Ma from Dalian, China – student of MSc International Agribusiness
Me, I like to be different to the others, and when job hunting I believe it to be an advantage. So I decided to follow the MSc International Agribusiness course. Rare are the courses like this which enable you to acquire multi skills – in technology and business.
I discovered Groupe ESA from a chance encounter with Richard Waldron, one of the lecturers, when I was following the course at CIDEF ‘Centre International D’Ètudes Françaises’, on a nearby campus.
In China I had studied economy and computer science, so knew next to nothing about the rural scene. So Richard found me a couple of pre-entry work placements on local farms where I lent a hand with the daily work and lived ‘en famille’, improved my conversational French, and discovered farming. I fell in love with countryside life, the landscapes, its inhabitants – even if farm work is a bit difficult for a young girl who has never set foot in a field.
Before beginning the MSc course I participated in the fortnight long ‘séquence d’adaptation’ along with other foreigners from all the continents, which was designed to help us integrate successfully our chosen studies. The programme was complete because there was intensive French (at different levels) and a cultural initiation. We practiced oral presentations before our colleagues; there were several professional visits including a wine-grower, and SPACE the well-known farm show of western France. To end there was a class dinner where everyone brought something typical of his/her homeland’s gastronomy – what a souvenir.
The MSc course began with a 3 month module on analysis and management of international markets for farm and food products, which was followed by students of several different nationalities. The lectures were assured not only by ESA lecturers but also by business owners or managers, and by foreign invited professors. The curriculum included a study-trip to the Netherlands where we visited several great international businesses, and even the port of Rotterdam with its ships loaded with merchandise and its modern and efficient logistical facilities an eye-opener for us young students who are future international managers.
At time of writing I am finishing my end-of-studies project in a liqueur firm at Aix-en-Provence (in the south of France), where I am working on a project to adapt liqueurs to the Chinese market. My french has improved enormously and so has my ability to taste and judge the alcohols which the French drink. I used to be timid, but I have been told that I have changed since coming here.
I will soon be beginning my professional career, but one never stops learning. There are things that can’t be found in books, and thus we ‘mature’.