17 Jan 2019 21:07 IST

Gaining new perspectives at UPEM

Studying international management offered insights into customising strategies for different countries

I was pleasantly surprised when I got to know that my college had selected me to be an exchange student at University of Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée in Paris, France. It was an opportunity for me to stay in a new country, learn about its culture and also gain exposure to different business practices and methods.

The experience at UPEM was an amazing one. Everyone at the university went out of their way to make my stay memorable, right from helping with the initial registration processes to guiding me on how to get settled in the city.

I chose to study ‘Management International’ at the university; this is a study program comprising some of the most useful courses for future managers, viewing them from a global perspective. The Human Resource Management course, for example, dealt primarily with adopting various HRM practices for different countries. The case studies we analysed talked about different cultures and how to adapt known solutions to their specific requirements.

Fresh insights

Another course that I liked a lot was Marketing Research. In that course, we had to design a new product from the ground up and had to come up with strategies for marketing it. It involved studying the various political, economic, social and legal aspects of different countries to successfully implement our strategies across regions.

We also interviewed the people for whom our product was intended, to get an idea about what people like and dislike about the product. The courses at UPEM gave me a new perspective of looking at business ideas and management, one that is quite different from what I gained when studying in our country. Even more than this, what I feel was more important was getting to know the different people and their different cultures.

Cross-cultural interactions

Being an international study programme, there were students from different countries including Spain, Italy, Algeria, Romania and, of course, France. I stayed at government housing for students which allowed me to meet people from even more countries. Getting to know all these people and interacting with them, made me appreciate the viewpoints and knowledge of people from various cultures. This is, I feel, as important a learning as our regular academic courses. I also got to learn a little French, as we had a course called ‘French as a foreign language’ that dealt with the basics of the language along with sentence formation and correct pronunciation.

I am thankful to all the teachers at my university at my college who trusted me and gave me this opportunity to represent my college in a foreign university. It was truly an enlightening experience and a dream come true for me.

(Gourav is in IMI Kolkata's PGDM Batch 2017-19.)