New Paris campus in a spectacular, sustainable and connected building
Since 17 January 2022, nearly 600 EM Normandie students have taken possession of our brand new campus, designed by the famous architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte.
Located at the gateway to Paris, at the entrance to Clichy-La-Garenne (92), the 14,000 m² of this 8-storey building has been designed around the teaching excellence and student experience so dear to our eyes: a magnificent contemporary and warm setting, functional, modular and connected, rich in terraces and green interior gardens, equipped with Edtechs, teaching, co-working, catering and sports facilities, ... conducive to the development and proximity of the supervisory teams and companies. When I think about it, the time of our famous DEN - meaning Department of Nocturnal Studies - is long gone...
A brand new campus in Le Havre
Goodbye Rue de Richelieu, hello Quai Frissard! Just a few hundred metres away from the old site, the new Le Havre campus was a real leap into the future with its fully digital classrooms, Learning Centre and Social Room. It is described as the symbol of the School’s digital transformation.
And what better way to drive this change than to share this new location, at the heart of the Le Havre Normandy campus, with the Cité Numérique (Digital City), third space and innovation platform for the digital transition of the Le Havre ecosystem?
The Seine Estuaire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Le Havre Seine Métropole (formerly the CODAH) and the Normandy Region once again showed their support by funding this fantastic project involving bold architecture. The fact that EM Normandie can depend on these key regional stakeholders is a real source of strength for the School.
Offering a wider range of programmes is always one of our main focuses. With three new MSc® in Sustainable Business Strategy, Digital Marketing and Sales and Digital Strategy and Innovation, we now have around 20 MS® and MSc® programmes – all of which have equivalents in the final year of the Master's in Management (Programme Grande Ecole). We are also setting up a new two-year MSc course for holders of an undergraduate degree (Bac+3), and launching our Bachelor’s in Business Administration - the famous BBA! This is a post-Baccalaureate, four-year, state-recognised Bachelor’s degree programme.
Since 2020, the Bachelor's degree is no longer just for universities. As you can imagine, we have not overlooked this change. Our teams have been busy working on this, and our Bachelor’s in International Management is adding value by launching its Sésame competitive exam.
Following its success with Happy at School, EM Normandie has been awarded Speak & Act’s Best School Experience 2022 label. This feat is all the more impressive, given that it has shot straight up to the Top 5 business schools in this category!
Between you and me, I’m not at all surprised, as the School has always prioritised its young talent in its growth. Clearly it is delivering, as this survey is based solely on their opinion.
Founding of the International Advisory Board
We created our International Advisory Board to support EM Normandie’s international strategy and boost its worldwide appeal. The consortium comprises academic members, professionals and graduate international development experts, and represents our ambition to move forwards. What started as a School with an international focus has become a fully-fledged international School. And of course, a little bird told me that a new campus in the United Arab Emirates is imminent...
As more than 5,000 companies are involved in EM Normandie activities, creating a Partners’ Club seemed a logical progression. It also gives us the perfect opportunity to thank each partner for their commitment and their decisive role in the growth of our institution. Our learning strategy has always focused on learning by doing and practical work. The club therefore marked a turning point which increased our partnership potential, from the influence of the employer brand to the recruitment of young talent through applied research.
Our School achieved new collective success by obtaining the brand new Qualiopi professional certification. It provides a guarantee to work-study students, lifelong learners and students under our recognition of experience (VAE) scheme of the high level of our teaching and course design. It is also a prerequisite for public funding of our courses.
Creation of an integrated CFA
No sooner said than done! As soon as the apprenticeship reform was announced, our teams started the process of setting up the School’s own Apprentice Training Centre (CFA). The Centre has a number of advantages, including unlimited places, direct support for work-study students, independence, simpler administrative procedures and reduced costs for companies. In addition to being a great way of gaining professional experience, the Centre also has the added appeal of promoting social mobility, as apprentices are exempt from tuition fees and receive a salary. It’s almost too good to be true!
Elian Pilvin becomes Dean of EM Normandie
This remarkable institution, in its various guises of ESC Le Havre, Sup Europe CESEC and then EM Normandie, has had several Deans, who include Henri Merle, Michel Poté, Jean-Léonce Dupont, Christiane Tincelin and Jean-Guy Bernard. All of our Deans have been proud to lead us, and have worked hard for equal opportunities and to offer high-quality training which is both internationally focused and firmly grounded within its region. Elian Pilvin, the new face of our General Management, is continuing this trend.
