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Redefining Executive Education

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Student Blog

No winter lasts forever, and no spring skips its turn. Finally spring has arrived, and Parisians are aware of it. The change of mood in people is clear; the way they dress, the way they act, and the places they go have changed from one day to the next. When the sun comes out in Paris people head outdoors to enjoy the parks with their families and friends, go to restaurants with nice terraces or rooftops. The sunny weather along with the time change give a buzz to the energy of Parisians. Paris is very nice to visit any season, but spring is one people’s favorite since the weather isn’t as cold as in winter or as hot as in summer.

What to do in Paris in spring? Get out of your house to walk - anywhere but walk -, take advantage of the climate and search for new places, find hidden streets and Parisian cafes and terraces to enjoy a drink. Go to any garden: Luxemburg, Tuileries, Versailles. Anywhere at the St. Martin Canal is a nice place to sit either on the edge of the canal or in any brasserie, café, or bar. Picnics beside the Seine River

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An abrupt and unaccountable change of moods will define Paris during the last couple of months. From weather craziness that no one can escape, to strikes whose objectives are never quite clear; they are just part of the city. These are the two most commented topics in any discussion with friends, family, or colleagues.

We could explain how the weather has been crazy in Paris by saying how we had for three days in a row a rainbow appearing in the middle of the day. It seems Paris is not sure if it wants to receive spring yet. We can wake up on a cloudy day, and after a couple of hours it will get sunny making everyone run out onto a terrace to enjoy the sun but then, suddenly, rain without any warning. I’m not sure when it is going to get back to a normal or at least to one type of weather. So for the time being, take an umbrella, sunglasses, and a scarf every time you get out of your house.

And then you have strikes. The French have gained a reputation as the world champions of strikes (“les grèves” in French). However, France is not

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The coldest months. That would resume them fairly well for me. Since my arrival in September, Paris has become colder month after month. Now I understand why people at the beginning told me that I had to take advantage of the sun during the first few months (which made me laugh as the standard for what constitutes significant sunlight is much higher in my country). Staying in Paris for Christmas and New Year’s Eve was an amazing experience. It was the first time in my life that I was outside the United States during those dates. Walking through any Parisian street definitely felt like I was cast in some sort of movie.

Some tips I would give to young people living in Paris would be:

  1. Learn French. It’s harder without it here. Most people say they know English, but they don’t, trust me. I started by watching movies with French subtitles, then moved on to watching TV series I’d already seen, such as “Friends,” in French. This allows you to have some context for what is happening and to more easily relate it to French words. Speaking French is like an aerobic exercise. The more you practice, the better you
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It has almost been one year since I got on a plane and moved my entire life here. In other words, I sold all my things, gave up my job—and the ease of American life—to come to Paris and rough it out as a Masters Student. When I first arrived, with a lot up in the air, Paris was tragically the victim of a terrorist attack. Almost a year of juggling my MBA, a trip to NYC, papers, classes & jobs later, Paris was ineffably struck once more.

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Whenever I travel to Paris for classes, I try to stay a day longer to get to know the city more as Paris is very charming. You will find yourself adoring the amazing architecture of the buildings, beautiful gardens and the impressive views during the day and at night. Although Paris tends to be quite hectic during the day, in the evening, especially on the warmer days, people gather in coffees shops, along the side of the river Seine, or the St. Martin Canal, savoring good food and drinking wine and other beverages.

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Last week, ISM held their Welcome Reception, inviting students and other members of the ISM community to gather with ISM staff and guests to unveil their new space. The reception was an event intended to introduce its new facilities with a celebration, giving everyone a chance to get aquatinted with the new location and experience the growth of the institution first hand.
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My parents just came to Paris for the first time for a brief 3-day visit. As we were walking around the city, enjoying the sunshine and warm temperatures, my dad said while taking photos of Notre Dame, “How do you find the time to concentrate on schoolwork with all of this beauty around you?” I laughed at him and I said, I’m not sure, but it is hard!” I never had to think about that. This is now the third time I’ve lived in Paris, and I’ve had so many opportunities to explore the wonders here. This time around, it’s all a bit different for me.

