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I would never have dared imagine the influence it would have had on the lives of thousands of women and men.
I would never have dared imagine that it would become a symbol of courage, innovation and excellence.
If I had imagined EM Normandie in 2021, I would have dreamed of it exactly as it is today: a genuine French Grande Ecole which is both visionary and proud of its origins.

Just between us...

Much has happened over the past 150 years, and EM Normandie has had its fair share of experiences. Rather than telling you everything at once, I will give you regular updates. Each time you’ll discover a little more about the School’s intriguing, inspiring and surprising past.



Once upon a time, we were ESC Le Havre...
ESC Le Havre was one of the first Business Schools to be born in France. How proud we were! I created the School with my brother, Jacques. We could see that the cotton trade clearly occupied a central role in society. Therefore, our aim was to train cotton merchants and traders.



The School gains State recognition

1890 marks a major milestone for ESC Le Havre: its recognition by the State!
I remember the unique mixture of excitement and stress that we felt in the moments leading up to the decision.
Recognition was a mark of the educational excellence of our training, and strengthened our credibility in relation to other engineering schools and universities. What is more, we were now able to receive State funding to help us run our wonderful institution. However, recognition also meant that we needed to comply with a number of rules. We changed our status from a private institution to a semi-private institution, with a link to the Le Havre Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It was the start of a new era...


Accepting students from diverse backgrounds

We set up a competitive entrance exam: We only had 33 candidates for the 45 places available in the first year. While we would have preferred to have a full house, our focus at the time was to attract students from a diverse range of backgrounds. This is a cause close to our hearts and a battle that we will never stop fighting, as we believe that diversity brings wealth. Equal opportunities should be a fundamental right. We were already living up to this ideal by welcoming students from all social classes, from all over France and from around the world.



Women join our ranks
When I founded ESC Le Havre in 1871 with my brother Jacques, we had a clear objective. It goes without saying that we wanted to train brilliant traders, who are responsible citizens and committed to overcoming life’s challenges. But for us, a key aspect of our plans was to include people from different backgrounds, women as well as men. I married Julie, a committed feminist and Chair of the National Council of French Women (Conseil National des Femmes Françaises), and her battles became mine. I campaigned alongside her for votes for women. In 1917, I helped to set up a women's rights group in Parliament. And of course, I also worked hard to make ESC Le Havre a place in which everyone could realise their potential.



What does the entrance examination for ESC Le Havre look like?
The examination covered French composition, geography, applied arithmetic and algebra. Candidates had to master both language and figures, and of course have a critical mind. Try putting yourself in the shoes of a candidate.



The great ESCAE era
1947 brings positive news on two fronts: ESC Le Havre joined the new network of Higher Education Schools of Trade and Business Administration (ESCAE) set up at the government’s initiative, and our programme was endorsed by the French Ministry of National Education. These two accolades were testament to the educational excellence of our training, and boosted our credibility in relation to other engineering schools and universities.



Creation of IPER
With the support of the Le Havre (Seine Estuary) Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Le Havre Great Maritime Port (HAROPA - Port of Le Havre) and the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées Engineering School, we founded the Institute for Teaching and Port Research - IPER for those in the know. Our ambition was to train professionals in the maritime, port and logistics sectors from all over the world. 



Welcome to ESC Normandie
In 1982, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Caen and Le Havre opened a new chapter in the story of our wonderful School by founding the ESC Normandie Group. It brought together ESC Le Havre, a new international programme taught in Caen, and the Le Havre Institute for Teaching and Port Research (IPER). Its Managing Director was Michel Poté, a legend in the School’s history.


Offering the Le Havre students the opportunity to follow a final year specialisation with an international focus in Caen is only a first step in the synergy strategies of the Chambers of Commerce of Caen and Le Havre. They now see further and together create SUP EUROPE CESEC.


