最主要的差別就是這裡大量使用個案研討。在台大也不是沒碰過個案，只是往往是一個學期一兩份當成團體報告，解決方式呢大概就是開個 FB 社團或是對話框，約個時間出來討論一下，分配好回去各自寫幾頁，最後一個人統整文件與簡報就大功告成了。然而在這裡一個星期我至少有兩份個案，更不用說課堂上的單頁迷你個案，而歐洲、新加坡同學討論個案的方式也和台灣大大不同，深深覺得自己分析能力好弱，以前做那些個案根本都是 Garbage-in, garbage-out。
上星期剛完成 Global Human Resource 這門課的團體個案報告，來自慕尼黑工業大學（TU München）的 Christoph 馬上震撼到我，甚至讓我懷疑自己沒有辦法好好分析個案。
在我們第一次約討論前，我一如往常的讀完個案，寫了一小張要點分析，然後就前去討論，沒想到 Christoph 老兄在雨中風塵僕僕地趕到後，拿出來的竟是一整份完整的簡報！包含他自己提出的關鍵問題，與好幾張顧問式的分析簡報，完整的圖表與清晰的綱要當下讓我手寫那張字跡潦草的便條顯得隨便又懶惰；怎知更震撼的還在後頭：早上 10 點約的討論，竟然做到晚上 7 點半！
當我們又餓又累，走出教室奔向假日早早關門的學校食堂，眼睜睜見著大門在我們眼前硬生生的鎖上。而且這 11 個小時可真的不是像在台大討論個 3、4 小時裏頭有一半在閒聊：首先是確認每個問題意識是否清晰且有意義，再來一一從個案中找出有效的資訊，接著還針對這個小型投資銀行招募 associate 的個案，比較和其他投行的異同，除了參考各大投行的招聘網頁，我們也請教組裡待過投行的 Hang Shen，甚至在泰國念 MBA 的 Em 直接打電話回泰國請教她的投行朋友。
組裡的每個人或運用經驗或運用人脈，讓沒真正實習經驗、人脈有限、連英文打字速度都不夠快的我顯得像個沒見過世面的小孩子，好在閱讀速度還夠快，還能在個案裡挖出些資料，以及從 HBR、BCG Report 中找出一些參考資料，為我們報告最後結尾提出的建議佐證。
隨後的課堂就完全圍繞在招募這個主題，教授甚至直接給我們一疊巴黎高等商業研究學院（Hautes études commerciales de Paris, HEC）學生真正的 CV，要求我們扮演 HR 挑出兩位發面試通知。當下看著 CV，突然間能夠體會之前在 cardo 分享會之中耳提面命的那些 CV 錯誤為甚麼不能犯，也突然間想問：「要是我在台大的課堂上，能夠有這樣的經歷，根本就不會花那麼多時間參加各種職涯工作坊，在零散的資訊中拼湊對 CV 的模糊概念。」
如今真的身在巴黎高等商學院的課堂，才理解台灣的第一學府，也是有它的限制。例如這裡所有的課都是小班教學，教學樓中其實只有一間可以容納百人的大講堂供舉辦演講之用，平時上課全都是半圓型階梯教室，由此可看出教學的重點就是參與討論，在討論之中加深印象，即便是講授的時間，小班也有利於教授掌握學生實際吸收情形；台大管則多是可容納七、八十甚至上百人的講堂，上課也是以講授為主，長時間聽課其實吸收效果真的有限，往往第二個小時之後就容易恍神，大班課堂要做起別的事也很容易。自己過去的經驗是，最有效率的學習，往往是課後自己念課本或是 google 出來的東西。
台大另外一個問題是課堂時間太長及學分數太多，台大每門課約 3 小時，大一、大二每學期其實一周能有一個半天空堂就不錯了。HEC 雖然 grande école 的學生也要修個 120ECTS，但是 6 session 3 小時的課可以拿到 3 ECTS，換成台大學分卻只有 1 啊，課堂時間長、學分數又多，每天都待在教室裡看教授口沫橫飛，只講求大量輸入的課程，其實真的影響學生自由運用時間。可以理解台大為何翹課屢見不鮮，畢竟待在沒有真正學習效率的課堂，還不如離開教室，即便只是吃個東西，也比恍神較不浪費人生吧！
商學院畢竟是個非常「市儈」非常實務導向的學院，學生是為了職場做準備，比起理學院、文學院或是社科學院都更需要討論、實做的教學方式，畢竟實際在職場上，知識密集並沒有競爭力，能夠真的應用才是商學院能夠產生的價值，否則 google 早就取代一切了。
究竟台大為甚麼不能小班、缺乏討論、上課時間又長呢？我想是因為過於低廉的學費，導致學校其實經費拮据，大班當然對學校而言比較有效益；再者教授因為學生多本來就疲於應付，更遑論還要擔任大量的行政工作以及自身升等，教授即便有心經營、恐怕也力有未逮。雖然說有助教協助（附帶一提，我在 HEC 還沒看過配助教的課），但助教也是辛苦的研究生們啊，時間也有限更別說水準參差，有碰過教授超雷全賴助教理解的課，也是有過兩光助教越問越糊塗的。
這裡的 grande école（不是貴桑桑的 MBA 喔，是高中畢業後念兩年預備學校 lycée 並通過考試進入 grande école，兩年拿到碩士文憑），具有歐盟身分的學生學費是 29800 歐元，兩年換成台灣學制的話是一學期 7500 歐，用現在匯率算約莫是台大的 10 倍，去掉這裡人均收入是台灣的 3 至 4 倍，依然是非常昂貴。
A glimpse of structural problem from Taiwan higher education through case study
The loading of studying in HEC is not beyond my limit, but I still experience a “academic" culture shock. The most evident difference is I have a lot of case study here. I did do some case in NTU, but in a less frequency like one or two for one semester or doing it as a final project. Usually, we create a Facebook group and appoint a group meeting for a quick discussion, then we assign separate part to each person and have one person to merge all the documents and slides. However, I have at least two case to read every week in HEC, not to mention the mini cases during the class. My classmates from Europe and Singapore also can dig the case so deeply that I feel my analyze skill is so poor and those case analysis I done before was actually garbage-in, garbage-out.