Indeed, his face is not new. Quite the contrary! He is an active member of our great community. After graduating from ESC Le Havre in 1996, he became Chair of the Alumni Network then Director of Operations and Development. His close ties with the School have continued to strengthen over time. His appointment by the Board of Directors was therefore a logical next step. Elian is an entrepreneur at heart with an excellent academic grounding, whose enthusiasm for new technologies nurtures ambitious projects to help our students to succeed.
Happy at School
As we all know, business school selection criteria are multiplying and becoming increasingly demanding, from course programmes to accreditations, certification labels, rankings, international and economic perspective and campuses. In addition to offering essential guarantees to our students, we also strive to ensure that they enjoy their time at EM Normandie.
Our focus on wellbeing was evident when we were awarded the brand new Happy at School and Bienvenue en France certification labels, with a maximum three-star rating for the latter. We’re proud that our students are satisfied, and delighted with praise of our integration initiatives, the quality of our campuses, the variety of student life, the relevance of our learning and the way in which we foster community confidence in the future. We take care to nurture our students and help them grow by offering Welcome Weeks and peer-to-peer sponsorship schemes, and ensuring that they play a central part in the running of the School.
A new term appears in the digital vocabulary of EM Normandie: Flex Rooms. The Business School had already been planning them for a while but the Covid-19 pandemic, whose full brunt is felt worldwide, accelerates their introduction. The pandemic’s effect on the higher education community is explosive!
We all knew how high the stakes were. In 2019, we needed to renew our two international AACSB and EQUIS accreditations. We had a clear plan in place. We were aware of our strengths, and more importantly we were able to work on our weaker areas to convince the auditors of the high quality of our model. As with previous audits, there was a real buzz around the process and an unshakeable drive to defend the qualities of our beloved School. The verdict proved that our efforts had paid off, as our prestigious AACSB and EQUIS accreditations were renewed for 5 and 3 years respectively.
The launch of LH Valley in 2019 marked a new step in the history of entrepreneurship at EM Normandie. Our aim: to boost our support services and get more new ideas off the ground by creating a mutually branded offering with the University of Normandy and Les Entrep’.
EM Normandie acquires its first Social Room
The Hackuarium opens on the Le Havre campus, in 2018. It is our Business School’s first Social Room and is designed to accompany the rise in the School’s profile on social media. 17,000 Facebook fans, 8,500 Twitter followers, 20,000 followers on LinkedIn and campaigns on Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram: the School is clearly committed to making this a success!
As well as investing its strength into gaining recognition on English soil – thus enabling students to travel to its Oxford campus post-Brexit, EM Normandie decided to set up another branch across the Channel. The hunger for opening in new territories and our years of experience were probably the reason for it. And lo and behold, the Dublin campus, a 350 m 2 site within the British Study Centre, was born.
Dublin, The place to be, home of the GAFAs! Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Twitter are just some of the big names in business with offices in this cosmopolitan city. It is an ideal location for students keen to forge links with the Tech Giants. In its opening year, 80 second-year and fourth-year PGE students joined the Dublin site. By the start of the 2018 academic year, this figure had doubled. Furthermore, from 2021, once a year, for one semester, the campus would become an incubator for future leaders of the environmental and digital transition as part of the last year of the Strategy and Consulting Track. The Digital Sales specialisation was developed: onwards and upwards!
The Caen campus grows
2016 was a far cry from 9 rue Claude Bloch of 1987. The campus underwent a major transformation. It was extended several times, and went from 1,800 m 2 to over 10,000 m 2 in the space of 20 years. The latest expansion, based on a modern feel and aesthetics, has been a major draw for students.
Measuring more than 2,000 m² spread over 4 levels, the extension work included a completely redesigned reception hall with natural skylight and modular classrooms. EM Normandie infrastructure complies with Business School standards, and the School fully intends to continue to grow. However, none of the above would have been possible without the invaluable support of Caen Normandy Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Normandy region, Calvados county and the Caen La Mer urban community, who have all been eager to support the development of this "flagship of Norman higher education", “this wonderful higher education tool” for those who want to learn the true meaning of the word “management” and the universal nature of the verb “to undertake”, as Hervé Morin, the Chair of the Normandy region and Jean-Léonce Dupont, President of the Calvados county, put it, during the official opening ceremony.
