The BBA: one more year to plan the future and a standard in Anglo-Saxon countries

On a global scale, it is the best known. With a four-year training instead of three, the Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (BBA) is halfway between a bachelor’s degree (bac + 3) and a master’s degree (bac + 5). Only in the eyes of Europeans, because this diploma is rather considered the standard in Anglo-Saxon countries, not forgetting South America and Asia. In all these regions, it is most common for a future manager to enter the labor market after completing a BBA. Even if that means returning to school a little later, to complete your trip.

“Four years is the norm almost everywhere. Many international students do not know how to combine a three-year degree with organizing studies in their own country. Therefore, our formats must be compatible,” explains Christina Terra, director of the BBA at the Essec Business School, in Cergy-Pontoise (Val-d’Oise).

In France, the offer continues to develop, slowly but surely. Some establishments offer both versions of the degree (EM Normandie, Kedge Business School, Inseec), while others focus on just one.

BBA selection is usually based on an application, accompanied by an oral interview. However, several establishments have chosen to join together to offer the Sésame contest, giving access to eight programs, such as those from Neoma, Excelia, Essec and Emlyon. With the advantage of costing candidates a single wish in Parcoursup and having to complete the writings of several training courses in one go.

Even more abundant

This is not a scoop: the first significant difference between a classical bachelor’s degree and a BBA is the duration. This extra year is not insignificant. “In three years we would not have time to explore all the dimensions of the program,” reflects Christina Terra. For example, her students go through a long research process. “We support them for 18 months in this project and make them think independently, pushing them to the limit,” she illustrates.

In four years, mechanically, everything can be more substantial. Periods of business activity in particular. At Essec, students complete a three-month internship during the first year; one month of experience in the social field (in an association, for example) during the second; before joining longer internships (called “decision-making”) the following two years.

“These multiple comings and goings between school and the company are essential to discover different facets and perfect the project itself,” says Christina Terra. Therefore, time is meant to mature, if not grow. “Graduate students are young. We recently received a candidate who was only 15 years old! “, the director of the BBA of the Essec still asks. He won’t have many years to decide what’s next…

Booming Curriculum

This observation caused a small revolution at the GEM (Grenoble École de Management). House’s historic program, the BIB (Bachelor of Business) was one of the first of its kind in France. This year, GEM decided to transform it into BBA. “Three years were too short to give our students the international exposure we wanted,” confesses Philippe Monin, academic director of the GEM.

The bachelor’s degree already had 50% international students, an extremely rare proportion for a graduate program in France. It is about responding to the expectations of this mobile public, eager for expatriation and internships abroad. “If we wanted to offer the possibility of living at least two long international experiences, while guaranteeing academic excellence, there was no other option, we had to extend the pleasure for another year,” explains Philippe Monin.

To meet the needs of other students looking for a more operational course, GEM has also opened a new three-year DPD (Digital Business Development) degree. If this one does not appear on our list yet, it is because its first promotion has not yet been launched; She will graduate next spring. The International BBA and the DPD degree are taught at the two GEM campuses, Grenoble (Isère) and Paris.

Motto: international

The main difference with the bachelor’s degree is undoubtedly this word: international. In the BBA everything is done in English, both courses and projects. Of course, it is not necessary to be completely bilingual to be admitted, but it is necessary to have a good level and be comfortable.

“It was the most important criterion for me when I was analyzing possible training courses at Parcoursup,” recalls Lara, a third-year Global BBA student at Neoma Business School, on the Paris campus. The young woman, who lived in different countries and completed secondary studies in Brazil, is immersed in multicultural environments. “She wanted a show where people from all over the world would come together,” she explains.

In her studies in Neoma, Lara is cared for. The teachers are sometimes Korean, American, Scandinavian… On the student side, the benches are populated by nationalities that she can’t even count. “It provides something beyond the simple course. We embrace other ways of seeing life and thinking. “It enriches us,” she rejoices.

Although she had to do her first internship in France, Lara then went to Switzerland for six months. Not very exotic, you could say… “On the contrary, this country is completely different from what I knew. The people are very open, the landscapes splendid, you feel perfectly safe… I loved it. The French should be much more interested in Switzerland,” advises the student.

“You can experience a country on your phone, but living there is something completely different. It takes more than a few weeks to immerse yourself in another culture,” recommends Christina Terra. Her students will spend a minimum of six months abroad, up to two full years for those who opt for a double degree with a collaborating university.

Associated campuses

Historically international and with several campuses abroad (United States, China, Brazil, etc.), Skema Business School, as expected, has opted for the Anglo-Saxon format. This is what attracted Sonia, a 3rd year Global BBA student at Skema. “I didn’t choose based on the length of the course. For me a year or so is a detail. Every experience counts to better plan for the future,” she believes. For Sonia, English was not a problem, quite the opposite.

“I had the opportunity to grow up partly in Kenya, I spoke a lot of English in middle and high school. The good thing is that I continue to progress, learning a whole business vocabulary that I didn’t know. »

These 12 programs are state-approved 4-year BBAs, giving them a +4 bac level. There are other courses that have not yet obtained this visa. Please note that Le Parisien Étudiant does not list here, the order in this table is alphabetical.

Like so many people who have known Africa well, Sonia only thinks about one thing: returning there. Already this year she moved from the Lille campus (North) to the Sophia Antipolis campus (Alpes-Maritimes), where she teaches her specialty in “Corporate Finance”. Soon, there’s a good chance you’ll see her wandering around Skema’s campus in Stellenbosch, South Africa. “It’s a real advantage to be at a school that has its own campuses, because you’re sure to have your place there,” explains Sonia. The student also has the possibility of joining a Skema partner university, if his or her application is accepted.

Therefore, this diploma is designed to open the doors to the world of work in almost the entire world. But knowing France, Sonia plans to complete her degree with a master’s degree in finance. “If one day I want to work here, it is safer to have a high school diploma + 5,” the student understood. Without losing sight of her initial idea: to start her career in an African country. With Lara the logic is similar; The Neoma student will complete a final year of specialization.

Cristina Terra knows it. Among her Essec students, a small majority will continue until level 2. Mainly the French. “Others have no problems finding jobs they like outside our borders. If they feel the need as their career progresses, they know that specialized master’s or MBA programs will be happy to accommodate them. »

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