I studied at the French business school, IPAG. I was told by my newly made French friends in Grenoble that IPAG wasn’t the “norm” for post-secondary schooling in France but nonetheless, it made quite an impression.
You can call it ethnocentrism, but I certainly arrived in France with an opinion of how a university should be run. IPAG didn’t fit any of my standards. The school was terribly unorganized. For myself (and the planner-keeping Germans at school) our class schedule (the timetable) was a complete nightmare. IPAG posted the entire semester in advance, every week having a different schedule. Additionally, the schedule would change with little to no warning at all. It was impossible to make travel plans in advance for fear of missing class if it were to be rescheduled.
You were lucky if your grades were posted online. Final grades each for class were composed of a midterm (15 percent ), continuous assessment (35 percent) and final exam (50 percent). Final exams grades, although taken in mid-December, are not to be posted until the third week in January. My greatest frustration with the school was that I never really knew how I was doing.
For all of its faults, IPAG did have some great faculty members. The classes I took were all business-related, with the exception of French, and very relevant to my course of study at Mizzou. It was exciting to take international business classes in a room of students from all over the world because those students offered fresh perspectives and complimented the lessons being taught by the lecturer. I did many projects with other international students and it helped develop my understanding of other cultures to work with a diverse group of students on a mutual interest. My French class was superb. I was placed in level five French out of the six levels and at first it was extremely difficult. I had taken all my French classes at Mizzou, where there is a huge emphasis on grammar and writing but little to no work is done on speaking and conversational French. At IPAG, my class was almost entirely speaking. We did many role-playing exercises and group conversations. Because of IPAG, my French improved immensely.
Although I had trouble dealing with some administrative aspects of IPAG, I thoroughly enjoyed attending school there and if given the chance to go back and time and choose again, I would still choose IPAG.