Sunday, May 04, 2014

Growing number of Indian students now heading to France

Hyderabad-based professional Dominic Holt is currently studying the finer points of marketing designer watches, haute couture and supercars in France. A French degree in luxury management looks way better on the CV than an Indian one, he figured before winging his way to the mecca of luxe. Like Holt, an increasing number of Indian students are heading to France to do their MBAs. While luxury and brand management is very much in demand, courses such as sports management and CSR are also sought after.

“Last year, 3,000 students went to France from India,” says Vikash Golla, who heads the Delhi branch of Campus France. “As much as 75% are in the field of management,” he adds. Some like Holt are mid-career students, while others are fresh out of college. Golla says that a decade ago, France attracted only about a 100 Indian students an year. But of late, institutes like the ESC Rennes School of Business (or École Supérieure de Commerce de Rennes) have seen a surge in Indian applications.

Last September, 70 of the 210 applicants at ESC Rennes were Indian, twice the previous year’s number. One reason is that all the courses at the school are in English and 80% of the faculty is non-French. At the century-old ESSEC Business School, 50% of the faculty is ‘international’. In all, France offers over 800 programmes in English.

Changes in visa rules last year have also made France more attractive. “Visa regulations now allow students to work for some time after completing the programme and this may be a factor,” says Carole Bonani, Associate Dean for Faculty at ESC. This year, says Golla, around 10 students are heading to INSEAD which, according to him, has one of the most rigorous admission processes.

Golla said India’s increased interest in French institutions can also be traced to the cost factor. “In France, even private institutions are heavily subsidized. And the embassy offers a range of scholarships”, he says. On average, tuition fees amount to about Rs. 1 million per annum. However, most Indian students return home after their studies since it’s difficult to land paid internships or jobs because of the language hurdle. But the Europe experience — travel, exposure, internships and group projects — radically improves their prospects back home, say students.

Source: The Times of India, May 4, 2014

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