I just finished a group case presentation for Global Human Resource Management last week. Christoph, one of my group member from Germany, got me realize my wrong method to analyze a case. As usual, I read through the case and wrote a piece of key-point note before group discussion. However, Christoph prepared a full-length slides including the key questions he raised and several analyst charts. Those clear and rigorous analysis made my hand-written note seem too lazy and way too casual. The more shocking thing is, we met at 10 am and we finished at 7 pm. When we walked out the classroom and headed for student restaurant with hunger and tiredness, we just saw the entrance door locked in front of us. The 11 hours we spent was not like what I did in NTU, meeting for 3 or 4 hours but half of the time was just chatting. We went through every question we raised, ensuring they have clear and meaningful problem awareness first, and found effective information from the case material. Then, we compared this case, concerning a boutique investment bank’s recruiting process, with other investment bank. We took every famous investment bank webpage as reference and asked Hang Shen, one of our team member with IB working experience. Em, a Thailand MBA, even called her Thai friends in IB. Each member used their own experience or network while I, with no intern experience, limited network, even could not type fast in English, felt like a child, not being able to do anything. Fortunately, my reading speed was fast enough to dig up some information form the case and researched from HBR, BCG report to support our final suggestion in the end of report.
During the class, the professor was satisfied with our report but also challenged us on our suggestion. She asked how we proposed those idea and thought that we were lack of a logic method to raise those suggestion. In this case without pre-assumed question from professor, I finally realized what question-detecting and problem-solving really are. This kind of case study is more related to what really happened in industry place. We are really facing a company’s status quo. What we really know from the case is just like what we can get in the real-life work. No one will give us introductory question. All we can do is to spot questions by ourselves, proposing suggestions and letting our logic being challenged and criticized. By this way, our suggestion can really be an executable suggestion.
The following course was centered on the recruiting. The professor gave us a stack of real CV from HEC students, asking us act like HR to pick two for interview. While reading through those CVs, it was really easy to realize why those fatal CV mistakes was so fatal. I was wonder why we could not have this kind of workshop in NTU. If so, I would not have to spend so many treasure time on all kind of career workshop to puzzle out a blurry concept of CV.
