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Interview

International University of Monaco: 5 secrets to success

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© International University of Monaco

Having been its Director for almost ten years now, Jean-Philippe Muller is delighted to see the Monegasque university attracting more and more students every year. 

There has been an impressive dynamic at the International University of Monaco (IUM) in recent years. “We have grown from 200 students to 700 today, with 310 graduating at the last ceremony. That’s ten times more than ten years ago,” says Jean-Philippe Muller with a smile. What are the secrets behind this success? The director tells us.

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Jean-Philippe Muller, Director of the IUM © International University of Monaco

1. Monaco, an exceptional location

The school has built up a very strong connection with the Monegasque ecosystem and this is undoubtedly the first strongpoint. “We regularly set up projects with organisations and companies in the Principality,” the director stresses. For example, the Master students in Luxury Management take part in the Monaco Yacht Show at the beginning of the year: “they get to know the world of luxury yachting for two or three days.”

Students specialising in fashion are involved in projects for the Monte-Carlo Fashion Week. Similarly, those studying for the Master’s in Sports Business Management have dealings with the Automobile Club de Monaco, the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Monte Carlo Rally and Sportel Monaco.

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While these internationally renowned events may be the stuff of dreams for some, they also provide an opportunity for young people to establish special relationships that will be useful for their internships and future jobs. The university has a “careers” department, whose role is to help students hone their career plans.

“We organise a maximum of specific days with professionals from the different sectors we cover. Today, for example, a Ferrari representative is at the IUM to present the brand to the students and take away some CVs. More traditionally, we also gather internship vacancies and we have agreements with certain companies for them to meet our best students,” adds Jean-Philippe Muller.

2. Courses in tune with the times

A new Master’s degree will be launched at the beginning of the next academic year: the Master’s degree in sustainable development and innovation management. “I am very keen on this programme,” says the director, “because I think that sustainable development is an important issue, recognised in Monaco thanks to the Sovereign’s commitment.” It is an 18-month course, with two academic semesters and one internship semester.

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It is possible to enter the University in January for some courses, such as the Bachelor’s degree, but prospective students will have to wait until the beginning of the school year in September for the Masters (for which selections have already begun). “We aren’t necessarily looking for academic excellence in the application, but rather for profiles,” Jean-Philippe Muller mentions. “Motivation, entrepreneurial skills, international culture… These are what we measure during the interview.”  It should be noted that there is no competitive entrance examination at the IUM and that all classes are given in English.

In addition to Bachelors and Masters, the university provides MBAs and DBAs which are aimed at professionals with a few years of experience behind them. The DBA, for example, is a three-year doctorate for people ‘who want to research a subject while continuing to work’, explains the management.

3. A school on a human scale

Another important argument for the management team is the number of students, which is increasing but remains reasonable. “We are a human-scale school in a human-scale country. The students particularly like the interaction and friendly atmosphere with the teachers.” There are two types of teachers: “thirty permanent teachers and 150 speakers, experts and business professionals who come to us for specific subjects and for a few hours,” explains the director.

© International University of Monaco

Like the teachers, the students are unique in that they come from all over the world. The school has 70 different nationalities. “There is no dominant nationality, although there are a few more French and Italians of course. This year we have many students from the United States, Canada, Northern Europe… Sometimes there might be 25 nationalities in a class of 30 students. It’s very beneficial for them,” he says.

4. Preparation for entrepreneurship

About 20% of IUM alumni start their own business. “It’s quite impressive,” comments Jean-Philippe Muller. “I often say that entrepreneurship is our students’ main employer. I think it’s part of the mindset of students who leave their country to come to the Principality, so we guide them through several events and classes.”

In general, “the opportunities are very international.” After the Master’s degree in luxury, for example, “young graduates generally join the big chains such as LVMH or Kering in London or Dubai… Of the 4,000 alumni, a quarter have or have had jobs in Monaco, particularly in the financial and sports sectors.”

5. Unrivalled support

It is not always easy to find accommodation on the Côte d’Azur, which is why the International University of Monaco has built up a network of flat owners in the Principality. “They are happy to rent out their accommodation to young people, so overall our students can find accommodation. But I would love us to have our own student residence. This is a real issue. The idea would be for it to be close to the university, possibly in a neighbouring town. It is quite easy to find accommodation the rest of the year, but it’s more difficult during the summer,” says the director.

In the same spirit, the school has put in place a whole system so that students can join the IUM quickly and easily. “We have dedicated staff to help students with visas, insurance and accommodation,” explains the management. Good to know for future applicants!