École Supérieure des Sciences Économiques et Commerciales (ESSEC) was founded at the start of the 20th century and has developed into one of the world's leading business schools. ESSEC is one of the foremost Grandes Ecoles in France. Every year more than 4,000 applicants apply for just 400 spots at the school. ESSEC is particularly well known for its global focus. Twenty-eight percent of its students are international students and ESSEC maintains about 70 university partnerships in 30 different countries. All ESSEC students are required to study abroad for a minimum of two semesters and learn a minimum of three languages. Freeman students studying on exchange at ESSEC will have the opportunity to engage with globally-minded students and faculty and gain an international perspective on their students.
In 1997, ESSEC was the first business school outside of North America to receive accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). In 2003, ESSEC also received accreditation for all its programs from the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). The school is currently in the process of getting accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and will receive the status of being "triple-crowned" soon for having all three accreditations.
ESSEC is located in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is 27.8 km (17.3 mi) from the center of Paris, in the "new town" of Cergy-Pontoise, created in the 1960s, of which it is the central and most populated commune. Cergy is connected with Paris by high-speed railroad lines and highways. The city is well known for its electrical engineering and electronics industries.
Many students choose to study in Cergy for its proximity to Paris. However, Cergy itself is a lively location, offers a multitude of outdoor activities within a unique setting. Past participants recommend the Lake of Cergy (Les Etangs du Cergy) where you can engage in water sports (blob jumping, water-skiing, sailing) and the Port of Cergy over Oise River. Parisians travel to Cergy to enjoy the town's atmosphere. On weekends you will find families enjoying a walk, barbecuing, engaging in water sports or resting outside of the hustle and bustle of the city.
Some students that study at ESSEC live in Cergy and travel to Paris when they want to experience the big city. Others live in Paris and commute to ESSEC for classes.
Freeman students are encouraged to fully integrate into university life at ESSEC. With more than 100 associations and sports clubs to choose from, there is something to satisfy every interest. For more information on student organizations at ESSEC, visit the school's Student Associations website.
Outside of their academic programs, Freeman participants enjoy varied cultural events and activities in Cergy and the surrounding region. Take a cruise on the Seine, attend a ballet at one of the two Paris operas, or a visit of the Loire valley castles.
The Fall Term at ESSEC runs from late August or early September to December. The Spring Term runs from February to June.
Ranking and Rigor
Top 51 - 100 bracket in the world for Business and Management - 2017 QS World University Rankings by Subject.
Top 51 - 100 in the world for Accounting and Finance - 2017 QS World University Rankings by Subject.
Some past participants report that level of academic challenge at ESSEC is higher than Tulane. Others report that it is generally similar or moderately less difficult than Tulane.
Freeman students at ESSEC enroll in classes with 3rd and 4th year undergraduates and have a choice of business classes taught in French and/or English. It is possible to take a study program taught entirely in English -- between 60 and 70 percent of courses at ESSEC are taught in English. As an internationally-focused institution, ESSEC values the cultural diversity which exchange students bring to its program.
ESSEC operates on a block schedule. Each class meets once per week for 2 - 3 hours. ESSEC also offers some short-term "intensive" classes that meet for several days in a row for a shorter period of time, which can lighten the courseload for the rest of a student's semester abroad.
For a list of sample courses offered at ESSEC and their Tulane equivalents, please see Sample Courses Offered.
Actual courses offered will vary from semester to semester and year to year. For a an up-to-date list of course offerings, please see ESSEC's BBA course catalog. The list is typically finalized in July for the Fall and January for the Spring, but courses offered tend to be similar to the previous year's offerings.
The program at ESSEC also offers students the opportunity to enroll in French language classes at the beginner, intermediate or advanced level. Language classes are free-of-charge and credit-bearing.
Students register online for courses. Registration takes place in July for the Fall semester and December for the Spring semester. Students receive registration instructions by email. In June/November, students should start checking their ESSEC email every day for further instructions. Before registering classes, students should pre-approve their courses with Freeman and check to make sure they have satisfied all pre-requisites for the courses they plan to take abroad. Students can check pre-requisites in the syllabus, accessible through MyEssec or by emailing BBAfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Courses are available on a “first come, first serve” basis. There is a small window (3 days) for registration. Past participants say online registration is "fairly complicated" -- "the class number needed to be copied from an Excel document to the online registration portal." Exchange students typically have the first sign up window, so most students get the courses that they want. Students should not choose courses randomly. ESSEC has a very short add/drop period. It is not possible to drop a class after this period.
Past participants recommend against taking many classes at a time at ESSEC. One student advised, "I also would try to avoid taking more than one intensive class (9 hour classes for 3 days)."