In 2017, the graduates’ association was reborn as EM Normandie Alumni. It found a new logo, launched its own website and started to publish its biannual magazine. By this time, it already had tens of thousands of members, spread over more than 100 countries around the world. The association is brimming with ideas to bring students and graduates together. Every year, it organises around 100 events in France and abroad including galas, open talks, business drinks and business workshops. Our dynamic, active and close-kit circle is the envy of our peers!
After EPAS and AACSB, EQUIS was the next logical step in our journey. We saw that EQUIS could give us a considerable competitive edge, both in France and abroad, enabling us to grow and serve the needs of our students, business partners and linked institutions.
Our staff once again rose to the challenge. They implemented a continuous improvement approach to meet the many standards, question working methods and identify areas for improvement. Our constant quest for excellence was already embedded into our culture.
We were primed and ready for the heavy scrutiny that the accreditation process brings. Our pitch was polished, we knew how to argue our case and, most importantly, we believed that EM Normandie had the potential to be one of the best business schools in the world. The process was intensive but once again, we gave it our all. And our efforts paid off, as EM Normandie was officially awarded EQUIS accreditation for three years, making it one of the elite 1% of global business schools to hold both EQUIS and AACSB.
We have created a strong basis and a positive future for future generations of students. EM Normandie is now one of the best business schools in the world. It has what it takes to attract students and professors globally, expand its international research and sign new partnership agreements with the most prestigious universities. And of course, we don't intend to stop there...
In 2016, EM Normandie is one of the 13 latest institutions to be awarded the Private Higher Education Establishment of Public Interest (EESPIG) label by the French Ministry for National and Higher Education and Research (MENESR).
This new award, combined with the School’s status as a non-profit organisation under the French Law of 1901 and an active member of UGEI, bears witness to the School’s objective of making an impartial contribution to the public services of training, teaching innovation, social openness, international development, research and supporting entrepreneurship. The award will encourage staff to redouble their efforts in this regard.
Who was it that said success breeds success? In any case, one thing is certain: at EM Normandie, this saying rings true. After Paris, the School established roots in Oxford. Paris had been conquered; the next target was England! The School had set its sights higher and further afield! The Grande École with an international perspective was to become a fully-fledged international Grande École.
EM Normandie set up its next base within the grounds of the City of Oxford College, in the heart of the city. Courses were taught in English, using Anglo-Saxon teaching methods, with reduced intakes. A very special study environment, it was the ideal setup for Master in Management (Programme Grande École) (M1) students wishing to study abroad in fourth-year without leaving their School in spirit.
The students were not the only ones to be won over. Teachers and administrative staff from French campuses packed their bags and headed over to the new site alongside local colleagues. They were like one big extended EM Normandie family moving to foreign territory yet fiercely proud of its esprit de corps.
Over the next few years, EM Normandie opened its doors to students in the second and then third-year of the post-baccalaureate Programme Grande École (years U2 and U3), launched a final year (M2) specialisation in Banking, Finance and FinTech, before welcoming all PGE students, from first-year to the end of the course.
In 2017, the School presented its new strategic plan in Oxford, with the media watching. One newspaper article was entitled "EM NORMANDIE, QUEEN OF OXFORD"! This really was the cherry on the cake.
The School may be symbolic of a reunified Normandy, but it also reflects the region’s history of conquest in its strive to invade new territories. First in the firing line was Paris. A tactical decision! Had I been around at the time, I would have done the same thing myself. Descending on the capital was vital if we were to strengthen our position alongside other Business Schools, reinforce our links with major French and international companies and increase our appeal to applicants.
Paris, 16th arrondissement, rue du Ranelagh. A strategic address, easy to access whether you come from Gare St Lazare or Gare de Lyon… Why Gare de Lyon? Oh yes, I forgot to mention, we share this site with the Grenoble Ecole de Management.
Spread over two levels, the facilities include High-Tech classrooms, a showroom dedicated to innovative teaching technology and recreational areas where students can sit and chat, meet for lunch, etc. What’s more, our neighbour is the Alain Ducasse cookery school!
