Transatlantic Opportunities with a Dual Degree: Part 1 – Canada to Melbourne

By Tessa Shaw

The desire to experience an international career led French student François-Paul Bourg from Canada to Melbourne via Master of International Business’ Dual Degree agreement with HEC Montreal. We find out where the journey has taken him so far.

Originally from France, François-Paul Bourg moved to Montreal, Canada, to complete his undergraduate and graduate studies. The transatlantic move was not enough for the soft-spoken Frenchman who harbours an ongoing interest in gaining cross-cultural experiences. The Dual Degree offered by HEC Montreal in partnership with Melbourne Business School (MBS) gave Bourg the opportunity to complete the final year of his graduate degree in Melbourne, earning him a Masters of International Business (MIB) in conjunction with his Master of Science, Global Supply Chain Management from Montreal. His globetrotting student career did not stop Down Under, either: earlier this year, he had the opportunity to live and work in Singapore as part of his degree with MBS.

Master of International Business students, including Dual Degree students from HEC Montreal, have the option to undertake MBS elective subjects like the Global Business Practicum (GBP), as Bourg did. Working for GlaxoSmithKline as in-company consultants as part of the GBP in Singapore for two weeks, Bourg’s team were challenged with designing and creating a forecasting model for repairs and maintenance.

Undertaking the GBP in Singapore has definitely been a milestone in my career development. It has strengthened my self-confidence and helped me to grow as a leader; it has been just one of many valuable additions to my Masters of International Business. François-Paul Bourg

François-Paul Bourg

Bourg says that deciding to come to Melbourne was a natural choice for a number of reasons. “Firstly, I was drawn to the international reputation of the MIB,” he says. “Secondly, the program was exactly what I was looking for in terms of depth and breadth of learning experience, and it was fantastic that my home university has this Dual Degree agreement with MBS. Finally, having visited other Australian cities previously and liking them a lot, I looked forward to the opportunity to find out more about Melbourne.”

When asked if Melbourne met his expectations, Bourg praised its ‘atmosphere’ and said he was not disappointed by its famous coffee culture. He says moving to Melbourne was much easier than he had anticipated, finding the lifestyle not too different from Montreal, or even France. “Plus, everyone (at MBS) was super friendly so the transition was very easy for me,” Bourg says.

“Lecturers were very open to help and guide us on our choice of subjects, too and staff in the Academic Support Office were super helpful!” he recalls. “Also, I was pleasantly surprised by how different Melbourne is to other major Australian cities”. Bourg, whose hometown of Besançon is famous for wine and cheese, even claims, “Melbourne is the best place in the country to enjoy food and culture.”

However, when he wasn’t exploring Melbourne’s food and art scene, Bourg kept himself busy with his career development. “I was I was actually quite focused on my study and had a part-time internship with DHL as well,” adds Bourg. His role then was in business analytics and Bourg found he was able to transfer his classroom learnings to analyse quantitative and qualitative data, and recommend business process improvements for the Melbourne offices of the German logistics company.

“The Dual Degree MIB has given me a strong understanding of both international business, as well as supply management, and more importantly, how both disciplines are inter-related,” Bourg explains. “The thing I have enjoyed most about studying at MBS is experiencing the openness of the professors and the high quality of the lectures and tutorials delivered.”

“I have to admit that I was sceptical at first about the subjects, International Human Resources Management and Global Corporate Governance,” he adds. “After the first part of the dual degree (in Montreal), which I found very quantitative and practical, I was worried that those two subjects would be too broad and theoretical. In the end, they were super broad and theoretical but the lecturers were amazing.”

My lecturers managed to incorporate concepts and theories from the real world, and made links to other subjects. It helped me to take a different angle to what I learnt and I still use this view and the methods they taught me today at work. That is when I realised that I made the right choice in coming to Melbourne! François-Paul Bourg

Today, Bourg, who completed his degree at the end of Semester 1 2017, is an Engineering Support Analyst for DHL Express in Perth. He credits his dual degree, and in particular, his time at MBS for playing a critical role in his job hunt. “I definitely think that the dual degree and my internship helped me in landing my job, but I feel it was mainly the reputation of The University of Melbourne in Australia,” he offers. “When I was working as an intern, I had the opportunity to present a project to the higher management of DHL. Once they heard that the dual degree I was completing was at The University of Melbourne, their attitude towards me changed vastly – for the better! I was offered my current position shortly after graduating.”

Melbourne Business School allows selected students from our Master of International Business as well as students from our partner institutions, HEC Montreal, and Unversita Bocconi to complete their second year of study overseas, graduating with a dual degree with the Master of International Business from Melbourne Business School plus a MSc Global Supply Chain Management from HEC Montreal, Canada or a MSc Marketing Management from Universita Bocconi, Italy.