From recent graduates to more seasoned profiles with professional experience under their belt, the emlyon MSc in Strategy & Consulting cohort is diversity personified. Add into the mix an array of nationalities and academic backgrounds, and the richness of the learning experience for the program's students should come as no surprise. Members of the current intake share why they opted for the MSc and the educational and professional track record with which they arrived on the program.

One of the pillars of the MSc in Strategy & Consulting is its recruitment policy, where firm emphasis is placed upon welcoming student talent from all manner of academic and geographic backgrounds. The current cohort comprises 61 students of 18 different nationalities. Antoine El Ghaziri, a Lebanese-born graduate in Engineering is emblematic of the hybrid make-up of the student body: “I arrived in France on the back of undergraduate studies in Engineering from my native country. Coming to France has enabled me to pursue a double degree in Civil Engineering and now the MSc in Strategy & Consulting. This change of country and switch of disciplines has opened my eyes to creative approaches to problem-solving”.

The benefit of varied experience

Another guiding principle behind the recruitment strategy is to attract students with or without professional experience from various fields. The MSc is anything but a closed shop. Indian-born Paul Saikat arrived with the benefit of previous knowledge working in the field: “following Bachelor and Master-level studies in Accounting & Finance in Calcutta I entered the working world, for 2 years in Tata's Consulting service and then 8 months as a senior associate. France and emlyon provided the avenue I was looking for to move away from Finance and gain deeper insight into the consulting industry with the global exposure the program provides”.

Vuong Nguyen, a Vietnamese student who arrived at emlyon equipped with a Bachelor of Arts from Birmingham (UK) and time spent working in Marketing back home, made a very lucid, targeted choice of MSc: “I have always been passionate about leveraging my expertise to help business grow, especially in digital transformation. However, I was still lacking necessary consulting skill sets and knowledge. That motivated me to pursue a master's degree with a view to honing my skills as a consultant and start my own consulting business. I had worked for companies of all sizes and in a range of sectors. The MSc was a conscious decision to re-orientate my career”.

Key program takeaways

The focus of the program upon strategy is borne out by the experiences and feedback of its students. Practice makes perfect and, for German graduate in Law Muskaan Multani, this is a key component of the MSc and a major reason behind its success: “during and after my Bachelor's, I gained experience in different companies and fields. I soon noticed that “Getting the strategy right” is the heart of all those professions. In my current role as a Legal Consultant, I have realized that although consultancy is the right field for me, I want to emphasize the strategic aspect. This MSc is one of the few programs offering so such a focus”.

The experience of moving to France represents a challenge for international students but, as Muskaan continues, the takeaways from the MSc are the ultimate rubber stamp for his choice of school and studies: the school delivers on its promise of hands-on learning, providing us not only with the requisite knowledge by working on real-case examples but also skill sets such as group work, communication skills, project management etc.” In addition, those who join the program following a certain number of years working in the field have to re-adapt to the rhythm and different kind of intensity of academic life. However, when questioned, many students had actively plumped for a significant change of discipline and country with clear career goals in mind.

Variety the spice of life

The MSc in Strategy & Consulting clearly represents a challenging investment for each student. However, for a student such as Canadian-born graduate in Political Science Alexia Kramble, the notion of challenge is precisely what drew her to the program, school and destination in the first place: “I had always wanted to take my studies to Masters level in France, plus emlyon was one of the very few schools able to offer a program prioritizing the strategic dimension to consulting and the international component I was looking for. Living in France has been a dream come true and emlyon has provided me with the opportunity to do this. My classmates are the best I could have ever asked for and are all so supportive and intelligent in their own ways coming from different education and geographical backgrounds”. Based on the experiences of these 5 students, the program underlines more than ever that variety is the spice of life for up-and-coming strategic consultants.

Some international MSc SCO students