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It’s been over 10 years since the last time I lived in my home country. I lived in the United States and now, I live in Belgium. When I am asked today where my home is, I am not able to answer. Is it the town where I grew up, Prague, Denver or Brussels? People say your home is where your heart is. My heart seems to be spread across all the places I have lived in.This leads me to believe that in today’s globalized world, when many of us often move to new places for work, school or any other reason, we become citizens of the world.

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The ISM seminars in Paris are conducted over three consecutive days with eight hours of lectures per day. It's basically 24 hours in total (including breaks), which are spent on one subject. Every student needs to stay focused to absorb as much information as possible. This can be straining not only for the students, but also for the professor. The overall experience of the seminar very much depends on professor's approach and the level of preparation. They need to take into consideration not only the delivery of the required information, but also activities to engage the students and make the seminars dynamic.

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At the beginning of January, I attended the first of the many seminars I have planned to take this year in Paris. Although this wasn't my first trip to Paris, it was the first time I went to the International School of Management.

About two months in advance of every seminar, all the necessary documents, including the syllabus, required reading, pre-seminar assignments and other needed documents are posted on the school's learning management system for students called "MyISM". This gives students enough time to be well prepared for seminars.

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Moving back to Paris didn't even feel like an option for me. I knew after studying here in 2013 that I wasn't done with this city.

I decided to take a French course during my undergraduate studies. To be honest, I found it very challenging. The class met four days per week and required me to memorize a copious amount of material in a short amount of time. The semester ended, and I received a 'B' in the course, which was a big deal for me at the time. I decided I would not enroll the following semester.

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"What have I put myself into now?!!!" I thought to myself, slapping my forehead repeatedly. This was my state of mind as I pondered over the fact that I had to hand in my first MBA assignment in less than 3 weeks whilst working full time and leading my team of students into the next WorldMUN conference, being held in Brussels, half way across the world. Not only was it very far away from the land down under and I was experiencing terrible jet lag, but I had not written an academic paper for about ten years and so to say the least. I was a bit rusty. It was clear; I was officially in panic mode!

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I always heard about Montmartre and how charming it is, but until now I didn't have the chance to visit it. So finally last weekend, I decided to join a guided tour in Montmartre. I preferred guided tours rather than self given tours in order to get sufficient information and knowledge of the places I visit. The tour was so amazing and the place was more than charming. It was very nice to find myself in the place that hosts colorful artists, writers, painters, musicians, sculptors and architects. In the past, it was the biggest host for all kind of artists. Let me give you some brief history about this historic place.

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The ISM Annual Winter Reception was held on December 4th, 2014, in Paris, France. Professor Jack Forget, ISM's President, and Alison Knight, ISM's Director of Recruitment, began by welcoming everyone and the new students enrolled in different programs (MBA, IEMBA, DBA, and PhD). They gave a brief overview about the future plans for ISM, and the forthcoming updates within the school, plus presenting some photos taken for ISM students during their seminars at ISM's partner locations.

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Negotiation and conflict resolution was the subject of the last seminar that I attended in Paris. I found it to be very useful, as conflict management plays a vital role in our business and personal lives. Conflict always arises as everyone has different interests, and most of the time nobody wants to compromise. This often leads to negativity and disagreement between individuals, and ends up with fights, unresolved issues, and conclusions that are never reached.

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Don’t go to Paris, it’s expensive!

The French people are not friendly.

You will not survive unless you have good knowledge of French language.

These are some of the most popular words of advice that you will hear when you mention that you are planning to study in France. But are they right? Is Paris really an expensive city for students to live in? Are the French people unfriendly? Will you get lost if you don’t have at least a basic level of the French language? The answer is NO- all of what you heard about Paris is untrue. .

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I started my first job shortly after completing my first degree, and I found that the real workplace was quite different from the classroom and from the internships. It was a rough immersion into the real world. Eighteen years and a number of jobs later, I found myself looking for options to broaden my knowledge and give some additional and fresh theoretical framework to what I have acquired through my work experience. Given my area of work, an MBA came up as the next natural step.

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