Shriram Joshi, Rouen Business School

Preparing for your studies at Rouen Business School

Hello! My name is Shriram Joshi and I am a MBA student at Rouen Business School. This article is about my experience in France & more specifically at Rouen Business School.

Why France? Before coming to France, I had worked with various companies for over 20 years. Instead of going to the US, UK or Australia, which are popular destination among Indian students, I decided to come to France because:

  • The French Education system is one of the best in the world
  • Many higher education courses are now taught in English
  • Visa formalities are straightforward and quick
  • It gives us the chance to explore the career opportunities available in non-English speaking countries

Rouen Business School, adjacent to Rouen University, is a prestigious French business school, situated on the plateau of Mont- Saint- Aignan, a suburb of Rouen. It offers various management courses in English & French. It is one of the best known schools in France & Europe and is 140 years old. Rouen Business School was recently accredited with AACSB, making it one of just 2% of Business schools in the world to be triple accredited. This has further increased the visibility of the school and its programmes – great for graduates when applying for jobs!
The International MBA course is very well organised. Some of the professors are full time faculty members of the school and the rest are visiting professors coming from US and other foreign countries. The majority of the MBA teaching faculty have PhDs and have published their papers in various journals. The MBA is a nine month class room based course, giving students the change to study business dynamics. Everyone has to do group, individual assignments, presentation and project work. There is also an orientation week at the beginning of the year and various other international seminars.
Practical Information This course is truly international as we have 14 nationalities in our class including three Indian students, with various professional backgrounds. Course material & books are provided by the school. Additional books can be borrowed from the school’s library. A laptop is a great advantage as most of the communication is through the school’s intranet. If anyone wishes to buy a new laptop, buy it in India since French keyboards are different and we are not familiar with it.

Housing International students tend to live on campus. The choice of accommodation depends upon each individual’s budget. The Pleiade studio residence has bigger rooms with kitchen facilities, whereas most of the other residences have shared kitchens. When giving the preference of your accommodation, check all the details sent to you by school, options can chage from one year to another. The majority of the residences are within a 10 minute walk from school. Some options are available for student accommodation downtown. Wi-Fi Internet can be connected in the room through WiFirst, Orange or other service providers. There are different packages available, which can be checked out online. However, on the actual school’s premises, internet is free.
Travel Plan When you plan your journey, try to plan one month in advance. Some airlines offer concession to the students in addition to extra luggage. Organise your journey 4-5 days ahead of starting of the course. When you land at Paris CDG airport, there are alternative ways to come to Rouen-Mont Saint Aignan.

  1. The economical travel is by train. From the airport take a metro until Gare du Nord change to Magenta for Haussmann-Saint Lazare, get down & walk toward Saint Lazare railway station for Train. Generally platform 15 onward train depart for Normandy Region, which will reach Rouen in 1 hr, if it is nonstop. From Rouen station take a taxi for Mont-Saint-Aignan.
  2. Alternatively take a taxi from airport to St. Lazare station & board a train for Rouen.
  3. In case of arriving late in the evening, book a taxi through the school, directly from airport to Mont-Saint-Aignan. The taxi driver will carry keys of your halls of residence. If 2-3 students travel together the taxi is convenient & economical.

Campus France organise seminars for students who are preparing for their studies in France. Please check with local Campus France office for details.

The first day is a busy one where you will meet different members of the administrative team and people from the international office. They will guide you through much of your paper work. As you can see in the picture above, the castle like building called ‘Chateau’ is where you will find the admin offices. Paperwork includes registration of admission, identity card, bank account, insurance and bus pass. When coming here, carry 5-7 passport size photographs, copy of passport including visa and your birth date certificate translated into French (very important). You should make sure that your father & mother’s name and birth place is included on the certificate. This certificate is required for medical insurance, which is mandatory in France. Similarly most of the student gets up to 30% of their room rent reimbursed at the end of the course. To obtain this reimbursement, during course you need to fill-out an online form for ‘CAF’ (Casse Nationale des Allocations Families). CAF will be registered once your residence permit is stamped on passport. The School admin inform of when to complete all these procedures.

Day-to-day life in France Living in France is comparatively expensive compared to India however the cost of living in Rouen is much lower than in many other European cities. Generally one can budget 250-300€ expenditure for food & daily expenses. All the vegetables & fruits are available in the supermarket. There is a shopping centre close to school called ‘Place Colbert’. Most of daily life goods are available there. Another place, ‘Carrefour Supermarket’, is 10 minutes by bus on the no 4 and it is one the biggest supermarkets in this area. Most of the essentials can be bought here. It is a popular destination for students to pickup weekly groceries. Many Indian spices are available here but some Indian students prefer to bring supplies over initially. With regards to cooking utensils, they can be purchased here, however some specific utensils are better to be brought from India. For items that are better to be bought in India, it is a good idea to chat with other Indian students on Facebook. An overall budget for living & studying could be around 4000-5000€ excluding housing for the course. This obviously depends on lifestyle!
Weather When classes start in November the weather will be cold & with occasional rain. It is advisable to bring winter clothing including thermal wear. All the residential rooms and classrooms are equipped with central heating.

French Culture The French are friendly and helpful. Discipline is highly regarded. Infrastructure & overall cleanliness is very well maintained. Language can be a barrier sometimes however it is manageable. The school offers regular French language lessons at different levels as part of the course. Thanks to these classes, students can develop their French language skills. Students wishing to have more opportunities when applying to internships in France usually take extra French lessons before coming to France or before term starts when in France.
Finally, hard work is a Mantra of success. The MBA is no exception. Time management is very important. Individual’s participation in the class room is appreciated. Professional background helps to accomplish the MBA smoothly.
Best of Luck !!!

Shriram Joshi
MBA 2011, Rouen Business School