The Grandes Ecoles are “institutions of higher learning that enrol students through competitive examination and offer top programs” that enjoy a high degree of independence from the State, but whose degrees only receive government recognition once accredited by the Conférence de Grandes Ecoles.

Why study in a Business Grande Ecole in France?


Are you interested in studying management and its related fields but aren’t sure where?

Here are several reasons for choosing French excellence.


The selection process for all business Grandes Ecoles is extremely demanding and makes them a very competitive environment. Selection is based either on entrance exams, often following a preparatory class, or on existing work. Being accepted to a Grande Ecole means entering an institution defined by excellence and high quality education.


In these schools you will discover that this advanced and celebrated education is largely the result of the education profession that, besides being of excellent quality, is completely international. It is made up of permanent academic specialists and associated professors, temporary staff, but also business leaders and market veterans. This group will allow you to simultaneously access current theoretical knowledge and concrete experience in the field.

In a Grande Ecole, you will have an extremely flexible curriculum, founded on “flexible and evolving pedagogy.” In addition to courses, you will complete numerous case study projects in small classes or in groups and projects that often directly relate to the world of business.


In fact, the schools are in constant collaboration with the fields of economics, industry and finance, whether it involves student education (defining needs, sitting on committees, organizing internships, end-of-studies assignments) or the innovation and promotion of new products (thanks to research contracts and technology transfers).


French Grandes Ecoles are also synonymous with international openness thanks to the learning of foreign languages and cultures, and also to the many opportunities for international experiences, whether it’s through an internship, an exchange year in an international partner university, a social or environmental humanitarian project, or even a curriculum leading to a double international degree.


Every year, the Financial Times Masters in Management rankings prove the excellence of the French business Grandes Ecoles internationally. The 2011 edition was no exception with no fewer than five French schools (HEC, ESCP, EM Lyon, ESC Grenoble and ESSEC) ranked the Top 10, including three in the five top spots. The European Business school rankings, dominated by HEC Paris’s Global MBAs, Executive MBAs and Master’s degrees, is equally flattering for French schools.


As a result, students graduating from French institutions are highly sought-after by businesses where they rise to fill the most important positions. As a result, three French Grandes Ecoles are ranked among the Top 10 institutions to have trained executives of the world’s 500 largest companies, according to the ranking system established by the Ecole des Mines.


Attending a French business Grande Ecole therefore ensures you will have an education that is diverse and flexible, with courses, group work, international experiences, conferences, professional and networking experiences leading to hundreds of different professions that combine decision-making, responsibility and creativity, in market finance, international commercial law, social entrepreneurship, luxury marketing and many other areas.


What are the main programs offered at business schools?

Programs offered at Grandes Ecoles are generally long, running five or even six years after the baccalauréat, and can be general or multipurpose in nature. A multidisciplinary culture in addition to acquiring a working method is often encouraged.

In practical terms:

Recognized French business schools all belong to the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles, which accredits some programs and, above all, guarantees the quality of the degrees.

Many French Grandes Ecoles also enjoy prestigious international accreditation from such organizations as the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System).


Some schools offer three- or four-year post-graduate programs and offer a “Bachelor” that combines the learning of basic management skills with professional experience and allows rapid entry into the job market or to a master’s degree in another program.


Most schools, however, offer programs whose objective is getting a degree equal to a master’s level (with five years of post-secondary education, or Bac+5) conferred either by post-graduate schools such as ESSCA, IESEG or ESG,  or by schools from the Bac+2, Bac+3, or Bac+4 levels such as HEC, ESSEC and ESCP Europe. Degree names vary from one school to another (Master of Science in Management, Master in Management, etc.) but members of the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles have the right to give their programs the common title of MSc, followed by the name of the field of study.



In addition, Grandes Ecoles specializing in business offer Mastères spécialisés (MS), post-graduate programs of at least one year, which include theory learning, an individual research project and the defence of a professional thesis, with the goal of either specializing in a particular field or a double major.


Very high-calibre Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in fields ranging from the luxury and hotel industries to wine, are also offered by many business Grandes Ecoles. An MBA is a top international degree in the field of global business management.

How do I get into a business Grande Ecole?


As mentioned above, there are two ways of enrolling in a Grande Ecole:

-         Through entrance exams Following the baccalauréat, some students take the Accès and Sésame post-graduate entrance exams. But half of the students chosen through entrance exams come have completed economic and business preparatory classes. These are higher education classes generally taught in lycées. Nicknamed classes prépas or prépas, they make selections based on academic standing and references following a baccalauréat, and prepare students in two or three years for the entrance exam in some of the business Grandes Ecoles, particularly the ECRICOME and BCE exams. You can register for a preparatory class through the post-graduate admission site with help from this guide. Other students take a professional or university licence, a university technology degree (DUT) or a Brevet de Technicien Supérieur (BTS).

-         On the basis of existing marks This is likely the simplest way to get into a Grande Ecole business school. You must contact the school of your choice to know how to apply.

Eduardo Ramos, international relations at Audencia school present his school:

Dorine Lebreton, international relations at Toulouse Business School present her school:

Frédérique BOUTIN, ICN Business school Nancy présent her school and its masters taught in English:

Anne-Claire Charpentier, BEM Bordeaux school of management present her school and its master taught in English:

Jie HONG, Associate director of international relations at IESEG school of management present 3 international masters entirely taught in English.  The powerpoint presentation is followed by a brief interview with Nancy GILL from CampusFrance Canada: