“Producing knowledge, engaging in debate” Christine Sinapi, ESSCA – News
You recently announced the opening of campuses abroad: Málaga and Luxembourg, after the ones in Budapest and Shanghai. Why are these two areas not often found in the world of management schools?
ESSCA defines its position on the development of Europe. We already have international campuses: Shanghai since 2006 and Budapest since 1993. The logic of this international development is not new, but we are currently accelerating it with development focused on central Europe. The geopolitical, economic and also environmental context as we know it requires attention to Europe. The internationalization of training needs to be rethought, and less remote, low-carbon practices are part of the challenges. With this in mind, we are opening two campuses at the beginning of the next academic year, one in Malaga and the other in Luxembourg.
Malaga is a very dynamic city economically. It is an epicenter of expertise and development, particularly in the fields of data, artificial intelligence and cyber security. These topics are important today and will be even more important tomorrow. They are essential to the skills expected by companies and will be at the heart of tomorrow’s challenges and jobs. These topics form the ESSCA areas of expertise that we will continue to strengthen. We want to develop our specializations in these areas and this will be an extraordinary opportunity for our students to study in the center of an ecosystem at the forefront of these disciplines, for example in Malaga. In a promising area, possible collaborations with companies, start-ups, experience, being at the forefront of these issues is a real plus. In addition, Spain can be a suitable campus for students For example, Spanish speakers from Latin America who want to join our ESSCA programs. Studying in a Spanish-speaking country can be helpful, even if the courses are in English.
Luxembourg is likewise one of the leading European financial centers which, as we know, has positioned itself very strongly in terms of compliance, anti-money laundering and the financing of impact investments. The challenges of finance today must be environmental and social transformation. Here, too, it aligns with the positions we want to empower our students by allowing them to benefit from the ecosystem and terrain at the forefront of these disciplines. Our Luxembourg campus will initially be modest and will be able to host, for example, educational seminars, projects or pioneering work.
ESSCA has established itself in many cities in recent years. Are there any cities you still plan to base yourself in in the coming years?
The development of our campus in France has been completed. With the opening of the sixth campus in Strasbourg last September, every undergraduate student is less than three hours away from an ESSCA campus, which seems very important to us. We know very well how to accompany graduates towards education. Staying with your family after graduation can be important for both family reasons and economic reasons. ESSCA offers this Grande Ecole de Management diploma and proximity opportunity. Diplomas of recognized quality that carry the Master’s degree (master’s degree in 5 years) for the Grande Ecole Program or the bachelor’s degree for the Bachelor in International Management and benefit from triple international accreditation (EQUIS, AACSB, AMBA).
At the Master’s level, our students are required to stay at their campus in France or abroad or continue at another ESSCA campus, if they wish or depending on their specialization.
Soft skills, CSR, ecological transition, personal fulfilment… these are topics that Grandes Ecoles can no longer avoid. How do you approach this in ESSCA’s pedagogy through lessons or actions you perform?
At ESSCA, the commitment to environmental and social transformation is long-standing and well-established in both teaching and research. ESSCA is regularly ranked among the best schools in these areas. This logically translates into our teachings. Thus, SDGs (sustainable development goals) are systematically applied in all courses. It’s not just a matter of having a specific course in the curriculum: every management discipline in finance, marketing or HR, for example, is interrogating these issues. Mapping is being tested to ensure that all SDGs are included in the lessons. To deepen this general base, our students are also offered specialized training, such as a master’s degree in sustainable management.
Beyond the curriculum, the commitment of our students is also central and affirmed from the start of our programs. So, this year we introduced pre-school onboardings focused on these topics for all levels and programs (Bachelor, PGE or concurrent admissions). For example, the Undergraduate recruitments were carried out in partnership with Make Sense and focused on impact entrepreneurship. For those new to PGE, we partnered with Splash to implement a large-scale project simultaneously across all of our campuses. Thus, all our first-year students built wooden structures within and for IMEs (IMEs, medical-educational institutions, structures that welcome children with disabilities) in their area for a week.
The values of solidarity, openness to others, and commitment that make up ESSCA’s educational projects are found in this ambition to prepare our students to be actors and society of ecological transformation tomorrow and today.
Several schools have received mission society status. Is this an approach implemented by ESSCA?
ESSCA benefits from EESPIG status, which constitutes an even more visible recognition and commitment to common interests. This recognition and commitment is a strong indication of our school and values.
Many management schools think deeply about their cause, which goes beyond producing future managers or future entrepreneurs. How would you determine the cause of ESSCA?
Education and scientific philosophy are first. It is about producing and disseminating knowledge, participating in scientific and public debate, and believing that education is a force for freedom. Three main dimensions can be highlighted in its decline. The first is to continue to provide cutting-edge skills for business and society, including in areas undergoing major transformation such as artificial intelligence and data. The second is to respond to the global challenges we are facing with geopolitical, ecological, social, and global logic at the same time. This includes issues of inclusion and diversity. These are extremely powerful and thought-provoking topics. The third dimension is more conceptual. The humanities have long been an integral part of our courses and certainly continue to be a hallmark of ESSCA. Today it is one third of the content of the 1st cycle. In the face of increasing economic, geopolitical, environmental complexity and acceleration, it is a matter of giving our students the ability to make sense of the world so they can think about it. and carry transformations. In this regard, hybridization of courses, critical thinking, humanities combined with solid skills are key. Hybridization should be our guide.