Released from Jouy-en-Josas
The ceremony last week was, as expected, a dawdling affair. The school convocated graduates from all programs, all 1,600 of us, in one setting at our Jouy campus. In the business world, this is called economies of scale. But you could also call it being cheap. I don't blame the school though - I'd rather see money allocated to scholarships than on a half-day ceremonial event.
In the end, I waited for about 3 hours to receive my diploma, as the CEO of Veolia, the Dean of HEC, the Dean of the Grande Ecole program, the Dean of the MBA program, the Dean of the Executive MBA program, the President of the Alumni Association... you get the picture... took their turn to address, mostly in French, a passive crowd. I felt bad for the families of MBA students who sat during the entire event not understanding a word that was said.
Our Graduation Gala, on the other hand, was majestic. We celebrated with a copious four-course meal, champagne à volonté (all you can drink), dazzling fireworks, and of course wonderful company.
During the evening, several student awards (more farcical than serious) were handed out, and I shared with a compatriot the dubious distinction of attending the most Grande Ecole parties*. They call it partying, I call it networking.
* Although I went to many during the 6 months I lived on campus, I can think of at least two other classmates who did better (or is it worse in this context) during the course of the 16-month program.