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The world’s oldest B-school

education Updated: Jun 04, 2013 15:39 IST
Ayesha Banerjee
Ayesha Banerjee
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

What do you expect when you visit the world’s oldest B-school? A stall selling very colourful bras is certainly not your idea of a date with history, but it does make you smile when you are told it’s an innovative way to spread breast cancer awareness - especially when brisk business is being done at the stall!


White gazebos in the courtyard shielding students from the rain, a professor (Philippe Spieser) pounding away at the piano during the lunch break with students lounging around, listening to him, are the images that endure when your visit to ESCP Europe is over. However, the faculty there takes pains to tell you that though the B-school is old, and was set up by traders and businessmen to teach their children the art of buying and selling, “there is nothing old in the knowledge being imparted to students. It has a European identity, but with a global perspective.” Alumni include Jean-Pierre Raffarin (1972), former prime minister of France; Franck Petitgas (1983), head of European Investment Banking, Morgan Stanley; Nicolas Petrovic (1991), CEO, Eurostar and Patrick Thomas (1970), CEO of Hermes.

So you have the very bright Vinay Doshi, a dual degree student from IIM Lucknow, who absolutely loves the interactive classes and the numerous extracurricular options which has led to his opting for salsa classes and fencing. Ahuti Arya, a former student of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, now doing the master in European business, is pursuing her passion for films — she wants to learn all about managing film distribution and is keen to see more Bollywood and French joint film ventures. Yash Chhabra and Arpit Kumar, both with a B Tech from IIT Kharagpur and exchange students from IIM Calcutta, who are in ESCP for one semester, say though there is a load of work, the professors give students a lot of freedom, to take their time and are very open to students’ ideas and suggestions.

The group which set up ESCP Europe was led by well known economist Jean-Baptiste Say and celebrated trader Vital Roux.

Today, there are 4000 students in degree programmes representing 90 different nationalities, including those doing e-education, 1000 professors and 40,000 active alumni, says Josiane Martin-O’Brien, manager, visiting international programmes and partnership development. Prof Andreas M Kaplan, director of brand and communication Europe, says the institute, which has campuses in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Torino, has been listed among the top 10 in the Financial Times European business school rankings in 2012, number one in Germany and Italy, number two in UK and third in France.

Including the 100 tie-ups ESCP has within Europe and countries around the globe, it has an exchange programme with IIM Ahmedabad and Bangalore and dual degree and exchange programmes with IIMs Calcutta, Kozhikode, Lucknow and the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon.

Emeritus professor Jyoti Gupta, who had been involved in ESCP’s first tie-up with IIMA, says ESCP’s philosophy behind the agreements with the Indian institutes is equality. France is helping India and vice versa based on simple rationality — they are partners helping each other. “Our students are pure exchange students, there is no exchange of fees, they come for one semester and the credits they earn are recognised in both countries,” he says. “CAT scores are considered, and we get very good students from institutes such as the IITs, Stephen’s, SRCC. Selections are also done through video interviews and they pay their fee at the home institute,” he adds.

For the executive programmes, says Martin-O’Brien, “our students, as part of the Indian exposure. They, learn how to work in an emerging market. There are consulting projects and teams come here for training too. Training tie-ups have been worked out with ITC Welcomgroup, TCS, National Thermal Power Corporation, Steel Authority of India, Reserve Bank of India,” etc.

Programmes and courses

* General management degree programmes

Master in management - ranked second in the world by the Financial Times in 2012. Students specialise in more than 20 different domains within a general management programme. Students can attend core management courses and choose from over 20 specialisations (eg finance, marketing, entrepreneurship) and a portfolio of 140 electives and study in two to three countries at five campuses or at one of the 80 partner universities worldwide and obtain a dual or triple degree
* MEB (Master in European Business)
* Executive MBA
* Specialised management degree programmes
* 17 masters (full-time)
* 7 executive masters (part-time)
* Executive education

For more information, email: info.fr@escpeurope.e