CEMS – Europe’s best are going global

Skrevet af Lidewei Mulders - Foto: René Lynge - 3. april 2008 - 13:420 kommentarer

The Community of European Management Schools stay rue to its self-confessed entrepreneurial spirit, the European edge in international business gets sharper and gets ready to go global

The young CEMS MIM (Master’s in International Management) program seems to be a high flier. So are the young men and women selected to participate in it. The program is presently ranked 2nd overall in the Financial Times’ international ranking of the best Masters in Management programmes and can boast of being in first place on certain key aspects such as value for money, international alumni mobility and international faculty.

Presently a joint degree of the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS), 17 of Europe’s best business schools, MIM churns out 600 students a year. In line with its global aspirations, it is now setting its sights higher and aspires to reach beyond Europe’s borders. Several of its associate members outside of Europe are in the process of becoming full members, while more and more non-European students want to enrol.

Of being chosen…

Diversity is the key, as students come to CBS from all over in order to apply for entrance into the CEMS programme. Competition is tough, and the selection process is rigorous (see info box). Among the requirements are fluency in three European languages, integrity, team-spirit, ambition and an international mindset.

According to Sven Junghagen, CBS Vice President of International Affairs and Academic Director of the CEMS programme:

- A perfect CEMS student wants to graduate in order to do good, not just to do well.

Students also have to provide a top five list of schools they would like to attend, and they have to argue for it in their personal interview.

- The most important thing, however, is that the students convince us that they want to be a part of the CEMS family – not just because they want that one exchange spot at London School of Economics, but because they want to be a contributing member to the CEMS community as a whole, emphasizes Sven Junghagen.

…and making choices

Most often, students’ decisions are made based on the courses the partner business school has to offer, the quality of the school, the language spoken or the culture in that particular country and now even on the rankings of Financial Times. Among the top picks are ESADE in Barcelona, London School of Economics (LSE) and HEC Paris.

For CBS students, sunshine and a warm climate can also tend to be among their criteria for selecting their exchange semester, making other Scandinavian schools less popular choices.

- I suspect that Bergen and Helsinki are not among the most popular destinations because they are too similar to CBS for many of the Danish CEMS students. On the other hand, CBS students from abroad often choose Stockholm to give them an additional Scandinavian experience, Sven Junghagen points out.

Blind spot East

Other less popular exchange places for CBS CEMS students include the Eastern-European schools. Students claim that they are not of the same quality standards, but Sven Junghagen defends these schools:

- Of course it would be stupid to say that there is no difference in quality, but it’s simply not right to consider these schools as being of an inferior quality. Corvinus in Budapest has very good courses in marketing, whereas Warsaw and Prague are very good at economics. The CEMS-community guarantees a high level of quality across all of the associated schools, and anything above that level is an additional benefit.

One of the aspects affecting the students’ perception of quality is the number of so-called contact hours, hours of self-study and overall teaching style. It is a challenge requiring students to be flexible and able to anticipate varying circumstances.

- The effort students put into their courses varies enormously per course, Polish students can either do nothing and obtain a degree or work extremely hard. However at the same time, there are some great CEMS courses where CBS could learn from Warsaw, CEMS-student Charlotte Povel, who studied a semester at Warsaw School of Economics, explains.

Recruitment heaven

No matter where they have studied, there is no shortage of job opportunities for the CEMS graduates. They enjoy an employment percentage of 95 percent within three months of graduation, and are mostly employed by the corporate partners of CEMS – all renowned companies like L’Oreal, Nokia and Nestle.

It is the CEMS-students themselves who pick out companies and recruit new corporate partners through the local CEMS Clubs of each campus. Starting with only nine, the program currently has 55 corporate partners, though not just any business willing to cough up the currency can become partner.

There are requirements regarding size, international scope and being a leader in the company’s field as well as being willing to contribute to development of the program. Often the corporate partners are involved right from the selection of students for the program, and they continue to interact with the students by participating in CEMS skill seminars and business projects.

Future Challenges

By including and involving all of its stakeholders, CEMS is trying to nurture a community feeling. Be it students, corporate partners, alumni or academic members, all of them have an interest in helping each other achieve the right balance between academic excellence and the appropriate practical experience.

CEMS has not only the personal development of students to consider, but also its own position in an increasingly competitive environment. The program is beginning to feel the heat from competing double degree programs that are more globally oriented. It will be interesting to see how this essentially European community will open up to the rest of the world.


Getting with the CEMS program

The CEMS application consists of:

  • CBS CEMS Application Form

  • CEMS Common Application Form

  • Motivation letter and Curriculum Vitae

  • Proposed Personal CEMS Study Plan

  • Two passport-sized photos

  • Appendices (Must be in English: Bachelor transcript, language test results of both foreign CEMS languages, relevant recommendations, latest grades from graduate studies etc.)

Application forms will be available from mid-October at the CEMS Office:
CEMS Study Secretariet, Porcelænshaven 24B, 4.72, 2000 Frederiksberg.

On the basis of the application students will be accepted or rejected into the next round, consisting of a personal interview with a panel of CEMS representatives, including a corporate partner.

For more information on the CEMS MIM programme, log on to: www.cems.org

For more information about Copenhagen CEMS Club activities, log on to: cems-club@cbs.dk