From education to employment

Oldest business school in the world, ESCP Europe, celebrates its Bicentenary

ESCP Europe is celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2019 – the perfect opportunity to recall the special place that Europe holds within the school’s institutional identity.

Today, as Europe faces an unprecedented identity crisis in light of Brexit, and on the eve of the European elections, ESCP Europe is proud to reaffirm its identity as a singular school with a pan-European model, an identity it has nurtured for two centuries.

As early as 1824, the school already counted more than 20% foreign students, most of which came from countries neighbouring France. As well as being the world’s oldest business school, ESCP Europe was the very first higher education institution to have offered a truly European curriculum with integrated, intercultural courses across all of its 6 campuses in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin and Warsaw. The Master in Management programme even allows students to obtain a double-degree with 120 partner universities worldwide.

Frank Bournois, Dean of ESCP Europe, said:

 “We use the strengths of each campus to offer European, intercultural and transdisciplinary courses. In Madrid, for example, we are focusing on digital technology, in Turin on F&B, in Berlin on sustainable development and entrepreneurship and in London on energy and finance. Paris has a real incumbency when it comes to business strategy, entrepreneurship and management. As such, we are somewhat like a Europeanization lab, with one eye on Europe and the other on the rest of the world.

And while ESCP Europe is convinced of the relevancy of its model and firmly believes in the need to define and promote a European approach to management, it nevertheless knows how essential it is today to rekindle the European concept.


#Celebrating humanist values by promoting multicultural and societal management

Based on the “Students and Europe” survey,* carried out among French preparatory class students**, it was shown that Europe is mainly associated with progressive values whose main assets are “the free movement of people”, “historical wealth” and “cultural diversity”. Most of these students expressed a certain idea of Europe where ecology, education, research and innovation would be the subject of priority investments.

On the basis of these findings, ESCP Europe is developing through its research a unique vision of management specialisations based on a multicultural and interdisciplinary approach in line with the foundations of Europe and students’ expectations, capable of meeting the major challenges of tomorrow’s world.

“We must ensure that our students are able to contribute to a sustainable and equitable world in which everyone has a place in society. Europe must be the defender of a humane and sustainable digital revolution,” said Andreas Kaplan, Rector of the Berlin campus.

In light of the current ecological and technological challenges, this European management appears as a skill now more necessary than ever.

#Supporting the new impetus Europe needs by educating the European citizens

According to the same survey conducted in partnership with Espace Prépas Magazine, although French students have a good basic knowledge of Europe, they acknowledge that they are still poorly informed on the subject and it appears clear that there is strong demand for further literacy on the topic of current European issues, a paramount module in their academic career.

Thus, after the successful consultations conducted by the student society ESCP Europe Tribunes this fall, the school has appointed two of its students to create the Student Observatory for European Citizenship (OEEC). This observatory has two main goals: to promote and embody European citizenship at ESCP Europe on the one hand, and to observe and promote its effects and realities on the other.

And to go even further in the exercise of European citizenship, the iconic event Start@Europe, which celebrated its 10th edition in 2018, was renamed Designing Europe, a seminar on acculturation and dissemination of European policy for the 850 MiM students on ESCP Europe’s campuses.

#Contributing to the consolidation of a prosperous European economic area that is both open and connected

However, for the students who participated in this survey, neither economics, higher education nor research happen to constitute this continent’s major asset. Indeed, a majority of them answered that Europe is ruled by Asia and the United States in a large number of areas: employment, finance, entrepreneurship, diplomacy, etc.

Jérôme Creel, associate professor of Economics at ESCP Europe, who recently contributed to discussions on EU reform by writing a report for the European Parliament, explained: “If EU Member States want to escape the imminent risks of Brexit or monetary and financial fragmentation, they must, as they have always done over the past five decades, reinvent Europe in order to save it.”

ESCP Europe’s mission is to help its students understand that Europe is a space where opportunities are prolific and that they can play a major role in them. To this end, the school wishes to develop and increase its contribution to European integration by creating a “centre of excellence” within the school, which will serve as a reference point for skills and knowledge in the field of European affairs.

The London campus also organises a series of events called “Rethinking Europe” to prepare for Brexit and to reflect on the different ways to overcome it. “In all scenarios, our mission in the UK will remain focused on connecting our economies and management talent, and on offering a home for those looking to invest in their European identities and in a European future ” said Simon Mercado, Dean of the London campus.

ESCP Europe is proud of its huge impact on innovation all over the world in the past 200 years. It remains the oldest and only pan-European school, with six campuses.

A never-before-seen European Tour to think on the nature and place of business and companies in the world of tomorrow. Faculty, business leaders, experts, politicians and artists will all take part.

The Bicentenary aims to tackle the following challenges:

  • Business and Science: technical and technological opportunities (including digital, AI and biotech)
  • Business and the City: social and environmental impacts
  • Business and the Person: the issues related to the question of individual and collective meaningfulness.

 Professor Frank Bournois, Dean of ESCP Europe says “The school celebrates its 200th anniversary, we wish to position the school as a legitimate place to discuss subjects that are likely to have an impact on the business world in the coming years. We are indeed the world’s first management school with a unique ambition: to be the best business school in Europe!

Celebrating Excellence


In 1819, the oldest and one of the first business school in the world was created. ESCP Europe began with a bold policy of international inclusion with more than 20% foreign students from as early as 1827-1828. As well as three foreign languages taught from 1823 and study tours in Europe from 1826-1827. ESCP Europe’s multicultural and multidisciplinary model was already emerging.


Between 1869 and 1969, under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the School was established. 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.


The new integrated European campus model is a result of the continued growth of a 150-year-old institution. This transformation has been enabled by the enlargement of the European Union.

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 which can be found on all ESCP Europe campuses.

First into the future

From January 2019 to January 2020, ESCP Europe reinvigorates the originality of its model by creating a series of events, positioning the school as the leader in the business education of the next generations of managers. The events will take place on all Campuses and involve all parts of the School’s rich international community: Faculty, companies, students, alumni, academic partners. 

Discover the school’s rich past “Celebrating Excellence“, and stay posted on our events to “Design Tomorrow” with you during this year, celebrated on all our Campuses, with our international community: Faculty, companies, students, alumni, and academic partners.

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