5 tips for applying to a business school from ESCP Europe

One of ESCP Europe’s admissions coordinators offers her top five tips for a successful application
Application advice

ESCP Europe is the world’s oldest business school and is consistently ranked among the continent’s top business course providers.

The school has five European campuses – Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Torino – offering students a truly global learning experience and preparing them for an international career.

A full range of masters, MBA and PhD programmes are available, and courses are designed to meet the specific requirements and interests of all of its students.

Applying to study at ESCP Europe is a very competitive process, which is in many ways more demanding and in-depth than that of other business schools. 

We spoke to Crochenka McCarthy, admissions coordinator at ESCP Europe, who offered her top five tips for a successful application.

1. Do your research

“It’s really important to take the time to fully understand the specifics of the course for which you are applying. One of the things we are particularly wary of here at ESCP Europe are applications from students who haven’t fully researched the specific course they are applying to, such as the programme structure or the career paths it could potentially lead to. 

“You’ll need to be able to demonstrate you have considered both the course and the learning environment at ESCP Europe itself in sufficient depth. Read up the kind of work and activities you’ll be doing on the course and how it fits in with your future career plans. 

All this information is available on the ESCP Europe website. For any further insights, just call us – we are only too happy to answer any questions you might have.” 

2. Choose your referees carefully

“One thing that applicants don’t always appreciate is quite how important it is to have strong references to support your application. Whichever course you apply for, you will be required to select two referees, one of which should have an academic connection to you and the other professional. 

“A large proportion of the course is taught in small groups or workshops, so your referees should ideally be people who have seen you performing in a group setting or as part of a team. It’s also important to see evidence of leadership skills, given that the majority of graduates from ESCP Europe will be going on to management roles within international organisations.

“Finally, it might seem an obvious point to make, but make sure each of your referees is someone whose assessment of you is going to be favourable.”

3. Stay relevant

“One of the most common oversights we see in the applications is a lack of relevance in the skills and experience people list on their application form and CV. 

“Above all, what we want to see is commercial acumen and, ideally, evidence of experience in a commercial environment. Even if you’ve only worked as an intern or in a voluntary role, we want to know what you’ve learned from the process and how this feeds into your motivation to work in a business role post graduation.

“This goes for the interview stage as well: the panel will look to test your commercial awareness and understanding of current themes and developments in the world of business.

“Spend time reading the Financial Times or other business publications. Be ready to have an informed conversation about what the markets are doing or where the price of oil is headed.” 

4. Know yourself

“What we really want to know, particularly at the interview stage, is who you really are as a person and whether you are a good match for ESCP Europe. 

“Our courses are very hands-on; we want students who are proactive and willing to engage and be involved in their own learning. It’s up to you to make sure these qualities come across in your application.

“Once you reach the interview stage, the panel – usually comprised of the course director, a member of the academic staff and an ESCP Europe alumnus – will seek to establish an idea of your background, your professional ambitions, and what you want to get out of the course.

“Spend time really getting to grips with your CV and other application materials. Do they really describe who you are? Are you able to justify and explain your achievements and decisions to date?”

5. Enjoy it!

“The application process at ESCP Europe is more personalised and perhaps less rigid than those of some other business schools.

“Above all, the process is there to gain an insight into your personality, and to see whether you are a good fit for the ESCP Europe culture - and vice versa. We want you to be engaged and involved in the process; to show us who you really are, who you are going to be, and what you want from life. 

“The people we tend to accept onto our programmes are proactive and already have a strong idea of where they want to be after graduation. They aren’t just looking for somewhere to study for 12 or 18 months, but are looking to ESCP Europe to help them on the path towards reaching their long-term career goals.”

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Four courses to consider at ESCP Europe

Master in Energy Management (MEM)

15-month specialised Master for those aiming towards a career in the energy sector. Taught in English at our London and Paris campuses, and includes an optional one-week seminar in Canada. Next intake: October 2015.

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MSc in Marketing & Creativity (MMK)

18-month programme taught in English at our London and Paris campuses which offers all the elements of a high-level MSc programme and an innovative approach which places creativity at its very core. Next intake: January 2016.

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Master in European Business (MEB)

An intensive, 1-year general management programme taught in two countries of your choice. Based on an MBA-style curriculum with a cross-cultural approach. Next intake: September 2015.

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Master in Management (MIM)

A two-year, full-time general management Master programme which provides the opportunity to study in up to three countries. Ranked 7th worldwide by the FT. Next intake: September 2015. 

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