The emlyon business school MSc in Supply Chain & Purchasing Management is a truly international program in terms of student cohort, faculty, course content, and objectives. However, from a triple academic, corporate, and student perspective, it emerges that training can be also international when nationality is no longer an issue and multiculturalism an opportunity to be seized with both hands.

Delivered to a cohort of whom 75% are non-French, where students are encouraged to take their internships abroad, where many of them speak 3 languages, and benefit from the knowledge of a cosmopolitan faculty, the MSc program is international across the board. But, as witnessed and confirmed by Program Director Eric David, Procurement Consultant and frequent program contributor Tony Bocock and current student Kamel El Bob, the international dimension that sets the training aside from others on the market is more than a series of key stats. To quote Eric David, one of the primary motivations is “to instil an international way of thinking, being and acting. We will be reinforcing this aspect from 2022 by making the command of 3 languages a necessity”. Welcome to a program with a clear emphasis on the global nature of the profession, without nationality being a raison d'être or, most importantly, an obstacle to learning the ropes.

When experience abroad offers reassurance

The cosmopolitan dimension to the program is a strong selling point, in terms of attracting students from around the world and providing insight into the nature of the Supply Chain and Purchasing Management industry. For Lebanese MSc student Kamel, it also provides reassurance: “when we talk about the cosmopolitan nature of the program, I do not consider it something unusual or incomprehensible. In fact, being able to have multicultural teachers who graduated, worked and evolved in many professions and on an international level gave us some sort of certainty in the life lessons we were receiving.” In concrete terms, the course includes such wide-ranging international components as an International Seminar in a European Union country, comprising corporate conferences with company involvement designed to provide insight into the impact of the economic environment on business practices and providing international networking opportunities. Considerable class time is concentrated on International Trade, International Negotiation, Intercultural Business, International Supply Chain, and International Purchasing, plus the chance of a learning trip abroad is also available to interested parties.

The corporate angle

For the past 3 years Tony Bocock, a highly experienced Procurement Consultant, has been contributing to delivery of course content, in parallel with participating in emlyon business school Executive Education programs. For him, the win-win nature of this collaboration is plain for all to see: “it's fascinating to see what the new, more environmental, international, and CSR-driven priorities of this new generation are. They benefit from my industry experience and it's refreshing for me to tap into what is making them tick and in what direction they want to see the profession heading.” Maybe surprisingly to some, Tony does not insist so much on the international nature of the profession and the program as the need to no longer think in terms of nationality: “if we're honest, procurement is a cost issue. OK, you have to factor in currency movements from one country to another, but the only international issues related to sourcing products from one place to another are mainly financial. We need to instil a global mindset but also ingrain the idea that countries can and should work with one another and not despite one another. That's where this MSc does the job so well and it's no coincidence that, for example, students from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East come to emlyon to see and understand how business is done in the West and then how to do business with the West”.

An international destination and education

As well as the business school itself and the pulling power of the opportunities it offers, Lyon weighs heavy in the balance. As a location it has attracted over 900 foreign capital companies employing 50+ staff and has also delivered the MSc from its Shanghai campus since 2007. As Eric David concurs, “we encourage student mobility both during and beyond their studies as much as possible. Learning in just one place will ultimately render the learning process and the business knowledge you acquire more superficial”. As far as current student Kamel is concerned, he will never forget what he qualifies as his “personal multiracial class”: “during our courses we had group work and assignments that allowed us to open up about our hometown, our cultures, our traditions… Courses that allowed us to share our experience with ethnic inclusiveness whether it was with Lebanese people, like myself, French, Chinese or Indians.” Clearly a program that has been going global for quite some time.