France's prized school gives students a rich experience

December 3, 2004

Audencia, one of France's top five business schools, lists its strengths as academic and research excellence, an international outlook and close ties with businesses.

But Jean-Pierre Helfer, the school's new dean, says another strength is the "inner richness" students gain from their training.

"Audencia attaches great importance to giving pupils depth, direction and an understanding of the world," Mr Helfer said.

"Students learn about many fields from the start. We offer them genuine training in a third language. We are the first French school to sign the United Nation's Global Compact, which commits us to attitudes in favour of sustainable development."

Audencia is a pioneer in France for setting up a points system that takes account of extracurricular activities such as voluntary work, art, sport and entrepreneurship.

The scheme is "well received by students and businesses. They know they are recruiting global personnel," Mr Helfer said.

Mr Helfer is former director of the Institute of Business Administration in Paris and is chairman of the accreditation commission for business schools, which evaluates management programmes.

In the past two years, Audencia has, among other things, launched or revamped three MBAs and formed an alliance in business education with Bradford University School for Management. It has also entered into agreements with Japanese and Chinese schools.

This year it was accredited by the US Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. It is one of 30 schools worldwide to be awarded accreditation to both the AACSB and the European Quality Improvement System.

It has 1,800 students from nearly 40 countries and 42 per cent of teaching staff are non-French.


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