When deciding what partner school to choose I had three main selection criteria. First of all I was after a school that offered a wide range of corporate finance units (don’t I sound fun?!). The truth is corporate finance just happened to be the field that my analytical mind enjoyed and the field that I wanted to specialise in. At the same time I wanted to pick a reputable school in terms of global rankings, something that I could use to ‘decorate’ my CV.
Lastly, of course, I had to pick a location and culture that appealed to me, and I was leaning towards some place with a native language other than English. Something less mainstream than the US / UK seemed more exciting. After researching my options, ESCP Paris was an easy choice. I had never been to Paris before but was convinced I would love it. I was not wrong.
Upon the completion of my first exchange semester, I was consumed by the city, the school and the whole experience. I was lucky enough to extend my stay to two semesters. Aside from the fact that I was not ready to leave – did not feel ‘done’ – after one semester, I saw a real benefit to my career prospects in staying. My decision paid off and ultimately I feel the experience helped me to land my dream job.
This may be unusual, and perhaps a product of my slightly ‘nomadic’ adolescence, but I did not feel the lows of the culture shock. I enjoyed the novelty of everything. I must mention that I had zero knowledge of the French language prior to the exchange, but got by just fine. Despite the popular belief, I found that most Parisians spoke English well enough and were willing to do so.