Interview with Melissa Cape, current EMBA participant from New York

23 MARCH 2020

With over 15 years of professional experience in the Finance industry in New York, Melissa Cape was looking to expand her career through a post-graduate program, integrating at the same time an international experience. Her undergraduate degree was focused on communications, journalism and languages and she wanted to go back to her passion for learning languages and discovering different cultures but this time in a professional context. 

Melissa enrolled in the Executive MBA program at emlyon business school in October 2019 on the Paris campus and is expected to complete the program this year. Find out more about why Melissa chose the Executive MBA at emlyon and about her experience in the program and life in Paris. 


1. Why did you decide to come to Paris to do your Executive MBA with emlyon business school?  

Ever since I graduated from college in the US I’ve always wanted to do a post-graduate degree for my own personal ambition.  I’ve also had a passion for learning languages and had developed a love for the French language, in particular, from the age of 8.  This was my opportunity to combine both areas of study.  I chose emlyon business school after having researched a few programs in Paris on the internet –the focus on both personal and professional development as well as applied business practice and theory really appealed to me.  I then had the opportunity to meet the recruiter and tour the campus while on vacation, a year before my program started, and that really sealed the deal for me.


2. What do you hope to do after the MBA?

After the MBA my hope is to find a job and remain in France.  My background is in Finance but I’ve been looking to change careers and I’m hoping the knowledge and experiences gained through the program will act as a bridge toward my next career goal. My aim is to focus on opportunities that really incite my passions. The program helps you to explore and define those areas more clearly. I’ve already begun to fulfill some of my lifelong dreams by being here so it will be exciting to see what the future holds.


3. How do you find Paris as a city for expats?



Paris is a very dynamic and vibrant city. It has a very rich history of culture, food, fashion, art and so much more.  There are plenty of places to explore from museums to locations en plein air, etc. and learning opportunities are abundant. People from all walks of life gather to share interests, ideas and build community. It reminds me a lot of New York which is where I’m from. I love living here. From what I have seen, it rains quite a lot, sometimes unexpectedly, in the winter time too so my advice would be to be prepared and carry an umbrella.




4. Have you settled into the city? Have you started to create a network for yourself? 

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It has been about 5 months and I have managed to settle in the city quite well. My apartment is within walking distance from school and the area has a very neighborhood feel which I like. Prior to moving to France, I had already joined several Paris-based “meetup” organizations so even though I moved here on my own, I always had the ability to go out with like-minded individuals. And so, I had already begun to create a network which now has been expanded to include administrators and colleagues at emlyon business school.



5. How is the Executive MBA preparing you for your next career step?

The Executive MBA prepares you for your next career steps because it introduces you to concepts and theories that are relative to the changing business environment. It challenges you to become a more agile and critical thinker and helps you to develop your leadership style as you become a better decision maker. Many of the courses are designed to foster both individual and collaborative (group) work which mimic the natural business environment, where it’s important for diverse voices to be heard. The emphasis is on applying practical theory and analysis to modern-day industry as well as to anticipate potential disruptions, not only in business but in other eco-systems where globalism, sustainability and the uses of technology are becoming increasingly more important.


Executive MBA class profile Paris 2019/2020
Number of participants: 24 (20 Part-time – 4 Fast-track)
Male / Female Ratio:  79% Male, 21%Female.
Average Age: 39
Average Work Experience: Average 15 years;
Minimum Work Experience: 7 years
Origin of cohort: France 58% / rest of the world: 42%
Number of nationalities: 12 countries represented: France, Spain, USA, Ukraine, Brazil, Tunisia, Algeria, Portugal, Morocco, China, Japan, Cameroon.
Profile: senior managers, managing directors, project directors, liberal professions, entrepreneurs, project managers. 



The Executive MBA, a course with two options available in Lyon or Paris:

With a part-time option of 3 days a month over 20 months or 10 months of full-time, fast-track teaching, the emlyon business school Executive MBA is for experienced managers and executives who intend to undertake a new project or want to challenge themselves by acquiring new skills focused on the challenges of today's business world. Ranked top 10 worldwide for career progression by the Financial Times (2019), the Executive MBA explores business and strategy issues, decision-making, management, data and personal development and situations.

For more information, download the brochure