The first students to attend this campus were those on a work-study programme as part of the Master in Management (Programme Grande École) and international students on “Summer School” programmes. However, the target group soon widened. Many post-baccalaureate applicants were drawn to the campus. 60% were from the Paris region. Each year, the numbers increased, and we now have the entire site to accommodate our growing School.
All systems go for AACSB
2014 was the year in which we renewed our EPAS accreditation, but also brought many new challenges. We have always applied the same philosophy of setting our sights on the future. Clearly, we also apply this outlook to our accreditations. Thus, the AACSB accreditation became one of the main focus areas of our 2013-2017 ‘Value and Performance’ strategic plan.
This indisputable guarantee of excellence represented a major step towards boosting our appeal, increasing our recruitment of international students and professors and forging partnerships with the most prestigious international universities.
In the preceding years, the School’s management bodies, employees, students, graduates and partners had given their all to meet AACSB's rigorous accreditation standards.
A great deal of work went into our mission, strategy, teaching staff, programmes, student support and improvement and innovation measures, with nothing left to chance. Our loyal staff put everything into their verbal presentation.
Finally, the big day arrived and we received the eagerly awaited call. EM Normandie had been awarded the maximum five-year AACSB accreditation! We were so proud of our amazing School for joining the ranks of only 5% of business schools worldwide with AACSB accreditation (and one of only 22 in France). What a celebration!
The official auditors’ letter cited a number of EM Normandie’s attributes including its strong international dimension, its close links with Norman companies and its positive impact on its region (already highlighted by the BSIS). Also mentioned were the expansion of its research programmes, teaching innovation through SmartEcole®, its approachability and student support as well as its tireless work to revitalize its alumni association rebranded as the EM Normandie Network.
InsIDE is born
You know about the chicken and egg scenario, don’t you? The famous question as to which came first? If we applied this debate to EM Normandie Business School to explain how entrepreneurship came about within the School, the chronology would be much more straightforward. It’s quite simple: entrepreneurship has been in our bones since forever, and, for just as long, we have worked hard to pass it on to our students. You can therefore imagine how proud we were when, in 2009, a group of pupils set up ACCES, an association to provide coaching to business start-ups, which influenced the national “Cordées de l’Entrepreneuriat” programme, several years later.
Obviously, this momentum sparked new ambition; we help to organise a number of startup weekends- where budding entrepreneurs have 54 hours to set up a business- and, in particular, envisage a new scheme. We think it through, we refine it, and finally, in 2014, we present it: the Institute for Innovation and Development of Entrepreneurship, InsIDE for those in the know.
The programme seeks to encourage entrepreneurship, train people from all backgrounds and support students from the idea phase right through to creating their business. The concept is an instant success. It becomes increasingly popular among learners, to the point where the student incubator ends up playing a huge role in the EM Normandie Experience. We teach them how to pitch their projects, put them on support programmes and help them to set up a business. We even go as far as identifying Business Angels to maximise the chances of bringing their ideas to life! And the scheme’s success does not end there; professionals are also full of praise for the expertise of InsIDE, which introduces more and more short and tailored training courses to meet all of their needs. What’s more, this key fixture, now firmly established in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, works with many regional stakeholders to help a growing number of budding entrepreneurs to take the plunge, to follow their dreams.
As part of the 2013-2017 “Values and Performance” strategic plan, we founded the Teaching and Future Professions Observatory. We think of it as an analysis and forecasting unit to identify changes and new business trends. The Observatory was the source of a range of ideas which fed into the development of our training courses.
SmartEcole® comes onto the scene
EM Normandie launches a revolutionary new tool in the Grandes Écoles community: SmartEcole®. This bold statement confirms its intention to overturn conventional educational models and ride the wave of new technologies and the habits of digital natives. This is not just about being fashionable, however: the School seeks to “make traineeships fun again”...a real early 21st century challenge!
In 2013, the BSIS (Business School Impact System) was launched. Developed by the FNEGE (French National Foundation for Business Management Teaching), this tool measures the impact of institutions on the regions in which they are located. We were one of the first Grandes Ecoles to sign up. And the conclusions speak for themselves: EM Normandie Business School is an asset to Normandy. Better still, it boosts Normandy’s economy and helps to ensure that young talented people settle in the region.