Freeman students at ESSEC can expect to experience a more European style of teaching and learning. In comparison to the U.S. style, the European approach is less structured and not so student-centered. Relationships with professors are usually more formal. Instructors are considered experts in their field and their primary role is to impart knowledge. Student-professor interaction is typically limited. Lectures are the most common teaching style. Participation may or may not be required. There are few homework assignments. Rather, students are expected to be self-disciplined and stay on top of reading assignments. In some courses, group projects make up part of a student's grade in a course. Since ESSEC students come from all over the world, students should be prepared to navigate cultural and linguistic complexities in the classroom. In some courses, the final grade is based on single, comprehensive exam.
Past participants say the academic culture at ESSEC is "much more project- and presentation-based" than Tulane. Past participants also advise future students to stay on top of their assignments. One past participant shared, "When you have class for one time a week for a long period of time, motivating yourself to do work can be difficult but doable once you establish a routine."
Different classes are graded differently. Each syllabus describes the evaluation and grading methods for the course. Exchange students at ESSEC are warned against attempting to negotiate their grades with the professors. All professors have instructions to send all of these requests to the Director of Studies, who will then deal with them appropriately.
Grading Scale and Conversion Guide
In France, grades can go from 0 to 20, with 20 being the highest grade. Yet, most teachers do not use the full scale. A grade 18, therefore, is probably the highest grade a student can expect. This is considered excellent. To validate or pass a course, one must receive at least 10 out of 20. Below please find the U.S. equivalents for grades earned at ESSEC. Tulane works with World Education Services (WES) for credit evaluation and grade conversion.
For Freeman semester abroad programs, students must:
complete their lower division business core requirements prior to their semester abroad;
earn a 2.5 GPA in the lower division business core courses;
be in good academic, financial and disciplinary standing.
Students who are on disciplinary probation, academic probation and/or honor board probation during the semester or term in which they intend to study abroad are not eligible to participate in a Tulane study abroad program. Approvals are revoked for students who are placed on probation after being approved to study abroad.
Students on disciplinary, academic and/or honor board probation during time of application are considered only if the probation period ends prior to departure for study abroad. Such applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Study Abroad & Exchange in consultation with Tulane's Division of Student Affairs and/or Academic Affairs. If the application is approved, the host institution will be notified of the probationary status. It is within the discretion of the host institution and/or Tulane to place additional restrictions on a recently-disciplined student's participation in a study abroad program.
Requirements for Courses Taught in French
If you wish to take business courses taught in French with local students, you must have an advanced intermediate command of the language.
Freeman Semester Abroad Application
To access the Freeman semester abroad application, please attend a Semester Abroad Info Session and make an appointment for follow-up advising with a Study Abroad & Exchange advisor.
Some exchange programs are more competitive than others. Students can list up to 10 school on the semester abroad application, in order of preference. All qualified applications are reviewed on a competitive basis based on GPA; completion of 3010s; academic, personal and professional relevance of study abroad programs; and academic, linguistic, personal and cultural preparation.
Upon nomination to ESSEC, exchange participants are required to submit secondary application materials to the host university. You will submit your application materials, including a transcript, via the ESSEC's online application portal. You will receive application instructions by email from ESSEC once you have been nominated to the program.
Exchange program participants pay their regular Tulane tuition plus a $1200 study abroad fee but do not pay Reily Center, Health Center or Student Activities fees. Housing is not charged by Tulane University but rather paid directly to the housing provider abroad. Students are responsible for additional expenses, including international airfare, passport, visa, meals, local transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses. See the budget sheet for more information.
Some countries (e.g., Australia, France, Hong Kong, Switzerland) require that students participating in study abroad programs purchase local health insurance in that country. Students are responsible for purchasing this insurance if it is a requirement for the country where they will be studying. The estimated cost is included in the budget sheet.
ALEGESSEC, ESSEC's student housing association, offers 1,095 studios across four residences in Cergy. Exchange students can live in one of three student residences. ESSEC recommends Freeman students consider Résidence du Port, ESSEC's newest housing complex. The units are basic but nice; they have a little refrigerator, an apartment-style stove, sink, desk, bed, shower and toilet. There are single units or double units. In the double units each student gets his/her own room but shares a common area with a suitemate. There are other common rooms in the building -- breakout rooms, laundry, gym, game room, etc. This residence hall is a 15 min walk from campus. It is pricier than the other residences, but the other residences are two train stops (or more) away and the amenities are not nearly as nice. You can view photos on ESSEC's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/ESSECGlobalMBA/photos/?tab=album&album_id=180153245350932.
Past participants recommend living in Paris and commuting. The average commute takes 1 hour and involves the metro, train and walking on foot. ESSEC has block scheduling, which means students won't have to make the trip every day, but classes can be held early in the morning until the evening. It's also important to remember that public transportation is very popular in France, which means the metro and train are busy during rush hour.
Neighborhoods recommended by past participants:
16th arrondissement: Right near the RER A train, safe neighborhood
Le Marais ("The Marais has the most convenient commute from Paris to Cergy, and is a very interesting area."), Oberkampf, Republique, Rue de Lappe, Bastille, Champs Elysees
Note: Study Abroad & Exchange does not endorse any of the housing listed on the above links. Students are responsible for checking the condition of the property before signing a lease or making a deposit.