In this interview, Felix Papier explains what drew him to ESSEC & Mannheim's Executive MBA program and what he looks for in a EMBA candidate.
Felix, could you tell us more about yourself?
have been an associate professor for supply chain and purchasing management at ESSEC Business School since 2011 and the Head of the ESSEC Research Cluster on Operations Management and Operations Research (OMOR). My research and teaching focuses on supply chain and operations strategy, information sharing in supply chains, sourcing management, and sustainable operations. I have published in many academic and professional journals, such as Operations Research and Harvard Business Review. I teach core modules on operations strategy in the Grande Ecole program, the global MBA program, and executive education programs (e.g., Executive MBA and General Management). Before joining ESSEC, I completed my PhD at the University of Cologne in Germany and worked for several years as a strategy and operations management consultant for McKinsey & Company.
Why did you become Academic Director for the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA?
I am proud to be the Academic Director of the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA program. In my opinion the Executive MBA is one of the most ambitious programs at our school. The participants expect a lot from us but they are also willing to learn and to change to pursue their personal and professional goals. In exchange, it is our challenge to go beyond offering our participants knowledge and know-how and to create a whole ecosystem of participants, faculty, and companies around the program’s core values: leadership and entrepreneurship.
In this regard, the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA offers executives having worked for 8 years or more, a unique learning experience that helps them to successfully meet today’s business challenges. It is an 18-month, part-time generalist MBA in partnership with Mannheim Business School.
Candidates can choose one of two tracks:
- The Modular track, starting in October is composed of one-week modules every six weeks, rotating between Paris and Mannheim campuses plus two international residencies (one week in the US and two weeks in Asia)
- The Weekend track, starting in April, meets on Fridays and Saturdays in Paris every other weekend with two international residencies (one week in the US, two weeks in Asia).
For both, the teaching method is focused on team-based learning through cutting-edge theoretical knowledge and practical experience.
To you, who is the perfect applicant for an ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA?
The ideal applicant believes in his or her potential to become a global leader. He or she is tenacious, driven and believes in working with others.
All our participants are executives with at least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and a minimum of eight years of work experience, part of which is international. This work experience can come from any sector or industry from industrial products, financial services & banking, telecommunications, and strategy consulting, to pharmaceuticals, luxury goods, and agri-food.
Top applicants usually possess leadership experience, whether as managers, directors or engineers and all speak English. When applying, they will be asked to detail their work experience and inner motivations to show how leadership, international exposure, personal or professional goals and extracurricular activities make them the best candidates for the program.
Our objective is for the group to be diverse with dynamic, well-rounded, experienced individuals who can contribute to the class environment. In last year’s Modular class, we had more than 17 nationalities, which was very interesting both for the participants and for the faculty.
How does this Executive MBA differ from others?
The ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA is a truly international MBA program firstly by its international locations, with campuses in Paris, Mannheim and Singapore but the program’s uniqueness relies on the two pillars of the program, leadership and entrepreneurship.
We offer a comprehensive leadership development program where participants engage in various activities and workshops (ranging from a two-day program in a military camp in St-Cyr to negotiations workshops) and share the insights from these experiences with their individual coach.
Focus is also set on entrepreneurship with the “Entrepreneurial Project” (EP). The first step consists of a marketplace for ideas: participants with a concept in mind pitch their ideas to the group, using soft skills such as negotiation and strategy. Each group presents a business plan to the EP jury, which is composed of faculty and practitioners (entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, consultants). To help the participants during the EP phase, workshops are organized by our in-house incubator, ESSEC Ventures, by former alumni with successful businesses and the topic is covered during our international residencies. Approximately 20% of the EPs are launched at some point following the end of the program. In addition, our participants have access to two types of coaching to meet all of their needs:
* Individual coaching sessions for career development;
* Group coaching in small teams to focus on working more efficiently as a group (i.e. during the EP) and to develop organizational skills
What advice would you give to applicants?
The program’s added value depends to a large extent on the participant. To develop their leadership potential, applicants need to be active and critical listeners, to observe and question themselves and to be willing to share their experience and ideas with other participants and faculty. This requires courage and self-awareness, which I think are the most important elements to succeed in the program. I advise applicants to keep this in mind when preparing.
What is ESSEC doing to remain at the forefront of business and management thinking?
Since 1907, ESSEC Business School has been striving to move forward boundaries by creating cutting-edge knowledge and forging quality partnerships. Our purpose is to train agile, creative and open-minded individuals capable of managing multicultural teams, understanding complexity and designing innovative solutions in response to today’s challenges. To do so, ESSEC continually aims to move forward towards more innovation, involvement and internationalization.
This year was first marked by the inauguration of the ESSEC campus in Singapore in May 2015, attesting to ESSEC being a multipolar institution. Adding to the 162 partner universities across 42 countries, faculty and participants will have the opportunity to discover other continents, thus enriching their learning experience. From Europe to Asia, the ESSEC community of alumni has grown continuously, reaching 46,000 alumni worldwide this year.
The quality of the ESSEC network lies not only among alumni but also among educational organizations and the corporate world. ESSEC supports 21 knowledge chairs working closely with companies to develop innovative skills in their sector and has 702 partner companies in education and recruitment. Also, ESSEC’s 8 centers of excellence (in Management and Society, Digital Business, Hospitality, Food and Travel, etc...) serve as incubators of innovation and are designed to facilitate the exchange of new ideas, market trends, and industry insights between companies, researchers, and participants.
The Knowledge Lab, a knowledge production and sharing center, was inaugurated in December 2014 on the Cergy Campus. In order to also create a space of creativity for participants of executive programs, the Executive K-Lab has just been opened on the La Défense Campus.
ESSEC has also launched 2 new MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) in Hotel Distribution, Revenue & Demand management and Strategic Business Analytics. Over 27,000 students participated in last year’s MOOC with Edgar Morin on complexity (September 2014), which encouraged ESSEC to pursue this initiative.