In a remarkable educational expedition, students from ESSEC’s Master in Strategy and International Business (SMIB) program embarked on an enlightening study trip to Dubai, a city synonymous with innovation, luxury, and business acumen.

What sets this study trip apart is the diverse industries explored and the depth of engagement with professionals and experts in each field. The SMIB students didn’t just observe; they engaged, questioned, and connected with leading professionals, gaining career insights, advice, and inspiration for their future paths.

From strategic consulting firms like EY-Parthenon and Roland Berger to the innovative spaces of AlphaSights and the Chalhoub Group’s Greenhouse Incubator, the trip was designed to offer a comprehensive look into the professional world that awaits these students.

The students’ visits to these companies provided a unique blend of practical knowledge and industry insights. Each stop on their itinerary was carefully chosen to expose the students to different facets of the business world.


Day 1: EY-Parthenon
Day 2: AlphaSights | Roland Berger
Day 3: Mundipharma | Accuracy
Day 4: McKinsey & Company | Chalhoub Group
Day 5: Monitor Deloitte | Enova by Veolia

Day 1: Kicking Off the Study Trip with Deep Insights

At EY-Parthenon

At EY Parthenon's office in Dubai.

On the first day of the Dubai study trip, the SMIB students visited the Dubai offices of EY-Parthenon. This visit gave them a unique opportunity to gain deep insights into the practices and business acumen of a leading strategic consultancy in the UAE.

Upon arrival at EY-Parthenon, located in Dubai’s financial center, the students were introduced to the firm’s senior consulting team. Through presentations and discussions, the students gained a deeper understanding of EY Parthenon’s consulting services, which cover all industries.

The visit concluded with an opportunity for the students to converse with EY-Parthenon’s professionals, further exploring career development and industry trends. This interaction enhanced the student’s understanding of the consulting industry and offered valuable guidance for their future career paths.

Overall, the visit to EY-Parthenon was an excellent start to the ESSEC SMIB students’ study trip in Dubai. It helped them get to know EY-Parthenon better and better understand the consulting industry in the UAE.

Day 2: Exploring Frontiers of Global Businesses

At AlphaSights

At AlphaSights' office in Dubai.

On the second day, our SMIB students embarked on an enriching journey during their visit to the AlphaSights office in Dubai. At AlphaSights, a prominent knowledge search firm, students delved into the vibrant global business world, gaining firsthand exposure to its dynamics.

Witnessing AlphaSights’ innovative problem-solving approach, students observed the seamless integration of cutting-edge technology and strategic thinking. This firsthand exposure underscored the paramount importance of innovation in today’s fast-paced business landscape.

Networking amidst Dubai’s bustling business hub proved invaluable for SMIB students. Engaging in insightful dialogues with associates and managers, they expanded their professional networks and gleaned diverse industry perspectives.

AlphaSights’ unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion was palpable throughout the visit. Students were immersed in a culture that values cultural intelligence, recognizing its role in fostering collaboration and innovation as essential drivers of success.

At Roland Berger

At Roland Berger's office in Dubai.

On the same day, SMIB students visited Roland Berger’s Dubai office, located at the hub of innovation in Dubai. This visit was integral to their learning journey, giving them insights into the strategic consulting practices within the dynamic Middle Eastern market.

At Roland Berger’s Dubai office, the students were welcomed by a team that included two ESSEC alumni. The session began with an overview of Roland Berger’s global operations and strategic positioning in the Middle East, highlighting the firm’s commitment to driving innovation and excellence in consultancy services. The most exciting news is that RB will provide job opportunities for SMIB students in its offices in the UAE.

Moreover, the students had the chance to engage in discussions with RB’s consultants and alumni, gaining insights into the day-to-day life of a strategic consultant and the various career paths available within the consulting industry.

The visit to RB’s Dubai office encouraged students to think critically about the role of strategic consulting in shaping the future of businesses in the UAE. It also gave them a practical perspective on applying their academic studies to real-world scenarios and enhancing their readiness for future professional challenges.

Day 3: Diving into the Worlds of Pharmaceuticals and Financial Consulting

At Mundipharma

At Mundipharma's office in Dubai.

On the third day, the SMIB students immersed themselves in the world of pharmaceuticals at the Mundipharma office. This visit provided a unique opportunity for students to gain profound insights into the international pharmaceutical industry.

Mundipharma graciously shared its extensive industry knowledge, offering students invaluable insights into pharmaceutical trends, challenges, and opportunities. They patiently elaborated on their scientific and technical processes, bridging the gap between academic learning and practical application.

Witnessing Mundipharma’s dedication to innovation within the pharmaceutical sector was genuinely eye-opening for the students. They explored groundbreaking advancements and learned about the pivotal role of innovation in addressing global healthcare challenges, broadening their perspective on industry dynamics.

The visit showcased the power of global collaboration in the pharmaceutical realm. Students engaged with professionals from diverse backgrounds, gaining an appreciation for the importance of cross-cultural teamwork in driving industry success.

At Accuracy

At Accuracy's office in Dubai.

The SMIB students also visited the Dubai Accuracy office, a French financial consulting firm, on the same day. The Dubai office focuses on infrastructure consulting in the UAE region. This visit was a deep dive into the realm of infrastructure consulting.

The session started with an overview of the infrastructure industry, where students were introduced to the complexities and nuances of consulting in this field. The students gained insights into the multifaceted challenges and opportunities that define the infrastructure sector, benefiting from the firm’s extensive experience and strategic approach to projects in the UAE.

A notable aspect of the visit was that Accuracy boasts 35 ESSEC alumni within its global network, highlighting the strong ties between Accuracy and ESSEC. Furthermore, Accuracy’s commitment to providing employment opportunities to SMIB students was a significant highlight of the day.

