Master of Commerce (Applied Finance), Year 1
Master of Commerce (Applied Finance), Year 1

Academic Experiences 

At ESSEC, the courses I chose included Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Finance, International Finance, Financial Accounting and Reporting and Financial Statement Analysis. For Master's students in the Fall trimester, UQ exchange students are required to take 5 courses (excluding language), which equates to a full time load of 8 units for one semester.

I particularly enjoyed the practical aspect of the courses, working on case studies based on recent real-life scenarios and also using actual financial statements to complete calculations.

The main challenge I faced was the number of assessments required per course and all assignments that were set in groups. Given the Fall trimester is extremely short, due dates for the assignments and final exams were quite condensed and there was no study week. In the second half of the trimester I didn't travel as I had to focus on study and completing and assignments, which worked out for me.

Personal Experiences

I gained a lot from my exchange experience, and although it wasn't all easy, I gained more confidence in my independence and improved my communication skills with those from other cultural backgrounds. I also made lifelong friends where we've agreed to visit each other in our home countries!
I managed to travel on some weekends to Bordeaux, Nice, and outside of France to Barcelona and London. Travelling and getting around these areas was easy and inexpensive, and thoroughly enjoyed the food each place had to offer!

Accommodation

I lived in a school residence, however it was not on campus and was 25 minutes’ walk away. I felt secure living in the residence, however the location was not ideal and I would not recommend it. The room size is spacious however the kitchen was tiny that made it difficult to prepare meals. If you are studying at ESSEC I recommend you find accommodation in Paris, although it is more expensive you will have a more enriched experience. Although there are some corporate buildings in Cergy and universities, it is quite an industrial area with not much to offer.

Budget 

As I stayed in student accommodation which was very basic, rent was inexpensive (500 euros/month). Groceries purchased in Cergy are inexpensive also but if you live in Paris they would be slightly more expensive. I recommend getting a monthly rail/bus card which is value for money if you are travelling to and from Cergy and Paris- remember to buy this at the beginning of the month. Entertainment is not too expensive but it depends on where you go and travel is affordable but I would try and book your flight or rail tickets early before prices go up.

Academic development and employability

I have built more confidence in handling uncertain situations through my exchange experience. Naturally I am a person who is highly organized and I need to have a plan and know how to do it- going on exchange taught me how to relax and handle unknown situations without worrying too much!

Highlight

I was lucky enough to be in Paris when the climate change summit COP21 was being held, and leading up to this event I participated in the Conference on Youth (COY11) that brought together young people around the world wanting to make positive social and environmental change. If there are regional or global events you’re interested in while you are on exchange you should definitely get involved as it is an empowering experience.

Top Tips

Before you go on exchange think about what your goals are from academic, personal, and recreational perspectives. With these goals in mind, research activities or places to visit while you are on exchange. This will provide you with a fulfilling and well-rounded exchange experience, that will help you avoid missing out on anything important to you.

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