Get Paid to Get Your MBA

If you've read some of Next Wave's recent features and articles on careers investing in science and working with technology transfer, you know that there are exciting career opportunities out there for scientists and engineers with a head for business. But breaking into these competitive fields can be difficult without extensive business experience, or even an MBA, under your belt.

What is a young researcher who's caught in the Catch-22 of needing experience to get experience, and short on the necessary cash for a pricey MBA course, to do? Well, Next Wave has discovered a course tailor made for you.

The Collège Des Ingénieurs ( CDI) runs an MBA programme aimed at scientists and engineers newly graduated with Masters or PhDs. No previous business experience is necessary, as former student Andrew Hagan explains; what counts is evidence of your leadership abilities. This is a programme aimed squarely at future industry leaders, and the organisers target the world's top universities to recruit participants.

And I mean the world! This is an international programme that is headquartered in Paris, but CDI fellows can choose to be based in Paris, Stuttgart, or Montreal for the 10-month duration of their studies.

However, exactly where you end up will depend on your "mission" placement. This is not a course in which you will spend all your time in the classroom. In fact, for more than half of the programme, fellows are with a client company, undertaking a consultancy project. These partner enterprises pay the college for the fellows' services, which means that the course is free and fellows even get a small stipend to live on.

There are two courses per year, starting in September and January, and two closing deadlines for applications: 31 March and 31 August. But be warned, entry is very competitive. The college receives about 1500 applications per year for just 75 places.

Nonetheless, if commerce is for you, this could be an ideal way to kick-start your career.

But don't take my word for it! You can learn what the course is really like from current student Conor O'Sullivan, who joined the programme after his engineering master's.

And former student Andrew Hagan, who can now add the letters MBA to his chemistry PhD, explains why the CDI was the perfect opportunity for him.

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