A new milestone is achieved in 2012: EM Normandie becomes an active member of the Union of Independent Grandes Écoles. This association, founded in 1993, aims to “bring together the main engineering and business schools united by their desire for independence”.
The moment in 2009 when seven EM Normandie students took a risk by creating ACCES, a startup coaching association, is imprinted on my memory. They decided to use their project management and entrepreneurship skills to good use by supporting project leaders from deprived urban areas of Le Havre. Yazid Sabeg, France’s Commissioner for Diversity and Equal Opportunities praised this creative initiative, which led to the national launch of Cordées de l'Entrepreneuriat (leg-up for entrepreneurs) in 2011. I am so proud of this great initiative, which really reflects the values of our School!
EM Normandie obtains EPAS accreditation
Competition between the French Grandes Ecoles was on the rise. EM Normandie Business School needed to stand out from the crowd by gaining evidence of its high standards. It was clear that we needed international accreditation.
EPAS was the first hurdle to overcome. We were aware that this would involve scrutiny of our programmes, staffing ratios, research activities, academic partnerships, business links and graduate employment. Our teams began their long and painstaking work to ensure that we met the requirements. Their verbal presentation was a loyal showcase of EM Normandie’s high standards of excellence together with its courageous and innovative approach. Finally the auditors issued their verdict: EM Normandie Business School had been awarded a three-year EPAS accreditation for its Master's in Management (Programme Grande Ecole). We celebrated completing the first stage of what promised to be a long journey.
One thing is certain: EM Normandie has daring and innovation in its blood...not to mention the power to surprise. In 2011, it launches its lifelong learning Master’s in Management available entirely by e-learning: the first of its kind in Europe! It even gives a free iPad to all the trainees in the first class of the programme. I grew up using pens and inkwells, and here I am catapulted into a new world of seemingly endless possibilities.
Business schools can never stand still, as student expectations are always growing. We have to provide a wide range of programmes. Our steering committee therefore decided to launch some niche specialisms to match regional and recruitment needs. We created new MS and MSc courses, and launched our Bachelor’s in International Affairs, later renamed to the Bachelor’s in International Management As its name suggests, this three-year Post-Baccalaureate, state-backed course has a strong international dimension and includes at least one compulsory foreign placement.
The EM Normandie Network comes to life
The Friends Society of former ESC Le Havre students, created in 1875, turned out to be a great success! Thanks to the graduates’ unshakeable commitment to their School, the Society continued to provide a welcoming safe space, even during the two World Wars.
The 2004 ESC Le Havre and Sup Europe CESEC merger shifted the School into another gear, inspiring us to go further. The EM Normandie Network was created in 2008, and a full-time staff member was recruited. It had the considerable challenge of uniting a community of graduate expatriates from all over the world, with the youngest having studied at the different campuses in Caen, Le Havre and Deauville. The Network had a stroke of genius by offering membership to students from their first year of studies. The first Board of Directors was elected, and the Network set out its ambitions of bringing to life the student community, supporting students throughout their careers and boosting EM Normandie’s strategy.
EM Normandie officially changes status and becomes a non-profit organisation under the French Law of 1901, constituted under private law. It becomes self-governing, with a Board of Directors and a Strategic Guidance Council.
EM Normandie’s Master in Management is launched!
Following the merger of ESC Le Havre and SUP Europe CESEC to form the EM Normandie Business School, the next clear step was to merge the initial training programmes of both institutions. EM Normandie’s Master in Management (Programme Grande Ecole) was born!
This new five-year post-Baccalaureate state-recognised Master's degree was a step ahead of the competition. There were three entrance levels: post-Bac, post-preparatory classes and two, three or four years post-Bac. This represented a new step forward in the history of the School, which began to welcome students of all levels while continuing to use different selection methods and maintaining its high standards.
I still remember the French Ministry of National Education’s positive reaction to this educational project, which was based on a new and demanding teaching plan. Our institution set itself the mission of providing students with the knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills that they need in order to access top international careers, over a two-, three- or five- year period. Our aim was to offer students a wealth of experiences with multiple specialisms, a range of foreign languages, foreign placement opportunities and professional development projects throughout their course. We gain great satisfaction from helping each student with their personalised training plan based on both academic requirements and their own preferences. We also provide tools to help each student with their personal and professional development. Multiple specialisms have always been offered alongside our core management programme, to ensure that our students have the best possible job prospects. The aim is to prepare them for the future jobs market and a successful professional career.
