Chloé Simon is currently enrolled in the Online Master of Science (MSc) in International Business Management at EDHEC. Eager to build her career internationally, she chose an online training course for its flexibility and feeling of community and belonging to a top Business School.
Between classes and coaching sessions, she seizes every opportunity to mature her professional project and career goal.
Can you tell us about your background before joining EDHEC’s Online Master?
After my science A-levels, I went for engineering studies. It was the logical choice that my teachers advised me. I didn’t like it at all as it was very theoretical. I knew right away that it wasn’t for me. After finishing my year, I switched to a totally different field: an art school. It went very well but I realised that there weren’t really any opportunities for me in that area. I saw it more as a hobby than a future job.
That’s when I decided to turn to commerce. I did a three-year Bachelor in International Business at GEM (Grenoble Ecole de Management). I graduated last year as valedictorian. Initially, I wanted to go abroad right after my studies. With COVID, I had to stay in France so I thought it was a good opportunity to acquire an extra qualification. That’s why I embarked on the MSc in International Business Management at EDHEC.
I also have about a year of professional experience in the fields of real estate and tourism which I have acquired over the last three summers, particularly including mandatory internships as part of my Bachelor in International Business.
How did you choose this Online Master?
I had made the choice to turn to online training. I didn’t want it to be training where I would work alone and isolated. I wanted to be part of a Business School and benefit from the flexibility of following classes from home without having to travel to the Paris campus, for example. That would have been complicated financially. The choice to opt for distance learning made a lot of sense. I compared the offers a little. EDHEC’s training courses seemed to have the most sense of belonging to the School, despite the online system, so I went for it and applied.
I also really appreciated the opportunity to join a continuing education program dedicated to professionals. I am happy to have been able to integrate it thanks to my background, despite my young age. I think this type of programme brings me much more than a traditional initial training programme because there is more emphasis on putting the classes into practice in the professional environment.
Was choosing a course in English your goal?
The Bachelor I took at GEM was completely in English. I really wanted to continue on that path. Although I did not go abroad, I still had an “international” feeling through the course.
How are the online training and exchanges with the rest of your cohort going?
It’s going very well, but it requires investment. I am part of the first group that started in October-November 2020. A new group arrives every term. There were 20 of us last October-November: the basic core. There must be about 50 of us now. That creates opportunities to discover new people.
There is a lot of variety in terms of nationalities in the MSc, but what is also very rewarding is the diversity in terms of sector and career stages. The average age is 30 years old. There are managers, people whose career has lasted ten years and who are transitioning, and others who want to stay at their company but be able to apply for positions with more responsibility. We all have very different origins, backgrounds, motivations and goals. I am the youngest, so I‘m lucky to be able to benefit from their experience and perspective on the world of work, which is very rewarding, especially during group coaching.
When you take online training, you can sometimes feel a little lonely in front of the screen. The coaching set up in EDHEC Online’s training courses is there precisely to support you in your training but also your career project. How has it been beneficial to you?
The first terms were more focused on the classes themselves and then we started to have individual and group coaching. We can give each other feedback in group sessions and this allows us to get to know the members of our class.
Having coaching sessions was very important to me. The classes allow me to strengthen the foundation I acquired during my Bachelor’s degree. But it is especially all this reflection that EDHEC allows me to have on my career and on the future that is useful to me. When I joined EDHEC, I had no idea which path to take. Even though I still don’t know exactly, my project is progressing well. When I graduate in February-March, I would like to go abroad. I know that everything that is currently underway, like coaching, will help me find my way.
We also have the consulting project. We are working in partnership with a company on a defined issue until the end of the MSc. I have the opportunity to work with Marriott because I am interested in the hospitality industry. That brings us additional professional experience, we adopt a bit of a consultant posture, we do research and we propose strategies. That also makes it possible to grow our professional projects.
How do you balance your training and your personal life?
When you start a term, you have access to all the classes of that term. It is then up to us to follow the timetable but, if we have a little time, we can continue. It is necessary to know how to stop and separate the “studies” part from the “private life” part.
How do you see your career in the coming years?
I don’t have a specific career plan yet. We’re working on that right now during the coaching sessions. I feel like I have ten brains that want to have ten different careers in ten different countries. It’s a little complicated to choose! There are many areas that interest me, such as hospitality, human resources and consulting. Nothing is fixed for the moment, but it will evolve in the coming months. I want to go abroad, anyway.
In addition to coaching, I’m participating in EDHEC alumni events. Even as an online student, you are part of the alumni without having to wait to graduate. I’m trying to maximise all opportunities to reflect on my professional project.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to train online?
Don’t be reluctant to follow online training thinking that you will be “set aside”. You have to choose the right online training, have a framework and know your objectives. For example, if you want to improve in finance or marketing, you focus on the classes themselves and spend more time on them. If your goal, as in my case, is to solidify the foundations while thinking about your career, you spend less time on classes and invest more in coaching, the consulting project, the alumni network and anything else that could help develop your professional project. It is up to us to ensure that the programme becomes what we expect from it.
When you know that you are ready to dedicate time to training, you have to give yourself the means to succeed to make the most of it.