Back to the dorm, I cooked and thought about why NTU could not offer this? It is not that the grasses is always greener on the outside of the fence, but I am really disappointed with NTU so I am really eager to see why those prestigious school is so famous. In HEC, all the course are taught in small classes. Actually, there is only a concert hall can contain 100+ people and the rest of the classroom are all U-shaped anphitheater. The classroom design reveals the main teaching method here is discussion. Even for the lecturing, the small class is also easier for the professor to know how well the students absorb. In NTU, most of the classroom can contain 70 or 80 or even more people and the main teaching method is lecturing. From my own experience, long-time lecture has limited effect for learning. I often cannot concentrate on what is taught after the second hour of each session and it is easy to do something else in such a huge class. Actually, the most effective way of learning in NTU is reading the textbook or even google.
Another main problem of NTU teaching method is the length of the class and the amount of required credits. A course in NTU is often three hours long and cross the credits of compulsory courses, it is really common for a NTU student in freshman or sophomore year to have half day off in a week. Although HEC grande école requests student to get 120 ECTS for graduation, but 6 session of three hour long course is equal to 3 ECTS, which in NTU, is only 1 credit. With the long length plus the huge amount of credits, NTU students spend so many times in the classroom seeing professors spluttering and spluttering. The course is designed for heavy input but it is really not effective for student to have their own time. That’s why skipping a class is really common in NTU. Even enjoying a good meal is more meaningful than wasting time on a not effective class.
After all, business school is very market-oriented. Business school student is preparing themselves for working. We yearn for discussion and practice for learning much much more than students studying science or liberal arts. Intensive knowledge does not bring us competitive advantage. Ability to apply knowledge into real-life working is the only value businesses school can create. Otherwise, we need nothing but google to solve any problem. Nevertheless, lecturing is not that useless at all. Many basic knowledge is still rely on lecture to learn them efficient and effective. As for accounting, this kind of course needs professor to teach briefly and heavy self-study of students. The accounting class in HEC is only 1.5 hours long, it is just a time length which students' patient is going to run out after 1.5 hour. It is better not to listen lecture but get off the class to do the exercise by yourself. Maybe this is a more effective way of learning?
Then, I have to ask why NTU cannot possess a small class? Why NTU is lacking of discussion and having super long length of course? The cheap tuition is probably an answer. School is limited on budget so it is more efficient to have huge classes. Even more, professor not only struggle to cope with so many students but also have administrative trivia and their own promotion. I am afraid that they don’t have enough time even when they really wish to do so. Although there are teaching assistant (by the way, I haven’t see teaching assistant in HEC until now), but teaching assistants are also master students who have limited time. Not to mention that teaching assistant varies in their academic ability. I have some courses with terrible professor and rely on teaching assistant to help me understand and also have some courses with awful teaching assistant who confuse me after asking for help. In HEC grande école (not the expensive MBA, the program which requires student studying in lycée after graduating from high school and pass a test to enter to), students who are EU citizen have to pay 29,800 euro, which equals to 7,500 euro a semester in Taiwanese academic system. It is almost ten times of NTU. Even consider the average French income is three to four times of Taiwan, the higher education is still very expensive. In fact, higher education is not a necessity goods, it should be expensive. But in Taiwan, people still think our higher education is too expensive to let everyone to afford. While pursuing the low cost, the quality sacrifices. How can you expect a delicate dish from a mass production restaurant? I am not bothering to talk too further here because then we will discuss about the legacy of imperial examination and it is really a cliche.
From a case study, I glimpse the structural problem of Taiwanese higher education. But the most impressive lessons is that I was really too coward to insist on studying abroad when I graduated from high school. Fortunately, I got this chance to being an exchange student, urging myself not to lost in the NTU and be more aggressive about my own future.
郭庭安／Mon rite de passage dans HEC Paris
庭安，or you can call me Violet if Chinese pronunciation is hard for you
成長於台北，心懷著世界。曾經想要投身於音樂，而後有過文學夢，高中受人文社會科學洗禮，最後在商業與社科之間擺盪。偌大的世界於隨年歲增長在眼前開展，沒什麼經歷的 90 後仍然徬徨，有幸在 20 歲這年於巴黎高等商學院展開屬於我的成年禮，期盼在迷失、徬徨與尋找的過程中，慢慢熟成，終能知世故而不世故。交換隨筆：流動的饗宴