Written on 10 June 2020.
First Year Projects, or how to combine a centre of interest with useful action
First Year Projects, also referred to as Workshop Projects or PPAs by their French initials, form part of the “learning by doing” approach advocated on the EDHEC International BBA in Lille and Nice. First Year Projects are worked on in groups throughout the first academic year and give students the chance to manage projects that require them to apply all their personal skills, as well as all those learned in class.
Lille and Nice students form their working groups at the start of the year, at a time when they still know little about each other. This places them firmly in the kind of team-working situation they are liable to encounter later on in their companies and obliges them to deal with the team’s differences and affinities.
In practice, one of the First Year Project’s secondary objectives is to confront students with the same issues and difficulties they are likely to find in-company, but in a controlled manner: during the project, they need to show motivation in all circumstances, attain an objective in the face of time and financial constraints, raise funds, manage a budget, deal with legal issues and especially respond to the expectations of their targets, be they schools, retirement homes or humanitarian associations.
The project must have a legal existence in the form of a not-for-profit association under France’s Law of 1901. Students are also required to take out insurance cover, in order to manage the project professionally, in full autonomy and especially in a completely secure manner.
EDHEC’s teams have set up a high-quality support mechanism designed to help students acquire professional skills and improve their employability, avoid various traps and enable them to succeed with their project. Students are accompanied by a network of tutors highly implicated in the project, available to answer their questions and share their skills. Tutors conduct assessments on the projects they oversee in January and May.
EDHEC International BBA students are required to show a high sense of responsibility when organising their external and internal events, both to succeed with their projects and to impact their audience. They need to be fully focused on creating a positive impact, trusting their convictions and successfully handling events that are often complex, but exciting to manage. The revenues raised during these high-points of the year are passed on to not-for-profit associations like Les Restos du Cœur, UNICEF or Make A Wish.
In many cases, First Year Projects have gone on to enjoy extended lives in the form of associations or even companies, thus providing tangible proof of the engagement and motivation of EDHEC students.
2020 First Year Projects in Nice and Lille: CSR projects above all
The theme selected for 2020 First Year Projects for EDHEC International BBA students in Nice was Corporate Social Responsibility. Projects can be of a cultural, sporting or artistic vocation, for example, and promote two values that run through all EDHEC programmes: the spirit of enterprise and social responsibility.
Students and their social solidarity, educational or development actions met with wholehearted success this year. 2020 projects were geared to the needs of the most vulnerable members of society or the major issues facing our planet. Certain associations sought to fight mistreatment of animals, to work in favour of education or the environment, or to combat isolation among the elderly.
The 525 EDHEC International BBA students in Lille were divided into 13 cohorts that gave rise to 108 positive-impact projects underpinned by the values of engagement, solidarity and responsibility.
All of the associations employed sizeable means to attain their goals, which were often focused on improving inter-generational links, inclusion, environmental responsibility or education.
Implicated and motivated students operating in unprecedented circumstances
Despite the Covid-19 confinement, all Nice and Lille First Year Project associations successfully adapted to distance working, in a disciplined and dynamic manner. Although the health crisis compelled students to cancel their projects, they adapted by producing video documentaries promoting the cause initially supported in their projects. Through their engagement and convictions, EDHEC International BBA students demonstrated courage and an unshakeable and strategic strength of action in the face of unprecedented circumstances. Congratulations to them all!
Impact on society, EDHEC’s engagement for 2025
EDHEC is engaging for the benefit of future generations via its 2020-2025 strategic plan. The Business School wants to make a positive impact out to 2025 by promoting social entrepreneurship, and understanding the future needs of society and responding to them with practical and responsible actions.
With their focus on CSR actions, First Year Projects are fully in tune with this positive and sustainable approach.
EDHEC Business School offers warm thanks and congratulations to EDHEC International BBA first-year students in Lille and Nice for the engagement, courage and determination shown in their projects this year, in the face of the unprecedented circumstances of the last few months.