The Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciale de Paris, founded in 1881, is along with ESSEC and ESCP one of the three Grandes Ecoles – France’s highly selective and prestigious sector of technical institutions – devoted to business education which are known as the Trois Parisiennes.
Founded by the Paris Chamber of Commerce, it broke with strict French tradition as early as 1921 when it adopted the case-based method associated with the Harvard Business School. In 1964 it moved to its current campus, a forested site around a 19th century chateau at Jouy-en-Josas on the outskirts of Paris, close to Versailles.
One of the founding institutions of the Council of European Management Schools (now the Global Alliance for Management Education), it continues to mix French and international influences, offering for instance a three-year Grand Ecole Masters in Management which includes a first-year semester abroad and a minimum of eight months of internships.
It belongs to the University of Paris-Saclay, a federation of research institutions in the southern part of the Ile de France.
The 2017 Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index found that it was the leading business school in Europe, and second in the world only to Harvard, as a producer of chief executives of Fortune 500 companies. HEC’s own figures show at least 4,000 alumni who are CEOs, CFOs or proprietors of their own companies.
Its list of alumni extends beyond business to recent French President Francois Hollande, former World Trade Organisation director-general Pascal Lamy, IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Jean-Christophe, the current Prince Napoleon, Francisco Madero, leader of the Mexican Revolution, and air ace Roland Garros.