The visit concluded with insights into the future plans for infrastructure development in the UAE, enriching the students’ understanding of the industry’s direction and the role consultants like Accuracy play in shaping this future.

Day 4: Engaging in Consulting and Entrepreneurial Excellence

At McKinsey & Company

At McKinsey & Company's office in Dubai.

On the fourth day of their Dubai study trip, the SMIB students visited McKinsey & Company’s Dubai office. McKinsey, a leading global consulting firm, provided the students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in strategic consulting at the highest level.

During the visit, McKinsey professionals shared insights into their work across various sectors, emphasizing the importance of innovation, strategic thinking, and digital transformation in today’s business landscape. The discussions revolved around how McKinsey assists its clients in navigating complex challenges and capitalizing on opportunities for growth in the Middle East and beyond.

A significant aspect of the visit was the emphasis on McKinsey’s collaborative approach to solving clients’ problems. The firm showcased how it combines global expertise with local insights to deliver impactful results. The students were particularly intrigued by case studies illustrating McKinsey’s role in driving significant transformations in leading regional corporations and government entities.

Overall, the visit to McKinsey’s Dubai office gave the students a deeper understanding of the consulting industry’s dynamics and its critical role in shaping successful businesses and economies.

At Chalhoub Group

At Chalhoub Group's office in Dubai.

On the same day, SMIB students also visited the Chalhoub Group and explored entrepreneurship and sustainability, gaining invaluable insights.

At the Greenhouse, students witnessed Chalhoub Group’s support for startups, immersing themselves in an ecosystem fostering innovation. The Greenhouse’s commitment to sustainability was evident as students learned how it nurtures eco-friendly startups. Students also connected with the Chalhoub Group, opening doors for potential collaborations and future endeavors. From fashion tech to sustainable luxury, students explored groundbreaking startups, gaining a fresh perspective on business and sustainability.

This visit highlights the power of experiential learning in shaping future leaders in entrepreneurship and sustainability.

Day 5: Uncovering Digital Consulting and Energy Innovation

At Monitor Deloitte

At Monitor Deloitte's office in Dubai.

On the last day of their Dubai study trip, the SMIB students visited the Dubai office of Monitor Deloitte, an independent strategic consulting division in Deloitte. This visit was not just a conclusion but a pinnacle experience, offering deep insights into the forefront of digital consulting and artificial intelligence services, areas where Deloitte Monitor Dubai excels.

The engagement with Deloitte Monitor’s experts gave the SMIB students a comprehensive view of how digital innovations and AI reshape industries. The firm’s focus on leveraging cutting-edge technologies to drive business transformation was evident through discussions and presentations. Deloitte Monitor’s consultants shared case studies and insights into their work, illustrating the pivotal role of digital strategies and AI in solving complex business challenges and creating new growth opportunities.

This visit underscored the importance of digital fluency in today’s business landscape, highlighting Deloitte Monitor Dubai’s commitment to guiding its clients through digital transformation journeys. For the SMIB students, it was an invaluable opportunity to see how theoretical concepts learned in their program are applied in real-world scenarios to foster innovation and strategic change.

At Enova by Veolia

At Enova's office in Dubai.

The last stop was Enova’s modern and cutting-edge office in Dubai. Its commitment to innovation- and sustainability-oriented objectives were displayed as our students delved into the dynamic world of energy and facilities management.

Witnessing Enova’s state-of-the-art technologies and intelligent energy solutions was inspiring. Our students explored the intersection of innovation and sustainability, learning how Enova is pioneering change in the region’s energy management landscape. Their incredible use of software and hardware allows them to closely monitor energy use and identify technical problems within minutes.

Enova’s emphasis on sustainability wasn’t just a buzzword; our students saw firsthand how these principles are integrated into real-world projects. Enova’s environmental impact was tangible, from energy-efficient buildings to renewable energy initiatives.

Engaging with Enova’s professionals allowed our SMIB students to expand their network within the energy management sector. Conversations with industry experts provided valuable career insights and a deeper understanding of the skills required in this evolving field.

The SMIB Study Trip: A Global Learning Experience Unlike Any Other

The ESSEC SMIB students’ study trip to Dubai is a hallmark of experiential learning, bridging the gap between academic theories and the practical realities of the global business landscape.

This meticulously planned journey through the heart of Dubai’s business ecosystem offered the students an invaluable deep dive into the worlds of strategic consulting, pharmaceuticals, financial consulting, digital innovations, and sustainability.

Through visits to industry giants like EY-Parthenon, AlphaSights, Roland Berger, McKinsey & Company, and innovative companies such as the Chalhoub Group and Enova by Veolia, students not only expanded their knowledge but also cultivated a network of professional contacts that could shape their future careers.

The diverse array of companies visited provided a broad spectrum of insights into different sectors, from the cutting-edge fields of digital consulting and artificial intelligence at Monitor Deloitte to the innovative approaches toward sustainability seen at Enova by Veolia.

Each company visit was carefully selected to enhance the students’ understanding of various industry dynamics, highlighting the importance of innovation, strategic thinking, and cultural intelligence in today’s fast-paced business environment. The trip underscored the significance of practical, hands-on educational experiences, demonstrating how such interactions can complement and enrich traditional classroom learning.

Reflecting on the trip, it’s clear that the ESSEC SMIB students’ journey through Dubai was more than just an academic requirement; it was a transformative experience that equipped them with a clearer vision of their professional paths.

The depth of engagement with professionals and exposure to real-world challenges and opportunities has broadened their horizons and inspired them to pursue careers that make a meaningful impact.

As they return to their academic endeavors, the lessons learned, and the connections made in Dubai will undoubtedly influence their approach to international business and strategy, setting a solid foundation for their future success.