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Student takes business classes in France in new study abroad program

Danny Grisby Senior Danny Grigsby, a triple major in management, general business entrepreneurship and general business, is the first LU student to experience the brand new Study Abroad program with ESC Rennes School of Business in France. The novice traveler from Spring, Texas is happy to be spending his spring 2016 semester abroad while still earning credit towards his degrees. To Grigsby, the program is a means to becoming a global citizen.

“After I heard about the two study abroad options, one in France and the other in the UK, I decided to not take the easy way out by going to another country where people speak English,” said Grigsby.

“I was drawn to ESC because they offer a ‘Global Experience’— half of the students here are international,” he said.  “I expect to gain a lot of appreciation for other countries and for the international students in the U.S.”

Grigsby is grateful to find ample encouragement as he endeavors to learn the French language and culture, and the locals appreciate him in return for his ability to help them practice English. Immersion in the new culture is pushing him to expand his horizons, he says.

“I’m impacted by living with French roommates because they show me that they really are cautious about what they eat, how much money they spend, and how much energy they conserve,” Grigsby said, who is staying off campus in a apartment.  “Also, I notice the diligence of all the students from other schools and that is a huge booster for me. Everyone, no matter where you come from, needs to be focused in order to get the most of their education.”

Street sceneESC is in the city of Rennes, the capital of Brittany in northwestern France. The prestigious school offers LU study abroad students more than a dozen English-taught courses per semester. Classes were selected and finalized by the dean of the College of Business, Henry Venta, who supports a mutually beneficial program, and by the department chairs responsible for Finance and Management courses, Larry Allen and K.C. Sen. The first two French exchange students will be on campus at Lamar University in fall of 2016.

Although the ESC Rennes program is new, the agreement between the two schools has many years and much effort in the making.

“The LU administration really came together to make this happen for our students,” said Jeff Palis, director of Global Studies and Study Abroad. “I met with the international relations staff at ESC Rennes at a conference in 2013. At the time they were looking to expand their partnerships with business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in the American southeast. When I later emailed colleagues in Rennes describing enthusiastically the Business School at LU, they responded very quickly— they were excited to work with us!”

Night scenePalis says that Lamar University’s agreement with an institution of this quality is a compliment to LU’s College of Business, ESC’s only partnership in Texas. The Financial Times ranks ESC Rennes among the Top 10 business schools in France and their Masters in Management is ranked in the Top 20 in Europe. ESC regarded as one of the most internationalized business schools in its country. Both LU and ESC are accredited by AACSB.

The ESC Rennes exchange program, along with partnerships in Korea and Germany, adds a new, longer-term dimension to the office’s 20 short-term, faculty-led programs. Palis and Brittney Crossley, the LU’s Study Abroad coordinator, aim to continually diversify opportunities to better serve all LU students.

“A business student gets to take classes towards his or her degree taught in English in a beautiful French city with some of the best business students in Europe for the same tuition as a regular semester at Lamar,” said Palis. “Wow, what an opportunity.”