The Ecole Superieure des Sciences at Commerciales (ESSEC) which was founded in 1907 as the Economic Institute. With with HEC and ESCP it is one of the three Paris-based Grandes Ecoles – France’s highly selective and prestigious sector of technical institutions - specialising in business education which are known as the "Trois Parisiennes".
Students are admitted via the concours entrance exam, which has an acceptance rate of 6-7 per cent.
Founded as a Catholic response to HEC’s secularism, it was run by a priest, Father Camille Donjon, from 1939 to 1960. In recent times it has lived up to its motto of "L’Esprit Pioneer", taking the initial step towards Triple Crown accreditation when it became the first school outside North America accredited by the AACSB in 1997, two years before it rebranded its Grand Ecole programme as MBAs.
Its Paris operations today are divided between an executive campus in the city at La Defense and the business school in the suburbs at Cergy-Pontoise.
Its continuing importance within the French system was signalled in 2017 when Jean-Michel Blanquier, director-general since 2013, was appointed national Minister of Education following the election of President Macron. Blanquier’s period in office had seen an emphasis on internationalisation, with the creation of new campuses in Singapore – where it has offered courses since 2006 - in 2015 and the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region of Morocco in 2017.
Other developments include an MBA offered in partnership with Mannheim Business School, an English-language Executive MBA and a Global MBA in luxury brand management and hospitality.