Let’s pretend: Could role-play boost your international career?

The path to career success isn't always straight or smooth. It's also a branching path – at many points you'll be presented with choices that will define your career. So, how do you develop the confidence to know which decisions will help you blaze your own distinct trail?

Let's pretend: Could role-play boost your international career?
Learning by doing: Role-playing case studies is a powerful tool to develop business skills. Photo: Getty Images

If you’re living or working abroad, or planning to, there are many challenges to overcome. Yet some of the most challenging times can arrive in your professional life, especially if you are looking to progress to the next level where you need not only the relevant business and leadership skills but also the confidence to succeed.

Watching the colleagues and mentors you admire, you might notice in them unshakable confidence and the sense that they are flourishing in their roles – and can adapt quickly to new opportunities. 

But could your chance of emulating them depend firstly on your willingness to play a role in simulations of common business scenarios?

Research shows that these role-play activities, in the form of case studies and classroom exercises, can be of significant value for those making the next step to management roles. 

Gaps in your business knowledge?

Reaching a personal and professional crossroads prompted Christen Smith and Scott Perry, both graduates of the EDHEC Global MBA, to consider their next move.

Despite a decade of success in the insurance sector, Christen, from the US, found she was gradually taking on roles and responsibilities she didn’t feel fully equipped for.

“I was at a point where I realised some of the knowledge gaps I had. Suddenly, I was asked to do a lot of profit modelling and forecasting using unfamiliar analytical models, and I’d never had a formal business education.

“I took on a lot of self-learning, but it was only enough to get by. Some of the knowledge I needed, I needed from experts and experienced colleagues. If I wanted to progress and be a truly effective leader, I needed that formal education.”

Scott, from England, began his career in the software industry but eventually had a similar moment of realisation.

“As I was working on larger projects, I began pondering what came next. Did I want to stay where I was, or move elsewhere? How would I boost my profile to be visible for those opportunities?

“I love software and I knew my field, but I questioned whether I had the knowledge base to handle leading larger teams. That was the trigger for me to do an MBA.”

At a crossroads? Prepare for the next step with real-life case studies as part of EDHEC’s Global MBA. Discover more about the programme

Work hard, play hard: Christen and her EDHEC Global MBA classmates developed their business skills through role-playing. Photo: Supplied

The play’s the thing

Scott and Christen had different paths leading them to the Global MBA. A ten-month, full-time programme in English, it’s taught at EDHEC‘s modern campus in Nice overlooking the Mediterranean. 

However, both agree it was their experiences role-playing real-life business case studies that expanded their horizons and grew their confidence as leaders.

Christen elaborates: “A really powerful aspect of the course was the case studies we role-played. There was one about the internationalisation of an organisation and another about mergers and acquisitions.

“It was incredibly valuable because we weren’t just reading through them but acting them out, actively negotiating, fully experiencing the scenario and identifying how we would react.

“I was also gaining the skills and methodology to analyse that I needed in my more senior roles, from those with years of understanding.”

Scott continues: “Working through a range of case studies with my classmates helped me to practice the leadership skills required to lead departments, and prepared me for the kinds of situations that I deal with every day.

“I could also put into practice ideas around digital innovation that I had developed during my classes.”

Follow his graduation from the EDHEC Global MBA, Scott has worked with agricultural giant Yara, in Berlin. Photo: Supplied

The confidence to ‘add real value’

So how has the EDHEC Global MBA delivered the confidence for Christen and Scott to excel?

After moving from the US, Christen now works for fleet insurance provider Flock in London – a major change of role as well as location.

“I’m now Chief Revenue Officer, a role the Global MBA gave me the confidence to take on. At EDHEC, I gained a grounding in financial analysis that I required, which I now use daily. 

“I also improved my presentation and management skills, and I can lead larger teams more effectively. What allowed me to do this was working through scenarios that I’d be likely to encounter with a more senior role.”

Scott, now based in Berlin, is the Director of Customer Relations at Yara, an agri-business giant using digitalisation to solve issues of global hunger.

“What was truly transformational was the confidence the Global MBA gave me. In my role at Yara, Thanks to the case studies that we explored, I learned to speak with greater confidence and authority in many different environments, as I had encountered them before. I feel I’m able to add real value to our customers. It’s a great feeling.”

Ready to build the confidence that will unlock a world of opportunities? Learn more about the Global MBA from EDHEC. Apply now for September 2023

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What changes for students at French universities in 2023

Re-evaluation of financial aid, a freeze on tuition fees, housing assistance... everything you need to know if you're starting at a French university in 2023.

What changes for students at French universities in 2023

The new academic year has just started in France, and thousands of students are heading back to university – or starting out on their studies, after passing their bac in the summer.

Meanwhile, the next set of bac students are gearing up for their big educational year, and starting to wonder about the mysteries of the French university application system Parcoursup – while parents are concerned about finances, and making sure their children have decent lodgings.

There’s far too much emotional, practical and financial baggage to unpack in that last paragraph for a simple article. But, here are a few things that it’s worth knowing – from how much you’ll have to pay in tuition fees, to how to get grants.

This article mainly concerns students who have been living in France as the situation is often different for overseas students – and in this instance that means students travelling from overseas for university, if your children are joining from a French school they count as home students, even if they don’t have French nationality.


The freeze on university tuition fees has been extended for the fifth year in a row at €170 per year for bachelor degrees and €243 for masters diplomas. 

Non-scholarship students are also required to pay an annual €100 Contribution vie étudiante et de campus (CVEC) to improve living conditions on campus.

Fees for overseas students are calculated differently and can run into several thousand euro. 


Students looking for accommodation at university are advised to go to the Caisse d’allocations familiales (Caf) website for help and advice.

Be aware that this housing assistance could result in a significant decrease in the amount of family allowance available to the families of students at university. It is, however, worth consulting Caf.


Grants (bourses) are available to help students with the cost of university life – if you’re resident in France this is dependent on your income (or the income of your parents if you’re just finishing school). Being a boursier (person in receipt of a grant, also qualifies you for some extra discounts such as reduced-price meals.

The means-tested grants vary according t your financial situation, but the basic rate has increased by €37 per month for 2023, while boursiers studying at establishments in French overseas territories will receive an additional €30 per month on top of the €37 increase.

Students with disabilities and student carers benefit from additional help to gain access to grants based on social criteria. 

This simulator will help you start the process of applying for a university grant by calculating whether you will be eligible for one.


Restaurants operated by the Centres régionaux des œuvres universitaires et scolaires (Crous) – which also offers accommodation services – offer three-course meals for €3.30 in the university canteen, further reduced to €1 for boursiers and students in certain financial situations. 

Special requirements

Students with particular needs (high-level athletes, artists, students with disabilities, employed students, students with families, etc) can benefit from adaptations and arrangements to facilitate their studies.

Health insurance

French students – including all non-French students who have gone through the French education system through collège and lycée and who are registered in the social security system – are not expected to pay social security contributions to access healthcare services.

However, overseas students in France or French students at university abroad may need to pay. Students from the UK can access the S1 form, which allows them to use the French state-funded healthcare system and have their costs reimbursed by the UK. 

Gap years

Students wishing to take a break for a year can ask their university to suspend their studies for up to two consecutive semesters.


Students in a higher education establishment can follow part of their studies in another European country via the Erasmus + programme. This is intended for students wishing to follow a higher education course abroad as part of an exchange programme, or to carry out an international internship.

Masters degree applications

The process for entering the first year of a Master’s degree changed back in February 2023, with applications for the first year of a Master’s degree now submitted on the Mon Master platform. 

The French government’s Back to School Guide (in French) presents the various measures put in place to improve the daily lives of students.

It’s also worth looking at the government’s My Student Services website, which has an English-language version. It offers all sorts of information about university life, finances and housing options.