An Travelling the World from the Classroom
Rigel Barlow wanted a big change in his career, and felt that staying in his home state of Oregon would not help him achieve his goals. So, he quit a successful career as a business manager in the specialized chemicals industry to enroll in the International MBA program at Audencia Nantes School of Management in Nantes, France. “It’s not an easy choice to leave that kind of position. But in terms of the career path, the work ethic that I had, the global awareness that I had, an international MBA program was really ideal and something that can launch me into a different category,” he says. “I wanted to work internationally and I wanted to go into international business, so it made sense to me to combine my interests in the country of France, because of my French language knowledge.”
Companies around the world are looking for innovative solutions to deal with today’s unpredictable global economy – as a result, the value of an international MBA has never been clearer. And it’s a learning investment that draws great value from real international immersion, according to Barlow. “There are at least 15 nationalities in our class, and in that sense you really get to travel the world from the classroom. Everyone comes from a different place, with different experiences, with a different education. So you’re really getting this phenomenal diversity, this eclectic background. They’re all bringing this into the classroom and combining that with some top-notch professors. It’s a great learning experience.”
A top-tier European education
Like many European MBA programs, the Audencia program is taught in English. However, what distinguishes the program is that it has achieved triple accreditation by the three largest business school accreditation bodies, a feat that is considered a mark of international top-tier status. This was a key factor for Barlow in choosing the Audencia program: “One of the ways I found it was by searching for the triple accreditation. It is among the one percent of business schools in the world that have it,” he says.
For Barlow, the program’s timeline was also appealing. Compared with the two-year MBA options he had considered in the USA, the more intensive approach of the one-year International MBA program at Audencia delivers, as he puts it, “more bang for your buck! I think it is just fantastic value.” The program progresses at quite rapid clip, says Barlow: “You effectively have six to eight hours of class each day. You have homework assigned after every class. So you’re just in constant motion, which is great for me. I really like it. It keeps you active, it keeps you thinking, but it definitely requires some coffee!”
Building long-term networks
The diversity of the program complements Audencia’s core teaching and learning model, which is built on student interaction and teamwork: “It’s not so much read a book, take a test. It’s more of a practical experience. You’re in a class where the person who can best explain a complicated business structure might be the person sitting next to you. That person might already have a couple of master’s degrees.”
As Barlow explains, the ethos of collegiality and camaraderie inevitably spills over beyond the classroom setting: “You know it’s another part of the program. Last Friday night, we must have had 20 people from the class go out to dinner together. I can tell already that this year I am probably going to form some of the best friendships that I may have in my life. We’re all in the same boat.”
A launchpad for international business ambitions
In addition to Audencia’s world-class academics and opportunities for meaningful networking, its location in western France adds yet another dimension to the school’s appeal. “Nantes itself is a phenomenal city. TIME magazine said it was one of the best places to live in Western Europe. It provides pretty much anything you could think of in terms of activities, it’s a very high quality of life,” says Barlow. Studying in Nantes is already helping Barlow achieve some of his greatest personal goals: “It’s enabling me to live internationally while obtaining my degree from a top European business school,” he says.
Rigel Barlow is confident his decision to complete his MBA abroad will pay off. And by providing practical career advising and support, Audencia faculty and administrators will help ensure Barlow’s success. And while his study and career perspectives remain global in scope, Barlow feels he may have found himself a new home base: “My initial goal is to work in an international business capacity, with a focus on France. Because it’s a massive economy, France has countless opportunities after graduation. I would like to remain in France if possible.”
For more information about Audencia’s MBA program offerings, visit www.audencia.com/enmba/.
» Back to Audencia Nantes Main Campus Viewpoint