French School
of Singapore

Day trip to ESSEC

Saturday, 27 May 2017
Day trip to ESSEC
On Saturday 27 May, we went to the ESSEC campus- French Grande Ecole of Management established in Singapore.

The 43 students enrolled in 2 modules on the preparation to higher education (News decoding, contemporary questions) first visited the amazing new site, which was inaugurated last year, with the Principal of the campus Mr. Bertrand Sulpice and the Vice Principal Mrs Kentia Boulay, and then attended a presentation made by three professors of ESSEC.

Pr. Kevyn Yong, professor in management, first introduced in English some characteristics of ESSEC and showed the international extent of implementation. Then he focused his presentation on the features of the One North district- where the Singapore campus is set- insisting on the notion of cluster. There are as a matter of fact a large number of companies that have moved there, grouped by sectors of activity : the biomedical cluster is next to the technology and the media and communication-information ones for example, allowing one to walk from the Silicon Valley to Route 66 in 5 minutes- said Kevyn Yong

Pr. Cedomir Nestorovic, professor in geopolitics, then made a very interesting presentation on the interest to teach geopolitics in a management school, insisting on the necessity for companies to be aware of what happens in the world, as well as geopolitical tensions in countries in which they practice their activities. To demonstrate this, he used an example that our students could relate to: the Pokemon Go game which happened to be at the heart of the conflict over the Korean peninsula, and which was only possible to play in Sokcho- demilitarized city at the border between the two Koreas- in August 2016. He also talked about the stand that took a Chinese singer (Victoria Song)- member of a K-pop band (fx) in favour of the integration of several territories such as Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands into China, via a map of her country posted on Instagram. The misfortune of Lancome in Hong Kong was also used as an example by Pr. Nestorovic : the brand had organised a promotional concert  for the singer Denise Ho in Hong Kong, who is famous for her prodemocratic stands, which triggered a call to boycott the brand in China. The company then cancelled the program of the singer, provoking a call for boycott on change.org from those who believe Lancome should not have to weigh down before Beijing… Then he presented the different geopolitical options and particularly the « contextual study », which he favours. In other words, it is a study on giving the key of comprehension of the present situation to students. Pr. Nestorivic then continued his presentation covering a few themes pertaining to Asia.

Pr. Xavier Pavie, professor in innovation, then presented in an identical engaging way what innovation is (change inside according to the Latin etymology) insisting on the distinction to be made between invention and innovation. He particularly reminded that the French company that invented the MP3- Archos- did not make it an innovation while broadcasting it. Something that the company Apple- almost filed for bankruptcy- did efficiently to ensure the success that we know. He also came back on the Schumpeter theory, according to which successive innovation clusters shall generate a creative destruction, concept that he linked to Nietzsche’s will for power of the overman in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. He also underlined that innovation was based on the refusal of a situation that an innovator wished to change. Xavier Niel and Salman Khan in this way are looking for a way to change the way of teaching and learning via the School 42 and the Khan Academy which are getting an increasing success. Via a false example: the service sharing site Pooper, which should enable dog owners to pay volunteers to pick up their dogs’ faeces via an app, Pr. Pavie concluded that one should not always respond to a demand, asking also the question of responsibility of the innovator. Bioethics problems were then covered through several examples : Rob Spence who chose to put a camera to replace his eyeball, Kevin Warwick- the cyborg man who can organise anything with mere thoughts, and Neil Harbisson who is colour-blind but can hear the colours thanks to a Wi-Fi antenna transplanted to his brain. Thinking about the impact of innovation on the society is essential, whereas the enterprise of sequencing of DNA 23andme conducted in California does not seem very concerned by this.

The students very attentive were pleased with these communications and then exchanged with the participants around a buffet composed of fruit juices and biscuits offered by ESSEC.