One bright sunny day, in the autumn of 2016, with a lot of excitement and a little bit of scepticism, I set off for the much-anticipated Exchange term at Emlyon Business School. What follows is a hastily put-together summary of the main things about Emlyon that might help you in deciding whether you want to spend 3 months there!
CGPA Range to get into Emlyon
Emlyon mainly attracts students each year because of its prime location and its top rank amongst the French B-schools. It is quite difficult to specifically state the CGPA cut-off for Emlyon (although approximately it would be between 3.3 and 3.2) but in terms of ranks, last year it started at around 96-97 and ended at 114.
Emlyon is known for its Entrepreneurial and International Management. The courses offered range from finance to marketing, economics to operations. There are a few very good marketing courses for those who are interested. The faculty is truly international with professors of different nationalities from across the globe.
The course selection process is a simple first come first serve routine and exchange students can bid only after the home students are done with their bidding. It would therefore be advisable to first check the number of available seats and then shortlist courses to avoid last minute glitches, However, the good news is deadlines are not very sacrosanct over there and in case of any mishaps during the bidding process, your exchange co-ordinator will help you out. The bonus good news is that you can take as many subjects as you want to and later change/drop them once you have attended a week of classes.
Exchange students from India, number of seats
There are usually many Indian exchange students (IIMB, IIMA, IIMC, IIMI, IIML, IIM Trichy, XLRI) – last year there were around 25-30 Indian exchange students including 6 from IIMB. Apart from exchange students, there are also many full-time Indian students at Emlyon. The International Student Association of Emlyon (BDI) organizes many activities (trips, cocktail parties, lunches, etc) to promote bonding between the students. From the very first day, BDI is there to make the exchange term friendlier for the international students.
The school has very limited hostel accommodation options available and the sites open quite late. By that time, you would already have gone through the VISA process and would’ve needed to show accommodation proof. So, it’s a better option to search for apartments in advance. Chemin Jean-Marie Vianney, Ecully or other areas near Ecully centre are good options to consider for accommodation. Chemin Jean-Marie is at a walking distance (2-3 km) from the school. A few courses have 8.30 A.M classes and hence it would be wise to look for accommodation close to the school. Transport cards are available during the registration process at a student discount of 50%. These cards are valid for bus and metro.
You can easily fit all your classes in the first 2-3 days of the week and then travel for the rest of the days. There is usually a mid-term vacation of 10 days during mid-November.
Most of the courses do not have an attendance criterion and those that do have an 80% criterion. If a course does have an attendance criterion, it’ll be clearly mentioned in the course outline. In many cases, it is possible to miss a few extra classes provided you obtain the Professor’s approval first. Attendance is manual, a sign-sheet with the student list is passed in the class usually. In some cases, the Professor might call names to take attendance.
Projects are many in number – most courses have at least one group project/assignment. Depending on the composition of the project group (preferably exchange students), project work can be finished off easily. Although it might be more convenient to form groups with people from your home school, working in teams with people from different nationalities is a lot of fun! Most of the Erasmus (European exchange programme) students are quite considerate, except for your Deutsche Freunde!
Travel and connectivity
Lyon is quite strategically located when it comes to planning trips – Switzerland (Geneva) and South France are just a few hours away and there are trains (a few direct trains are also there) to most of the major European cities from the Lyon central station (Gare Part Dieu). However, most of the trains, except for the ones to Switzerland, require reservation. In case you are planning to travel by air, the Saint Exupery Airport is there, so that shouldn’t be an issue either. There is also an option to travel by bus (there are buses to Barcelona, Brussels, etc).
Lyon is said to be the gastronomic capital of France and if you are a hard-core non-vegetarian, you’ll be one happy soul there. But, if you are a vegetarian, then you better learn to cook before you go to Lyon! The only Vegetarian fare you’ll get at most places will be some concoction of bread, cheese, tomatoes with the occasional zucchini or artichoke thrown in! Besides, after a few weeks the food will start tasting bland, especially to the Indian palate – so it might be a good idea to cook occasionally, plus it is also economically more viable.
The course usually starts in the first week of September and final exams get over by first week of December. By mid-January, you’ll also get your online transcript. In case the exams extend beyond the first week of December and you need to get back, the concerned Professor usually takes care of it. Any outstanding assignments can be submitted online even after coming back to India. Many of the courses get over quite early, thus opening up more vacation days for you! For any issues related to the course schedule, your exchange co-ordinator will always be there to guide you.
Exams are comparatively easier, especially so after all that you’ve gone through at IIMB! You might even end up getting the best grades of your life in the exchange term! It is also possible to select courses that have no examination. Many of the courses have in-class quizzes instead of end-term exams.
Irrespective of it pros and cons, Lyon is a beautiful city and if you do go there make it a point to keep some time aside for exploring the city (the old city or Vieux Lyon in particular). And do stay back for the Fete de Lumiere, which is the biggest festival in Lyon and falls on the 8th of December every year.
Au Revoir et Bon Voyage!
Miss Rupsa Dasgupta is a final year MBA student in IIM Bangalore. She went to Emlyon Business School as a part of her exchange program for 3 months.