In 2005, we began to organise our various research projects around the Métis Laboratory. This initiative embodied our willingness to develop academic and applied research which not only underpins the excellence of our teaching, but also provides professionals with a scientific perspective on developments in the business world.
The Métis Laboratory is designed to be a space for knowledge and discussion. It is a consortium where new knowledge is created in a complex and constantly changing environment. The Lab focuses on research in four main areas:
For a School which teaches business management and trains the managers of tomorrow, what could be more fitting than an applied research programme on the topic of Organisation, Projects and Entrepreneurship? By developing our scientific knowledge in this field, our intention was to prepare future managers and entrepreneurs even better for the organisational changes and challenges which their companies will face. Maritime and Port Logistics is also, unsurprisingly, a key focus area given our long-standing location next to the Le Havre port, a European crossroads of maritime transport. Another key area, Regional Appeal and Development, is based on analyses of international investment trends, the principles of regional marketing and policies to increase appeal, and the role urban areas play within regions. The work carried out under this area is also used to enhance our MS Development, Innovation and Regional Marketing, created in 1991, which in 2017 became the Regional Development Strategy. Last but not least, the Lab studies Transnational Management. It is important to note that multicultural management is one of the key teaching elements on our programme, and is the lifeblood of the School. Our work focuses on ethics and customs, the management of organisations and the training and development of managers. However, nothing is set in stone! Even when the research areas were created, instinct told me that our research topics would need to keep evolving in order to meet the needs of different market stakeholders.
The ESC Normandie Group becomes the École de Management de Normandie (EM Normandie Business School)
2004 marks yet another turning point in the history of our institution. The Le Havre and Caen entities were merged to form the École de Management de Normandie. The merging of the two schools into one was a pivotal moment following 20 years of collaboration between the two cities of Le Havre and Caen. The EM Normandie adventure was one step ahead of Normandy’s reunification in 2016.
The teams on this project worked tirelessly with the Caen and Le Havre Chambers of Commerce and Industry to achieve a progressive move towards cooperation. They had to rewrite the script on a number of occasions to create this shared learning programme for the region.
I still remember the first partnership between the two cities in 1982, which gave rise to the ESC Normandie Group. Since then, we have continued to pool our resources, methods and teaching know-how so that we can offer our students a more enhanced learning experience. With its own legal status and Jean-Guy Bernard appointed as its Head, the École de Management de Normandie was able to open up a range of opportunities. At the same time, the ESC Le Havre (5-year post-Baccalaureate) qualification received Master’s recognition, testament to the hard work we had put in to creating a programme of excellence.
Remember when ESC Le Havre was created and I explained the famous object lesson approach to you? We believe that learning on-the-job helps our young talent to develop an analytical mind and provides them with the tools to become fully-fledged managers and strong business leaders.
Year after year, practice continues to infuse the daily curriculum until, in 1998, in a stroke of genius, we establish a partnership with the HEC Group in relation to HEC Entrepreneurs pedagogy. Setting our students to work as part of a team on real management issues provides them with the perfect opportunity to tackle the business world, learn teamworking skills and build their network.
The partnership comes to a natural end after the turn of the century, but we are keen to continue sending our students on business placements, to “matchmake learners and companies”; we are rather good at this and invest an incredible amount of energy into it!
1988 marks a major triumph! ESC Normandie becomes a member of the highly prestigious Conférence des Grandes Écoles. Such recognition was crucial to gain momentum in an increasingly competitive sector. We are well aware that our ways of working are set to change significantly. Recruitment of permanent professors, developping all the more ambitious courses, a stronger focus on research... We have to cover all bases!
SUP EUROPE CESEC emerges
Offering the Le Havre students the opportunity to follow a final year specialisation with an international focus in Caen is only a first step in the synergy strategies of the Chambers of Commerce of Caen and Le Havre. They now see further and together create SUP EUROPE CESEC.