Conférence des Grandes Ecoles here we come!
1988 marks a major triumph! ESC Normandie becomes a member of the highly prestigious Conférence des Grandes Écoles. Such recognition was crucial to gain momentum in an increasingly competitive sector. We are well aware that our ways of working are set to change significantly. Recruitment of permanent professors, developping all the more ambitious courses, a stronger focus on research... We have to cover all bases!



HEC Entrepreneurs pedagogy
Remember when ESC Le Havre was created and I explained the famous object lesson approach to you? We believe that learning on-the-job helps our young talent to develop an analytical mind and provides them with the tools to become fully-fledged managers and strong business leaders.



The ESC Normandie Group becomes the École de Management de Normandie (EM Normandie Business School)
2004 marks yet another turning point in the history of our institution. The Le Havre and Caen entities were merged to form the École de Management de Normandie. The merging of the two schools into one was a pivotal moment following 20 years of collaboration between the two cities of Le Havre and Caen. The EM Normandie adventure was one step ahead of Normandy’s reunification in 2016.


The Métis Laboratory is born
In 2005, we began to organise our various research projects around the Métis Lab. This initiative embodied our willingness to develop academic and applied research which not only underpins the excellence of our teaching, but also provides professionals with a scientific perspective on developments in the business world.


EM Normandie’s Master in Management is launched!
Following the merger of ESC Le Havre and SUP Europe CESEC to form the École de Management de Normandie, the next clear step was to merge the initial training programmes of both institutions. EM Normandie’s Master in Management (Programme Grande Ecole) was born!


EM Normandie becomes a non-profit organisation under the French Law of 1901
EM Normandie officially changes status and becomes a non-profit organisation under the French Law of 1901, constituted under private law. It becomes self-governing, with a Board of Directors and a Strategic Guidance Council.



The Master’s in Management (Programme Grande École) course available entirely by e-learning
One thing is certain: EM Normandie has daring and innovation in its blood...not to mention the power to surprise. In 2011, it launches its lifelong learning Master’s in Management available entirely by e-learning: the first of its kind in Europe! It even gives a free iPad to all the trainees in the first class of the programme. I grew up using pens and inkwells, and here I am catapulted into a new world of seemingly endless possibilities.


EM Normandie obtains EPAS accreditation

Competition between the French Grandes Ecoles was on the rise. EM Normandie Business School needed to stand out from the crowd by gaining evidence of its high standards. It was clear that we needed international accreditation.
EPAS was the first hurdle to overcome. We were aware that this would involve scrutiny of our programmes, staffing ratios, research activities, academic partnerships, business links and graduate employment. Our teams began their long and painstaking work to ensure that we met the requirements. Their verbal presentation was a loyal showcase of EM Normandie’s high standards of excellence together with its courageous and innovative approach. Finally the auditors issued their verdict: EM Normandie Business School had been awarded a three-year EPAS accreditation for its Master's in Management (Programme Grande Ecole). We celebrated completing the first stage of what promised to be a long journey.


EM Normandie becomes an active member of UGEI

A new milestone is achieved in 2012: EM Normandie becomes an active member of the Union of Independent Grandes Écoles. This association, founded in 1993, aims to “bring together the main engineering and business schools united by their desire for independence”.


EM Normandie joins the ranks of BSIS pilot institutions
In 2013, the BSIS (Business School Impact System) was launched. Developed by the FNEGE (French National Foundation for Business Management Teaching), this tool measures the impact of institutions on the regions in which they are located. We were one of the first Grandes Ecoles to sign up. And the conclusions speak for themselves: EM Normandie Business School is an asset to Normandy. Better still, it boosts Normandy’s economy and helps to ensure that young talented people settle in the region.


SmartEcole® comes onto the scene

EM Normandie launches a revolutionary new tool in the Grandes Écoles community: SmartEcole®. This bold statement confirms its intention to overturn conventional educational models and ride the wave of new technologies and the habits of digital natives. This is not just about being fashionable, however: the School seeks to “make traineeships fun again”...a real early 21st century challenge!


