Founded in 1955, IAE Aix was the first and one of the best known of France’s national network of 33 Instituts d’Administration d’Enterprises even before its incorporation in 2012 into the University of Aix-Marseilles, a merger of three institutions tracing its earliest roots back to 1409 and forming the largest university in the Francophone world.
Located in Aix-en-Provence, 20 miles north of Marseilles, it forms a small part of the giant, with fewer than 1,000 students. Dean Virginie de Barnier proclaims the virtues of this set-up, saying that “it gives us a lot of resources, even if it is at the cost of some red tape”, and places the school “halfway between private management schools and the public university, offering the advantages of both worlds.”
University-level fees mean that, while the exit salaries of its MBAs were reckoned in 2017 to rank only 16th among French business schools, it scores consistently well on "return on investment" and also has a more diverse intake – de Barnier has pointed to the difference between the vehicles in car parks at IAE Aix and at private schools.
Accredited by EQUIS and AMBA, it aims to complete the triple with recognition from AACSB by 2023. Its CERGAM laboratory hosts the largest doctoral programme of any French business school, while teaching emphasises simulations and role play rather than the more traditional case study model.
Graduates have since 2015 been encouraged, in a novelty within the Francophone system, to swear an "Oath of Management", a business equivalent of medicine’s Hippocratic Oath.