2018 Highlight: Ateneo Graduate School of Business students share experiences on studying abroad at ESSCA

The Ateneo Graduate School of Business, in partnership with ESSCA School of Management, a well-established business school founded in France, annually gives select students the opportunity to take up 6 units of their Elective Courses abroad through a Summer Exchange Program, usually taking place through the months of June and July.

Last 2018, these MBA students hailing from Rockwell main campus and different satellite campuses (Pampanga, Laguna, and Cebu) have taken specialized subjects in either one of ESSCA’s associate institutions: Angers, France (four weeks); Budapest, Hungary (four weeks); and Shanghai, China (six weeks).

How has it been studying abroad? Some participating students share their thoughts on taking up the AGSB-ESSCA Summer Exchange Program 2018:


ESSCA in Angers, France



  1. European Union Studies: European Economics, Politics, and Brussels Report
  2. Culture and Communication: Intercultural Communication and French Culture

“There were in-depth discussions of the European economics and politics and how they can affect the country outside the EU. The professors were very generous in providing their opinions and they were encouraging us to do the same, so we were learning things in different perspectives. Another plus is that we were not only presented with facts and theories in the classroom, but also were able to experience it first-hand because of the several educational trips provided by the program. Lastly, we were also able to collaborate, connect, and of course have fun with the other international students. We have shared each other’s culture and it made us understand and appreciate them more. It was indeed a full learning experience!” —Erika Dela Cruz, MBA Standard Program

“’Traveling is more important to your education than reading books,’ said the architect I.M. Pei. We at the ESSCA Summer Exchange Program 2018 were very fortunate to have had the chance to do both: traveling and studying all at the same time. I was really excited about seeing the different parts of France, living and studying in a city called Angers – pronounced “on-zhay” as our coordinator Margaux taught us – and of course, learning about French wine and cuisine! The most important lessons I learned in ESSCA is that culture develops from how a group of people solves its problems. The EU as well as the Philippines were both devastated by WWII but almost 75 years later, they have solved much of their problems while we are still struggling with ours. The lesson for me is in the form a question: are our problems brought about by our culture?” —Jaime Hermogenes, MBA Middle Management Program


ESSCA in Budapest, Hungary

Track 1 Courses:

  1. Business Opportunities and Economics between Europe and Asia
  2. Humanistic Management


“The best thing about the exchange program is embracing the interconnected world of business. You get to interact in a multi-level and multi-cultural learning environment while you learn about yourself. You learn how to be agile in adapting and integrating different cultural views to solve and make sound business decisions.” —Emman Tan, MBA Standard Program


“The best thing I learned from the summer exchange program is being open to differences and new things. We are equipped with knowledge and skills to begin with, but allowing ourselves to simply open up and immerse to a different educational environment and various cultures would pave the way to learning more. To quote Steve Jobs, ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’, we have to constantly crave for learning in order for us to grow and be better, but we have to empty our cups first. All in all, it was definitely a remarkable yet humbling experience that would not only be worthwhile in the academe and at work, but in life.” —Celine De Jesus, MBA Standard Program


Track 2 Courses:

  1. International Marketing and Logistics
  2. Personality Development


        “I found ESSCA’s approach unique because it integrated both marketing and logistics in one course – two fields that are highly specialized and typically organized separately in the corporate world. The course took a holistic view with an international focus, emphasizing that both are closely tied to each other and must be considered together when introducing a new product or service to a foreign market (e.g., the international product launch must have a clear and solid logistics plan). Another important point was that a firm must thoroughly understand and research the target market, immerse even, to increase its chance of success. (A “before-after” graphic, for example, can differ in the Middle East where people read from right to left.) The Self-Development course opened up new levels of understanding of my own uniqueness and how this affects my interaction with others, especially people I manage directly as the current head of supply chain of a major retail chain. The subject dealt with relevant and useful topics such as personality, ego states, conflict resolution styles, career anchors, and even personal mission and purpose and focused on my developmental needs as an individual and as a professional.” —Rankine Ruel Novabos, MBA Regis Program (Cebu Campus)


           “The summer exchange program we recently had in ESSCA-Budapest was indeed a learning goldmine. Studying International Marketing and Logistics under the tutelage of globally experienced professors had given us a fresh perspective on how these two fields go together in successfully bringing one product to a country—from sourcing raw materials to advertising, until the point of consumption. We studied market research, consumer behavior and strategies that effectively communicate a brand across different cultures. The Personality Development subject, meanwhile, warmly touched our core as it allowed us to know ourselves better through various life lessons and group-sharing activities. It made us closer with our international classmates as well! Overall, studying abroad (including side travels) had been a life-changing one. It significantly expanded our worldview and honed our sense of self-reliance in adapting to a completely new environment. It’s an experience unlike any other that I am just forever thankful for.” —Adrian Val Lopez, MBA Standard Program


ESSCA in Shanghai, China


  1. Doing Business in China: Economy, Commercial Environment and Legal System
  2. Old and Contemporary Chinese Civilisation, Politics and Society
  3. Interdisciplinary Field Research


          “Being a student in a foreign country is a rare experience. For most people that are fortunate enough to participate in such a wonderful involvement, it’s literally a once in a lifetime opportunity. It broadens your horizons and perceptions not only academically, but also personally as an individual. I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to participate in the AGSB-ESSCA Exchange Student Program and I’m very glad that I took it. The program was held in the flagship city of the booming economy of Mainland China, Shanghai. The program was a remarkable experience that has given me knowledge of the intricacies of doing business in a truly global economy. It gave me wonderful insights about businesses that push the human race forward and change the world for the better. Upon reflection, aside from the academic and technical learnings, the most profound gift I’ve received from the experience was the tremendous growth as a person. You will learn so much about yourself as the experience requires you to be outside of your comfort zone. You are required to be self-reliant and independent. Your skills and adaptability in different situations will be tested to its limits. All things considered, the program is fun and inspiring. The individual growth you’ll certainly get is a delightful bonus!” —Enlil Binny Ragas, MBA Standard Program


“I went to China with all the common notions about the country in mind – the fake items, the danger of eating certain dishes, how the people are, and so much more. However, after my 6-week stay in the country, my view of China completely changed – for the better. The saying, ‘do not judge a book by its cover’ is the best way to describe my experience in China. Learning about the culture and history of a country is certainly important in knowing how to do business; there is always more than what meets the eye. More than that, studying abroad is quite possibly a once in a lifetime experience that reminds you that we are but one small speck in the universe, and it sure is grounding.” —Larissa Rimando, MBA Standard Program


This article originally appeared in AGSB Website