Meet Mike Fakih, Director of Admissions and the newest member of the Parsons Paris team. When Mike is not in Paris he’ll be traveling the world meeting with prospective students and school counselors. Stay tuned for upcoming Admission Events!
What is your favourite thing about the city?
Paris is home. It has a spirit and a character that may not be found in most other cities, mainly a rich history that continues to live in its quartiers and is preserved in a way that makes it adapt to the 21st century. What I love too is that each neighborhood has its own feel, some resembling villages, while others that are at the global forefront of style, art, and the ‘next big thing.’ I came here as a student and never left! Future students, beware!
Do you have a best kept secret in Paris anyways?
Funny enough my two best secrets are shared by tens of millions of visitors each year! One is in the Louvre, our neighbor. I love strolling by the Cour Carrée after leaving campus in the evening. Tourists usually leave and the few people you may see are beginning artists playing their instruments. I love listening to their music and just looking around me, on one side the Louvre Pyramid visible from a small alleyway and on the other, the fountain and magnificent buildings. My other best secret, is its people! I always encourage new students arriving to Paris to make friends with locals whenever possible. France has a rich tradition and culture and one can only experience it by making friends here. Friends in France are friends you keep forever and this is very precious.
What were you doing before Parsons Paris?
I was at Sciences Po Paris. I spent 8 fantastic years at that institution, one that contributes to France being the intellectual and innovative place that it is today. I was Director of the Europe-Africa Programme and before that I was Associate Director of the Middle Eastern campus. My work was both academic and developmental, including promoting the institution in exciting cities like London, Amsterdam, Rome, Athens, Istanbul, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Montreal, Dubai, Dakar and Antananarivo, but also working on securing scholarships and internship opportunities for students.
What’s in your job description?
As Director of Admission at Parsons Paris, I have a strategic role in adapting our services and operations in New York to the Paris campus and in working with the Dean, the Deputy Dean, program directors and the entire team, in developing our campus to make it even more well-known worldwide and in exploring ways to not only maintain the excellence and innovation that characterize The New School, but to accentuate our identity as it pertains to Paris and Europe.
Parsons Paris is a full-fledged part of The New School, a legendary institution, so my role is also to work with the Senior Director of Undergraduate Enrollment in New York and our graduate admission colleagues there to promote, not only Parsons, but also Eugene Lang, the College of Performing Arts and the other programs across Europe, the Middle East and beyond.
As a Director of Admission, what should the students expect from you?
They can expect me and my office to be responsive and helpful and to guide them through the application procedure and help orient them in their phase of application. I have spent many years counseling students, both on secondary and university levels, and I will continue to do so.
Where can students – or prospective students – find you?
I will be participating in several Council of International Schools (CIS) fairs, QS fairs, as well as visiting many secondary schools and college campuses. Many prospective students also schedule visits to our beautiful campus in the heart of Paris, and I am more than happy to meet with them.
What places are on your travel schedule this year?
My travel schedule until December is quite intensive: London, Oxford, and Surrey in the United Kingdom, followed by Milano in Italy and Lugano, Geneva, Lausanne and other towns in Switzerland. I also plan to visit the Middle East and Scotland before the end of 2015. As of January, students and counselors in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Morocco can expect to see me too!
Find more information about Parsons Paris Admissions and upcoming Admission events on the Parsons Paris website. Mark your calendars for National Portfolio Day in Paris on Saturday, November 21, and Parsons Paris Open House on Sunday, November 22.
Photo credit: Dasha Ilina