Why did you choose this destination?
At the time when I was applying for colleges in 2010- 2011, this particular programme was offered by 3 colleges only. SKEMA seemed like the best option since the campus was located in the beautiful French Riviera, and there is a lot to learn about luxury in that area. Also, the college has experienced professionals as faculty who always help the students to gain better perspective of the subjects. Soon after I decided on the school, I went to the Alliance Francaise de New Delhi office to ask for more information, which was very helpful.
How much were the fees?
The total fees was around Euro 14,000. Accommodation was around Euro 300 for one month. There are no scholarships in the field of fashion and luxury but the French governments gives every student a concession on accommodation depending on where you are staying, country of origin and age. If you are below 25 years of age and living in the university accommodation then you can get up to 50% discount on your accommodation.
Which were the admission requirements and how did you manage to fulfill them?
For any international university you need to get a IELTS or TOFEL score if English is not your first language. These exams should be given at least 6 months in advance as the results are given after about a month or more and it’s best to keep half an year in your hand to prepare for you application. If you need a GMAT score then you should sit it at least 8-10 months before sending your application. You also need 2 references, academic or professional and an application form with subjective essay questions.
Since I already had a qualification from a British University (London College of Fashion) I did not need an IELTS or a TOFEL score.
What is necessary to keep in mind before leaving?
Insurance, transportation, airfares, cost of living, telephone company, approximate rent, recommended places, other general practical information should be kept in mind before leaving. Another important thing to be kept in mind is that France is a country where one can face certain language barriers. My personal advice would be to first attain basic understanding, reading and writing skills to get through daily life.
Any practical advice? How did you find your accommodation?
I was living in SKEMA’s student residence hall. They have beautiful, fully equipped and very comfortable studio apartments. I would suggest, always opt for university accommodations. The process of maintenance of the property, paying rent and utilities, security etc will become very easy. Also, in a university accommodation you will never be alone! On a separate note, it is always better to get health insurance done for one year at least from you home country.
Which difficulties did you encounter during your experience?
The only problem I faced was the difference in language. I only had a very basic understanding of French and it got a little difficult initially. As time went on, I got a good hang of the language. Best part about being a student abroad is that you get to meet people from various parts of the world, and get to learn their culture, heritage, habits etc. By the end of it, you realize that you have at least one friend in almost every part of the world.
Which exams did you sit?
Since my Master was in Luxury and Fashion Management, we had subjects like International Marketing Strategies for Luxury brands, Design and Innovation, Luxury Service Management, Luxury Communication, Brand Management, Regulatory Issues in Luxury, Value Management, Finance, Corporate Communication and Pricing and Distribution. At the end of each semester, we were asked to submit a presentation, an assignment or both depending on the number of credits to be earned. There were no written exams.
Which ambitions did you have before leaving and which ones do you have now?
Before I joined SKEMA my ambitions included pursuing a Master in the field of luxury and then working actively in the industry in helping more international brands to explore the Indian market. Having living those ambitions currently, my next aim would be targeting a PhD program in Luxury Marketing and Strategy.
Do you have further suggestions for those willing to leave for the same destination?
French Rivera is a beautiful destination. Especially as a student you can travel around with a free mind. My only suggestion would be to make full use of this opportunity not only academically but also embrace as many experiences as you can. Travel is the best form of education and it’s best when coupled with a course of your choice. These not only teach you about the subject of your interest but also lessons for life!