Located at 9 rue Claude Bloch in Caen, the campus is under the direction of Jean-Léonce Dupont, under the governance of ESC Le Havre. A brand-new program is offered there, in three and then four years, offering many business experiences and decidedly international-oriented, with programs in several languages and long expatriations (one year minimum) within a network of partner universities that are developing all over the world (Great Britain, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Mexico, United States, Australia, etc.) ... But it has another particularity: it addresses to post-Baccalaureate students. What an audacious challenge to open up places to this new audience! What a unique model in the ESCAE network which exclusively recruits preparatory class students.
We are convinced that the active methods around group work and full student participation, which has always been part of our DNA, effectively prepare the business leaders and senior executives of tomorrow. We therefore increasingly incorporate these methods into our day-to-day learning practices, in Caen as in Le Havre: case studies, business games and simulation exercises, business situations programmed on a computer, round tables, roleplays and surveys ...
Welcome to ESC Normandie
In 1982, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Caen and Le Havre opened a new chapter in the story of our wonderful School by founding the ESC Normandie Group. It brought together ESC Le Havre, a new international programme taught in Caen, and the Le Havre Institute for Teaching and Port Research (IPER). Its Managing Director was Michel Poté, a legend in the School’s history.
With the support of the Le Havre (Seine Estuary) Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Le Havre Great Maritime Port (HAROPA - Port of Le Havre) and the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées Engineering School, we founded the Institute for Teaching and Port Research - IPER for those in the know. Our ambition was to train professionals in the maritime, port and logistics sectors from all over the world.
Le Havre is located at the crossroads of the world economy, the perfect location for IPER! This ambitious project pooled the expert knowledge of the entire Le Havre port community. Before long, it had gained solid support from exceptional partners such as HAROPA (Port of Le Havre) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
To fulfil our aim of transferring our knowledge, we began to develop tailor-made programmes for professionals in the maritime and port sector. This provided a great opportunity to share experiences, pool knowledge, and to help professionals to develop their practices and showcase their successes! At the time, we did not dare to imagine that IPER would eventually support thousands of experts, nor that they would come from all corners of the earth (Algeria, Argentina, Cameroon, Colombia, Ivory Coast, the Philippines and Togo) for our port operations and management higher education training. We hadn’t dared imagine that women would travel from all over the world to attend our exclusively female excellence training, launched in 2008, to fulfil the UN’s Millennium Development Goal no. 3: “Promote gender equality and empower women”. Women now play a key role in the maritime and port industry, and we have continued to pursue this goal, with our 2019 World Maritime Day adopting the theme of “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”.
The great ESCAE era
1947 brings positive news on two fronts: ESC Le Havre joined the new network of Higher Education Schools of Trade and Business Administration (ESCAE) set up at the government’s initiative, and our programme was endorsed by the French Ministry of National Education. These two accolades were testament to the educational excellence of our training, and boosted our credibility in relation to other engineering schools and universities.
We were now in the post-Second World War period. We had complied with ESCAE requirements. Our course was now three years with a final examination and a qualification shared by the entire network: the diploma of higher business education (DECS). We narrowed down our objective to training future business leaders and senior executives. We finally gained “Grande École” status like the engineering schools, which gave us a boost.
The examination covered French composition, geography, applied arithmetic and algebra. Candidates had to master both language and figures, and of course have a critical mind. Try putting yourself in the shoes of a candidate (see below):
The staff of a trading firm are paid as follows:
- a) Each employee, whether present or on leave, receives 250 francs per fortnight.
- b) A bonus is calculated on the total amount of sales for the fortnight and distributed equally among all employees present.
All employees were present the first fortnight of July, and the bonus rate was 1.25%.
For the second fortnight, four employees were on leave and the rate was raised to 1.875%.
The total turnover each fortnight was proportional to the number of employees present.
The total compensation the company paid its employees remained the same in both cases, i.e. 18,600 francs.
- 1) The number of employees employed by the firm.
- 2) The turnover for each fortnight.
- 3) The salary of one employee present in each fortnight.
Explain and discuss this text by Montesquieu: “The natural effect of trade is to bring about peace because all unions are founded on natural requirements. However, two nations which trade with one another become mutually dependent”.
When I founded ESC Le Havre in 1871 with my brother Jacques, we had a clear objective. It goes without saying that we wanted to train brilliant traders, who are responsible citizens and committed to overcoming life’s challenges. But for us, a key aspect of our plans was to include people from different backgrounds, women as well as men. I married Julie, a committed feminist and Chair of the National Council of French Women (Conseil National des Femmes Françaises), and her battles became mine. I campaigned alongside her for votes for women. In 1917, I helped to set up a women's rights group in Parliament. And of course, I also worked hard to make ESC Le Havre a place in which everyone could realise their potential.
