. 

But, in normal circumstances Colissimo parcels take three to five days to arrive in the UK from France; five to eight days to get to USA; and 10 to 14 days to reach Australia. La Poste’s website has a tool that allows you to confirm its standard international Colissimo delivery times.

Parcels can also be sent via Chronopost, which usually offers faster delivery: two days for the US with Chrono Express. 

Christmas, however, is, much, much busier. So add a few days for deliveries at this time of year. La Poste is expected to issue its guaranteed delivery dates in the coming days.

Private couriers like Fed-Ex and DPD have their own deadlines, although they are broadly in line with La Poste, and if you’re buying online each company has its own deadline on when it can guarantee a Christmas delivery.

Britain’s Royal Mail, meanwhile, has issued its guaranteed delivery dates for its various parcel services this year. The deadlines are as follows and offer a pretty sensible guide:

International Economy deliveries

Guaranteed delivery deadlines have already passed for all non-European destinations using this service.

Friday, November 24th: Cyprus, Eastern Europe, Greece, Iceland, Malta, Turkey

Monday, November 27th: Western Europe

International Tracking and Signature Services

Monday, December 11th: Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Bulgaria, Caribbean, China, Far and Middle East, Norway, Portugal, Spain

Tuesday, December 12th: Cyprus and Malta

Wednesday, December 13th: USA, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eastern Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey

International Standard (Untracked)

Tuesday, December 5th: Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Caribbean, China, Far and Middle East

Wednesday, December 6th: Cyprus and Malta

Thursday, December 7th: Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic and Poland), France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey

Friday, December 8th: Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, USA

Customs and VAT

If you are sending to a country outside the EU (which of course now includes the UK) then you will need to fill out a customs declaration form explaining what is in your parcel and whether it is a gift or not.

In addition to standard postal charges, you may also need to pay customs duties, depending on the value or your parcel and whether it is a gift or not. 

In general terms, however, no VAT should be due on packages worth less than €45, as long as they are clearly marked as gifts. Customs duty is due on orders worth more than €150. 

READ ALSO Explained: The post-Brexit rules and charges for sending parcels between UK and France

Banned items

Some items that are banned from the post – if you’re sending parcels to the US be aware that you cannot send alcohol through the mail as a private individual, so don’t try a ship some nice French wine or a bottle of your local liqueur. 

Most countries ban firearms and fireworks, not unreasonably, although be aware that this includes items like sparklers.

Sending food and plants is also often restricted with countries including Canada and Australia having strict rules and most other countries imposing restrictions on what you can send.

This also applies the other way and France bans any foodstuffs containing animal products (eg chocolate) sent from outside the EU. 

Letters from the Big Man

Most importantly of all as Christmas approaches, Santa’s Secretariat has opened for seasonal business. Some 60 elves, seconded to La Poste’s offices in Libourne, are ready to receive letters from children across France, and make sure they get a reply.

This year, Santa has got help writing his replies from best-selling author Michel Bussi. In order to receive a letter from the Big FC, simply write to him and put your letter in an envelope addressed to Père Noël. Post your letter through La Poste by December 20th, and you will get a reply in time for Christmas.

While waiting for the big day, the Santa Claus Secretariat invites children and parents to visit its website, which features Christmas stories to listen to, decoration workshops, and traditional recipes.