Apioneer for the past 200 years, ESCP can be proud of a large number of innovations successfully adopted all around the world. It remains the only pan-European school, with six campuses in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin and Warsaw.
2019is the perfect time to celebrate the innovative spirit embedded in ESCP’s genes. To do so, we look back to the creation of the School in 1819 - whereupon it became the first business school in the world - and discover the recipe for such a long life!
1THE FOUNDATIONS OF
A PIONEERING SCHOOL (1819-1869)
In 1819, a private company of a special kind is established: one of the very first business schools, and now the oldest business school in the world, was created.
During this seminal period, the School builds on original concepts that will constitute the pillars of ESCP’s innovative strategy actioned from the 1970s onwards:
A bold policy of international openness (more than 20% foreign students as early as 1827-1828), with educational content addressing international issues (three foreign languages taught from 1823; study tours in Europe from 1826-1827;). This was a true feat in France in the context of post-Napoleonic-wars society!
In addition to management science and technology, students study law and political economy, or applied sciences (chemistry). ESCP's multicultural and multidisciplinary model is already emerging.
A location at the heart of an economic capital (Hôtel des Fermes, then Hôtel de Sully, in Paris).
This early phase is shaped by its builders: entrepreneurs such as Germain Legret and Amédée Brodart, and scholars such as economist Jean-Baptiste Say, theorist of the concept of entrepreneurship; merchant Vital Roux, contributor to the conception of the French Commercial Code and promoter of a pedagogy oriented towards practical teaching; and economist Adolphe Blanqui, owner and director of the school for 24 years.
Between 1869 and 1969, under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the School is reinforced and reaches maturity. Both its resilience and adaptability are proven: on the one hand, a significant expansion of programmes and enrolments (from a few dozen students in the 1820s, to 250 at the end of the 19th century and nearly a thousand by the 1970s); and on the other, enhanced selectivity and increased academic requirements from the 1920s onwards, including:
State recognition of education in 1890
Establishment of the first specialisation sections, a legacy of the "Comptoirs" (trading posts) invented in the early years of the School: Maritime section (1905), Colonial section (1913), Hotel section (1916), Trade Representation section (1917), etc.
Mandatory competitive entrance exam in 1926
Promotion to the status of higher education establishment in 1947, an essential step towards the gradual transformation into a Grande École de Commerce
Creation of the Alumni Association and Student Union in 1950
Integration of IT and a language laboratory in the 1960s
During a turbulent century during which the city of Paris was hit by armed conflicts three times, the School premises are transformed to accommodate the war wounded (in 1870, 1914-1918, and 1939-1945) - twice in the buildings on Avenue de la République.
BUSINESS SCHOOL (1969-2019)
When the School gains its autonomy in 1969 by leaving the ESCAE network, ESCP gradually reinvents its business model, based on the values and academic principles that have been instilled since 1819.
The new integrated European campus model results from the continued growth of a 150-year-old institution, as a response to budding economic globalisation.
This transformation takes place in the context of intensification and enlargement of the European Union.
Five milestones mark the progress of reinventing the new European model: 1969, 1973, 1999, and 2009:
1969: Creation of a dedicated permanent Faculty and the Student Association Tribunes ESCP.
1973: On 8th October 1973, the École des Affaires de Paris (named l'École Européenne des Affaires from 1982 onwards) is created, wherein students follow an international curriculum with alternating semesters in major European capitals (London from 1974, Düsseldorf from 1975 (campus transferred to Berlin in 1985). 1973 is also the year when the School becomes accessible to women (Joëlle Le Vourch is the first female student in 1973).
1999: Merger of ESCP and EAP
2009: Creation of ESCP, following an intensified network expansion with the opening of the Turin campus in 2004, and preceding the Warsaw campus in 2015.
2018: ESCP becomes independent from the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The launching of the European Bachelor degree is launched, anchoring the School in the European LMD model and triggering strong growth. The student population doubles in 4 years.
Over two centuries, the world has changed: the political economics classes taught at the beginning now side with humanities-oriented courses, and applied sciences in a laboratory have given way to coding and big data. However, it is still the entrepreneurial vision of the founders that prevails today, shining through in aspects such as the European success of the Blue Factory, the School's incubator present on all ESCP campuses!