The School may be symbolic of a reunified Normandy, but it also reflects the region’s history of conquest in its strive to invade new territories. First in the firing line was Paris. A tactical decision! Had I been around at the time, I would have done the same thing myself. Descending on the capital was vital if we were to strengthen our position alongside other Business Schools, reinforce our links with major French and international companies and increase our appeal to applicants.


All systems go for AACSB
2014 was the year in which we renewed our EPAS accreditation, but also brought many new challenges. We have always applied the same philosophy of setting our sights on the future. Clearly, we also apply this outlook to our accreditations. Thus, the AACSB accreditation became one of the main focus areas of our 2013-2017 ‘Value and Performance’ strategic plan.


Who was it that said success breeds success? In any case, one thing is certain: at EM Normandie, this saying rings true. After Paris, the School established roots in Oxford. Paris had been conquered; the next target was England! The School had set its sights higher and further afield! The Grande École with an international perspective was to become a fully-fledged international Grande École.


InsIDE is born
You know about the chicken and egg scenario, don’t you? The famous question as to which came first? If we applied this debate to EM Normandie Business School to explain how entrepreneurship came about within the School, the chronology would be much more straightforward. It’s quite simple: entrepreneurship has been in our bones since forever, and, for just as long, we have worked hard to pass it on to our students.


The Caen campus grows
2016 was a far cry from 9 rue Claude Bloch of 1987. The campus underwent a major transformation. It was extended several times, and went from 1,800 m 2 to over 10,000 m 2 in the space of 20 years. The latest expansion, based on a modern feel and aesthetics, has been a major draw for students.


EM Normandie is awarded the EESPIG label
In 2016, EM Normandie is one of the 13 latest institutions to be awarded the Private Higher Education Establishment of Public Interest (EESPIG) label by the French Ministry for National and Higher Education and Research (MENESR).

This new award, combined with the School’s status as a non-profit organisation under the French Law of 1901 and an active member of UGEI, bears witness to the School’s objective of making an impartial contribution to the public services of training, teaching innovation, social openness, international development, research and supporting entrepreneurship. The award will encourage staff to redouble their efforts in this regard.


As well as investing its strength into gaining recognition on English soil – thus enabling students to travel to its Oxford campus post-Brexit, EM Normandie decided to set up another branch across the Channel. The hunger for opening in new territories and our years of experience were probably the reason for it. And lo and behold, the Dublin campus, a 350 m 2 site within the British Study Centre, was born.


EM Normandie acquires its first Social Room
The Hackuarium opens on the Le Havre campus, in 2018. It is our Business School’s first Social Room and is designed to accompany the rise in the School’s profile on social media. 17,000 Facebook fans, 8,500 Twitter followers, 20,000 followers on LinkedIn and campaigns on Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram: the School is clearly committed to making this a success!


EQUIS, check!
After EPAS and AACSB, EQUIS was the next logical step in our journey. We saw that EQUIS could give us a considerable competitive edge, both in France and abroad, enabling us to grow and serve the needs of our students, business partners and linked institutions.



A brand new campus in Le Havre
Goodbye Rue de Richelieu, hello Quai Frissard! Just a few hundred metres away from the old site, the new Le Havre campus was a real leap into the future with its fully digital classrooms, Learning Centre and Social Room. It is described as the symbol of the School’s digital transformation.


Welcome to the EM Normandie Business School
As we all know, business school selection criteria are multiplying and becoming increasingly demanding, from course programmes to accreditations, certification labels, rankings, international and economic perspective and campuses. In addition to offering essential guarantees to our students, we also strive to ensure that they enjoy their time at EM Normandie.


The emergence of Flex Rooms
A new term appears in the digital vocabulary of EM Normandie: Flex Rooms. The Business School had already been planning them for a while but the Covid-19 pandemic, whose full brunt is felt worldwide, accelerates their introduction. The pandemic’s effect on the higher education community is explosive!


A new Parisian campus to open soon
Business at EM Normandie is booming and the rue du Ranelagh campus is rapidly becoming too small...forcing the School to aim bigger, much bigger… 14,000 m2, to be precise!