Grandes ecoles rise to global challenge

January 1, 1999

Top French business schools linked to the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry are adapting to global economic trends with the establishment of two international training centres.

The schools include HEC (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales), Insead (Institut Europeen d'Administration des Affaires) and the CPA (Centre de Perfectionnement aux Affaires), which will collaborate in running an international management training centre at HEC's campus in Jouy-en-Josas, about 30 kilometres south-west of Paris.

A second, more Europe-focused centre will be jointly managed in Paris by the Groupe ESCP (Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris) and the EAP (Ecole Europeenne des Affaires de Paris) which has branches in Oxford, Berlin and Madrid.

Through reorganisation of its elite schools the chamber is bracing itself to compete with such institutions as the London School of Economics and American business schools, which are becoming attracted to the European market. Among changes will be the introduction of courses leading to internationally recognised degrees, including MBAs and doctorates.

Michel Franck, the chamber's president, said the aim was to have foreigners making up half the student body and teaching staff within five years of opening the centres in 2000. Student numbers for each centre are planned at between 2,000 and 2,200, each with 100 to 120 teachers.

Mr Franck said: "The French grandes ecoles must compete in Europe and the world. It is not enough for them to be top of the French league."

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