Our work finally came to fruition in 1920, when three female candidates signed up to take the competitive entrance exam. Their numbers were small, but they were there, daring to be different. And they set the scene for a revolution in the world of higher education. Then came the Roaring Twenties. Women demanded equal access to education. The Second World War followed by the May 68 uprising in France accelerated the women’s liberation movement. Female student numbers increased at breakneck speed, leaping up by 110% between 1973 and 1978.
Step by step, the School welcomed more women and we were gradually moving towards full parity. I am proud to note that over the decades, our successive teams have continued the campaign for women’s rights, in a world where gender equality is still not always a reality. Some of our academics have taken on gender equality as a research topic, and we have appointed a Gender Equality Officer. In 2018, the School even launched a robust system to combat sexual and gender-based violence, which covers the entire EM Normandie community. The School’s Wellbeing and Inclusion department oversees the system, which focuses on raising awareness, protecting victims and punishing perpetrators. We have also adopted further equality measures include signing dedicated conventions and charters and partnering with regional initiatives.
Our student associations are also committed to equality. All association chairs sign our “10 EM student pledges against harassment and discrimination”. There are also a number of new projects in the pipeline with gender equality as their main priority. Our students and graduates association - EM Normandie Alumni - has launched initiatives to support the journey towards equality.
There have been a number of success stories, both in France and abroad, of female EM Normandie graduates taking on careers which were previous dominated by men. Women from EM Normandie have realised their dreams in a range of areas including setting up their own businesses, managing teams, and even becoming DJs or airline pilots!
We set up a competitive entrance exam: We only had 33 candidates for the 45 places available in the first year. While we would have preferred to have a full house, our focus at the time was to attract students from a diverse range of backgrounds. This is a cause close to our hearts and a battle that we will never stop fighting, as we believe that diversity brings wealth. Equal opportunities should be a fundamental right. We were already living up to this ideal by welcoming students from all social classes, from all over France and from around the world.
The School gains State recognition
1890 marks a major milestone for ESC Le Havre: its recognition by the State!
I remember the unique mixture of excitement and stress that we felt in the moments leading up to the decision.
Recognition was a mark of the educational excellence of our training, and strengthened our credibility in relation to other engineering schools and universities. What is more, we were now able to receive State funding to help us run our wonderful institution. However, recognition also meant that we needed to comply with a number of rules. We changed our status from a private institution to a semi-private institution, with a link to the Le Havre Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It was the start of a new era...
Félix, Gaston, Ernest and Emile went on to work in various commercial and industrial sectors, but remained deeply committed to the School. To cement this unbreakable bond, in 1875 they founded the Friends Society (société amicale) of former ESC Le Havre students, to share valuable information, build trusted relationships and help one another.
Once upon a time, we were ESC Le Havre...
ESC Le Havre was one of the first Business Schools to be born in France. How proud we were! I created the School with my brother, Jacques. We could see that the cotton trade clearly occupied a central role in society. Therefore, our aim was to train cotton merchants and traders.
ESC Le Havre opened its doors at 21 rue Ancelot with Director Hyppolyte Vannier at the helm. Vannier was a former trader, former professor of trade in Paris and author of a number of accounting books. There were 26 students in our first annual intake: 15 from Le Havre and 11 from other French regions and even from Algeria. We rather proudly launched our first two-year study programme. Students studied law, accountancy and trade geography. They learned how global trade operates, import and export methods and different communications methods, with of course a focus on maritime transport. Le Havre provided the perfect location in which to study this programme. With its docks and warehouses on the doorstep, students could see for themselves how a port works, with goods flowing in and out from all over the world. There was also a focus on foreign language learning, with four hours of English and three hours of Spanish each week. And of course, practical work was already a major feature of our courses.
The programme proved to be a resounding success. The following year, 43 students joined ESC Le Havre. We were already offering tailored programmes at this stage, and students could either choose to do a preparatory year or join the programme in years 1 or 2. A mix of nationalities was also a must, and we had students from Spain, Poland, the United States and of course Alsace.