A Semester Full of Interesting Challenges for Students

ISCOM's International Global Communications program has been growing by leaps and bounds, and this year is no exception. For the first time, students are present in every year group, from first through fifth years, studying communications and marketing in English...

As always, ISCOM has partnered with a variety of international organizations, including non-profits, start-up companies and large, global enterprises, in order to offer challenges to our students that represent exactly what communications professionals are grappling with today. With guidance from seasoned veterans of graphic design, corporate communications, branding, public relations, digital marketing and advertising, students immediately put to work the knowledge gained in their classes and workshops, in competition with each other!

Our first-year students were introduced to the world of communications through classes in marketing, branding, media, economics, legal systems and contemporary history, culminating in Creative Week. From Dec 14 through 18, teams of students from both the international class and other specializations worked together to respond to a brief from the Lions Club Heraldic Yvelines, the only Anglophone branch of the Lions in France. They were seeking advice on a campaign for increasing membership, asking our students to think about the visual design of posters, online advertisements and invitations to a special event. Congratulations to the winning team, who offered an exciting, fresh look for the Lions Club.creative-week-16
Our second-year students focused on all things digital during their first semester, and also had the opportunity to work on an exciting competition at the end. They had to propose the design and features of a new application for a leading, worldwide hotel group. While we cannot share the details with you (our client asked us to keep it confidential), students got to work at the cutting edge of digital and mobile communications and help their client better understand how to reach millennial audiences.
We expect students in their third year at ISCOM to take on greater responsibility for their own progress, with two programs designed to not only challenge their creative thinking, but also teach them about management. The Micro Agency project requires students to form agency teams and work with a real client on a project over the course of five to six months. Students work primarily with international start-up companies, creating websites, digital campaigns, videos and other types of communications projects – all in English. A second opportunity for self-directed learning comes through our new Project Incubator program, where students form teams and work on a project of their own choosing. The only constraint is that the project must be both of benefit to them and to ISCOM. Students are currently completing projects as diverse as a documentary about the surfing industry, a photo exhibition, an event for young professionals in Paris, a new student guide, a couple of web series and a SnapChat account about ISCOM student life.
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Fourth-year students are just about to complete their third competition since September, and will compete with all fourth-year students at ISCOM Paris in the end-of-term Jeu D'Entreprise (Business Game) in February. During their first competition, they worked with an Irish-run French start-up company on how to enter the Irish market. In the second competition, they had to provide advice on a brand platform for a French company for young professionals in Japan. They are currently working on a project for introducing a new digital messaging app created in France to the US marketplace. All students are also writing a 50-page applied research paper on a current communications/marketing trend or challenge. Topics being addressed this year include customer experience at the point-of-sale, drones and connected objects in travel/tourism, social media in presidential campaigns and native advertising ethics for publishers.
Our fifth-year students benefit from a work-study program, where they have class once per week and work in an enterprise or agency the other four days. Every five to six weeks or so, we schedule a week-long intensive seminar on a region of the world plus a current topic in communications/marketing. Our first seminar was on luxury brand architecture for a heritage French brand which needs to update its luxury image, and focused on Europe. The second seminar covered the Caspian/Black Sea regions and focused on nation branding, where students representing the chamber of commerce and industry of each country in the region had to convince a jury of businesspeople to invest in their country. Our third seminar was about Brazil and focused on sports, sponsorship and ambush marketing in the context of the Olympic Games. Future planned seminars will look at the world of start-ups or investigate the markets of Asia.

Today, most of the international class students are getting ready to head off for an internship for the next few months. Some will stay in Paris and other are going to London, Amsterdam, New York, Berlin, Barcelona and other cities around the world. We look forward to reading their internship reports!