Basic Military Training Period
Following an induction week at the École Polytechnique in September, personal development and military training takes place for three weeks at the Courtine camp (Creuse). This training teaches students the basics of military training and command training.
This training addresses the notions of command, leadership and interpersonal skills taught in the management internships.
Students acquire the military management methods which will be essential for them in their future jobs as supervisors or managers, i.e. identifying the difficulties of the position of a leader, taking a step back and anticipating.
These methods have several educational objectives.
-get to know themselves, discover their physical and mental limits and strive to exceed them. This helps to develop willpower and a fighting spirit.
-become accustomed to thinking and making decisions under stressful physical or mental conditions, in order to acquire the principles of field command.
-are initiated into command techniques through small group management role plays.
-develop the year group's esprit de corps thanks to the active teaching skills of the armed forces.
> Develop a sense of collective interest
The initial military training teaches students how to work as a team, a real condition of success. The aim is to demonstrate that the strength of the group enables you to go further. Each person's role within the group is also made visible, towards the attainment of a shared objective, in order to give work a meaning and encourage commitment.
The students take part in role plays called "accountability workshops" that only work if the students help each other. These accountability workshops place the students in a situation of leadership and teach them how to manage a team. Grouped into teams of fifteen, the students discover the essential role of a leader through concrete cases, i.e. they learn how to delegate and surround themselves with the good elements of a team. The students' organizational, communication, anticipation and listening capacities are evaluated during these exercises. These workshops train the future leaders to become efficient when it comes to making a group decision and knowing how to manage teams.
A debriefing or "feedback" session, is held after each workshop to make the student aware of their strengths and any areas for improvement. Feedback is a debriefing method specific to the army and it takes place after each operation. This debriefing is supervised by a high-ranking officer in order to analyze the decisions made, team work and coordination.
> Act in a crisis
The military method for managing crises consists in sharing information before acting: learning how to ask the right questions, anticipate the scenarios and gather expert opinions beforehand. Another technique used and taught to students is to deal with only one objective at a time rather than spreading themselves too thinly.
> Sports and physical activities
The École Polytechnique's initial military training is aimed at making students aware of their own physical abilities. Numerous activities such as obstacle courses, climbing and orienteering are offered during the internship.
> Stress management
Interns will learn how to manage their psychological stress by having to overcome obstacles in their daily lives. They therefore learn to face difficulties and potential failure by using their qualities and managing their weaknesses.
During the Courtine camp, time is dedicated to preparing for the first year personal development internship. Conferences organized during the stay present the panel of internships in civil and military posts offered to students. This time allows students to make sure the internship they choose is suited to their personality and corresponds to their expectations.