ESCP Europe: a flying start to your business career

The world's first business school offers a range of innovative international programmes for recent graduates, discovers Hannah Langworth

If you're interested in a career in business, one of ESCP Europe's highly-regarded postgraduate programmes could be a valuable stepping stone between university and the commercial world.

To find out more about ESCP Europe, we spoke to Davide Sola, professor and former UK Director there.

Studying at ESCP Europe has been pivotal to Davide's own career success.

Italian by birth, he gained a first degree in Italy in mathematics and economics and then studied at the business school's French, German and UK campuses.

Next, he worked for a series of startups, in corporate finance, and as a strategy consultant while continuing to study at ESCP Europe, and gained his PhD from the University of Turin.

He was ESCP Europe's UK Director from 2005 to 2010, and now teaches here alongside working for a consultancy practice which assists governments on financial strategy.

Asked to describe ESCP Europe, Davide says: "We're always the first to be doing something. It's in our DNA."

This tradition of innovation started with the business school's foundation: established in 1819 in Paris, ESCP Europe was the world's first business school.

As it grew, it also became a pioneer of cross-border business education.

This year it's celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the opening of its campuses in Germany and the UK, and it now also has ones in Spain and Italy, as well as alliances with universities in cities all over the world, including Buenos Aires, Calcutta, Krakow and Shanghai.

The Master in Management is ESCP Europe's flagship programme. Designed to give recent graduates a good grounding in business principles and some commercial experience, it was the first programme of its type when it was established nearly 200 years ago.

It hasn't stood still since then, of course. "It's changed with the times," says Davide, "but it's still unique, now in terms of the international experience it offers."

Students get to study and work in up to three different locations, giving them a huge advantage in today's globalised business world.

It's also highly regarded, and was ranked second worldwide in 2012 by the Financial Times.

Over the course of its history, ESCP Europe has established a wide range of other master's degrees, including the Master in European Business with an MBA-style curriculum, the groundbreaking and popular Master in Marketing and Creativity, and the Master in Energy Management, a brand-new programme that will welcome its first intake in autumn 2013.

Students on all programmes study at two or more ESCP Europe campuses or partner universities and, wherever they are, will be part of a diverse student body - it's not unusual to have more than 20 nations represented in each programme's intake.

"Having all kinds of people in your class brings you different perspectives," says Davide. "Whenever I teach anything, I have many different views in the room, which helps everybody learn."