In 2023, ESCP introduced the online format for its MBA programme for the very first time. For those studying online, courses take place at the end of each week, at a convenient time for all time zones. Each course is live for the opening and closing, recorded for the rest of the module, and runs in parallel with the on-campus cohort. This endeavour not only performs as a way to recognise the challenges and aspirations of today’s professionals but successfully blends traditional and digital learning as well. Through the perspectives of three distinct students, we uncover the shared motivations and unique circumstances that led them to embrace ESCP’s online MBA journey.
The subtle art of balancing work, ambitions, and personal commitments
In the fast-paced world of the 21st century, professionals often find themselves at crossroads, needing to prioritise either their career aspirations or personal lives. Hence, a recurrent theme amongst the ESCP online MBA students is their need for flexibility.
Sebastián Eyzaguirre, who always gravitated towards the startup tech ecosystem, paints a vivid picture of his desire to expand an already thriving career, while pushing his expertise further with an MBA. Evoking his demanding role as the co-founder of his own nature-tech venture, Lemu, he finds the online model of ESCP’s MBA a perfect fit: “Choosing the online format of the MBA programme was a deliberate decision, aligned with my current professional commitments and goals. The flexibility it offers is unparalleled, allowing me to maintain my responsibilities at work while pursuing higher education.”
The same goes for Nonkululeko Mbele, a medical doctor from South Africa now working as a medical editor for large publications in Europe: “I am always ‘on-the-go’ and I knew that the perfect programme would be one that allows for flexibility, whilst providing me with a world-class education.”
On the flip side, the programme also caters to those balancing personal commitments alongside career ambitions, as Amanda Tadros’ experience testifies. A dedicated mother of two and an electrical engineer with expertise under her belt, her decision to pursue an MBA from her home had her face unique constraints. Speaking of her choice, she explains: “Due to my personal circumstances as a mother of two living in Saudi Arabia with my family, I chose an online MBA programme over a traditional on-site programme. With an online programme, I have the freedom to create a study schedule that works around my family’s needs, allowing me to be present for my children while pursuing my educational goals.” As Amanda’s perspective highlights, for many students, pursuing ESCP’s MBA in International Management online isn’t just about professional flexibility, but also about being able to be present in those personal moments that matter.
A global network from the comfort of home
The digital age now allows us to thrive in a more connected world. Now available within a fingertip’s reach, networking with a global audience from the comfort of one’s hometown has never been easier. In that sense, ESCP’s online MBA programme masterfully taps into this desire for more connection, enabling students to develop an international network without uprooting their lives.
Sebastián Eyzaguirre, who already enjoyed a significant presence in the startup landscape of LATAM through multiple years of work experience, sees the MBA as an opportunity to further amplify and develop his ambitions: “The opportunity to connect with a diverse group of individuals and the prospect of expanding my network in the European startup scene were compelling factors. ESCP, with its reputation and unique approach to business education, stood as the obvious choice for fostering my growth in this dynamic sector.” His testimony underscores the programme’s potency as a bridge to a world beyond one’s immediate geography, providing a platform for growth, exposure, and collaboration.
In the same way, hailing from South Africa and currently residing in Europe, Nonkululeko Mbele’s professional trajectory as a medical doctor showcases her adaptability and global mindset. For her, the choice was clear, rooted both in the desire for flexibility and for a broader spectrum of connections: “I was looking for a European institution with an international flair. I believe that ESCP fits these criteria.”
How to address the online challenge head-on
When it comes to online learning, where there is no need to attend physical classes on a strict schedule, the approach one adopts can make all the difference in terms of learning experience. While the virtual mode offers unparalleled convenience, it also brings its unique set of challenges. However, for the driven individuals of the ESCP online MBA programme, these challenges are often met with determination and overcome thanks to a tad of strategic planning. Amanda Tadros, with her robust engineering background and familial responsibilities, illustrates well the achievements that come from structure and commitment. Speaking about her strategy, Amanda says: “I have considered the difficulties that may arise from online learning from the very start. However, going along, I want to plan and stick to a regular study routine. I will set dedicated time for studying, completing assignments, and engaging in online discussions. By treating my online studies with the same level of commitment as I would for an on-site programme, I can ensure that I stay on track and meet deadlines.”
Similarly, Nonkululeko Mbele, coming from the field of medicine and now diving into the world of business, is well-aware of the intricacies of online learning. However, she finds strength in the community offered by ESCP. Articulating her approach, she mentioned: “Online learning is not as easy as it may sound. It often involves a lot of self-study that is guided by teachers or professors. Additionally, you don’t have the benefit of being on campus with the rest of your colleagues… I believe that I am disciplined enough to take on this challenge, and know I can rely on others on the online ‘campus’ for any help or advice. ESCP professors also provide tremendous help and support, and make the whole process easier.”
For Sebastián Eyzaguirre, juggling between time zones, work commitments, and academic aspirations has been most of the challenge. But as he demonstrates, the flexibility offered by the online programme can be put to good use: “I intend to use the flexibility of the online format to my advantage, aligning my study hours with the GMT-4 time zone I work in. I plan to set aside specific times during the week for coursework, splitting my day into study sessions in the morning and work in the afternoons.” And as his experience as a successful MBA student and startup co-founder demonstrates, with a bit of planning and assiduity, one can harmoniously blend seemingly divergent responsibilities to reach even higher goals.