EM Normandie Experience: another way of seeing education

Photo : EM Normandie Experience: another way of seeing education

In respect of training, EM Normandie stands out by wanting to provide something different to those who join: an experience of life! An ambitious project with innovative perspectives and which places the student on the forefront of his/her own personal and professional development. Meeting with Mathilde Brossier and Marielle Lassarat.

For the past 150 years, EM Normandie has been rolling out an exceptional educational offering by adapting its teaching to the evolution of the economic world.
Conscious that a successful career is based on an individual’s capacity to question his or her actions so as to better deal with unforeseeable events, for the past few years, the school has redirected its educational program.
This unique project offers students the opportunity to access knowledge while interacting within an environment which defines itself as an area of constant experiments! As a result, the school becomes a place where life, creativity, exchanges, sharing and learning create the ideal backdrop for meeting people, asking questions and experimenting, all of which are always a source of tangible lessons.
If the essence of an experience is to change the person living it, then, according to Mathilde Brossier, the EM Normandie Experience is aimed at giving our students the opportunity to be the main actors of the development of their skill sets and their personal and professional evolution, taking them to the threshold of a bold career and turning them into managers who are as responsible as they are committed, fulfilled and fully aware of their qualities.”

Our basics: a new and infinite array of experiences

In this perspective, the school is constantly developing and reinventing the four pillars of its educational offering so as to enable constant experimentation.
As Mathilde explains, the academic arena now prioritises acquiring knowledge and skills which are based on group work and team-building, through virtual classes or serious games, the learning curve is constantly reinventing itself in this respect.”
Although it remains the place where the basics are taught (marketing, finance, law…), “there are also new complementary subjects such as sustainability, social responsibility or new technologies. In addition, so as to ensure that everyone can assert their individuality and develop their own attractiveness, there are also optional subjects such as psychology, ethics, history etc.”
For every student, the international experience is currently the opportunity to immerse him or herself in other cultures and to discover other ways of thinking. A crucial step for those who will one day choose to expatriate and one which EM Normandie encourages by offering the possibility of spending up to 5 years studying abroad on the campuses of Dublin or Oxford, or at one of its 200 partner universities.
The third pillar of the school is the professional work experience during which students benefit from training experience which facilitates their entry into the professional world. Mandatory placements, case studies, corporate missions, alternate studying and working, all contribute to enabling each and every student to progress by developing his/her skills.
Finally, the association allows our students to get involved in projects which they are passionate about, and to practice the theoretical lessons they have learnt, or the technical and behavioural know-how they have acquired whilst working in the corporate environment.
In addition to this important strategic axis which is driven by the Brand and Experience Division of the school headed up by Mathilde, there is an exclusive support aspect which is incorporated in the programme and which enables each student to assert his or her individuality, to define his or her choices and desires and to be the main actor in his or her own project: the Career Path!

The Career Path… the fundamental tool box!

As explained by Marielle Lasarrat, Director of the Career Path, “this support aspect, created 7 years ago, enables us to allow the students to be in a more reflective headspace. Designed as an element of identification, it offers them the opportunity to systematically analyse the experiences they live through at the school and gives them the tools required to bring their projects, their skills and their development into perspective. In this respect, it allows them to progressively identify their skills and values and, in the long term, to considerably change the way they see the school, through the lens of an educational offering which prioritises collective intelligence.”
The multimodal resources made available by this feature are primarily aimed at helping the students become acquainted with the corporate world. Marielle continues, “firstly, the Career Path is an online platform which publishes tutorials. However, it is also individual or group coaching sessions and conference cycles which constantly contribute to our students’ reflexion… this is a progressive type of support which is rolled out within a certain framework, peppered with highlights. The Talent Review for example, is an important stage in their development. This oral presentation of their professional experience means that they create links between the latter and their training program and identify the specific skills they have developed. Once they have completed M2, the Talent Check then enables them to present a comprehensive offer when they encounter HR professionals at their individual interviews.”
The challenge of the Career Path is also to support the students’ attempts to find work in the best possible conditions! According to Marielle, “this support acts as a catalyst to enable the students to determine who they want to become. Using their experience, we drive them to make informed choices in respect of what makes sense to them. Insightful, the Career Path also acts as a facilitator for both the students and the partner companies with which we work and develop various types of events. Every year, we organise approximately 10 PROFESSIONAL WORKSHOPS on the campuses in France. In these workshops, we ask over 90 alumni – whose role is fundamental for us – to introduce the participants to the area in which they work and answer the students’ questions.
The students then have a better understanding of the employment market, they start to familiarise themselves with networking techniques and develop meaningful relationships, thereby often discovering the path they wish to follow. We also organise the JOBMEETUP! This is a forum where we ask over 20 companies to put our students in real-life interview situations. Our students apply and receive constructive feedback as regards their ability to sell themselves. Finally, JOBDATINGS ALTERNANCE helps both our students to find work experience and our partner companies to recruit, fully informed as to the value added of this support from a human perspective.”

Towards an education based on sharing

On the basis that someone who is fulfilled is better prepared to face his or her fate, the Career Path “offers each and every student the opportunity to acknowledge his or her individuality and talent!” explains Marielle. In this context, this support turns personal development into a fundamental challenge. By prioritising communication, listening and group experimentation, learning becomes part of a reflective dynamic and education is based on sharing.
Mathilde and Marielle conclude that “this project is based on our values! We are building together with our students, and sharing the joint responsibility with them. By joining the school, they are backing the EM Normandie brand and becoming its representatives. This brand will be the reason for the initiatives they will take throughout their career. In the meantime, our aim is to ensure that they understand that they have an important role to play in this human adventure and which is based on a two-prong promise: to lead them to their place of power and to offer them the tools to continually reinvent themselves. In only a few years, the EM Normandie Experience has imposed itself as a defining strategic axis: not only because the grandes ecoles do not offer anything similar, but also because it is creating a new type of student: one who is autonomous and fully in control of his or her fate. An uplifted student!”

Interview by Jérôme Buisson


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