In July 2014, the ax falls: France business school (FBS) is a failure, it will disappear in 2015. The school, which wanted to recruit its students differently, was not convinced.
Françoise Roudier, now general manager of ESC Clermont, lived the FBS adventure. This school offered “a new model in the landscape of the time, with recruitment inspired by companies. But without the strength of joint competitions, this establishment which had not yet notoriety, experienced a commercial failure“, she summarizes.
Exhausted, the four partners regained their independence in 2015 and had to regain their legitimacy. But between loss of the master’s degree for certain schools, plummeting admissions and financial problems: the difficulties accumulate.
Business School: end clap on April 30
Escem is one of the schools that emerged the most weakened from this failure. The school does not recover its master’s degree for its PGE and enters a period of turbulence.
Taken over in 2016 by the Sup de Co La Rochelle Group (now Excelia) and the GES network, the school, which offers two targeted bachelor’s degrees in Tours and Orléans, aims to rebuild a PGE in 2017. But, theThe miracle will not take place. “Relaunching the EMP required too much investment. Escem could hardly find an economic model on its own,” says Bruno Neil, CEO of Excelia since 2017.
In addition, at the end of May 2020, the association formed between the GES network and Excelia is dissolved. In question, financial difficulties and “a strong divergence of strategic vision of the two partners”, specifies Excelia.
Excelia Group: a new strategic plan to “rethink the future”
Escem disappears within Excelia: a second wind?
It is in November 2020 that the ex-school of FBS lives its last moment: Excelia announces that it will take over, alone, Escem, whose brand no longer exists, at the start of the 2021 school year. For Bruno Neil, some “alumni will be frustrated by this. But we can see Excelia as the group that saved Escem. Without this takeover, the school would have disappeared”.
For Julien Dargaisse, president of Ex-Escem alumni, “this merger is good news for us and for the employees, which now have a clear framework, with a single captain on board. As for the students, their course will be more valuable.”
Indeed, the group is committed to guaranteeing continuity of education for the 550 students until they graduate, in particular through its recognized programs. Now deployed on three campuses, Excelia will open its bachelor business in Tours and Orléans, at the start of the 2021 academic year. Objective: give “a boost” to its strategyexplains Bruno Neil.
Business schools: courses offering a targeted diploma acclaimed by students
For ESC Amiens, the story begins the same way: with the master grade wire loss then the closure of the PGE, the school is very affected, in 2015. “We have rebuilt the school on its state-approved bachelor’s degree, an unimpacted program”, describes Yann Tournesac, director general of the Amiens Business School, recruited just after the end of FBS.
The growth of the workforce, particularly of apprentices, allows”the self-financing of the ESC. The school now has a total of nearly 500 students and will see 800 students by the end of 2023.
ESC Amiens wants to get back into the game
The school has also federated the research activity of its seven teacher-researchers around the concept of risk management with the line of sight: the reconquest of the master’s degree.
The Grande Ecole course, reopened in 2016, has been targeted by the State since the end of 2019. “What is missing between the visa and the grade is research. We meet almost all the criteria but we still have to give our curriculumto be, in the short term, eligible for the grade”, estimates the director.
Until at least 2024, the school positions itself as a local business schoolwhich recruits 80% of Picard students and wants to train managers for companies in the local economic area.
International accreditations: a holy grail for business schools?
ESC Clermont had more cards in its game in 2015, but not everything was settled in advance. If the school recovers its master’s degree, “we had to be very agile because we are coming out of a crisis», Françoise Roudier analyzes today.
“With this unexpected parenthesis, we had to completely rethink our strategy, innovating and capitalizing on our roots, our values and our assets. By applying ourselves to our good reputation and applying an offensive strategy, we have taken up the challenge”, specifies the director.
In 2016, still shaken, the school reached son lower student enrollmentbut other lights turned green.
ESC Clermont, stronger than before?
ESC Clermont quickly manages to rejoin the Conference of Grandes Ecoles (CGE). And, in 2016, two major milestones were reached : the personalized school for five years the renewal of the AACSB accreditation and the Grande Ecole program can, again, recruiter through the BCE post-preparatory competition.
On that date, “we had found our fundamentals of a business school: the master’s degree, the AACSB and the BCE. We were then able to achieve a strategic plan”, indicates Françoise Roudier. Then, the school obtained the two accreditations it lacked: Epas, in 2019, for its bachelor’s degree and AMBA, for the master’s degree, in 2020.
This dynamic outfit and the PGE returns to its pre-FBS workforce from 2016. The school is also recruiting more for its bachelor’s degree and relies on international development. “We worked a lot on the offer of our programs, the heart of our business”.
With a deficit in 2015, the school is balanced in 2019-2020, in particular thanks to continuous training and the “unwavering support” of the CCI, companies and graduates. An SAS, created in 2019, gives it “additional credibility”.
After a failed merger, ESC Clermont gradually takes its head out of the water
Like ESC Clermont, Brest Business School was able to quickly recover its grade, reintegrate the CGE and recruit through the ECB. Corn its reconstruction goes through a single path.
In 2015, BBS once again became an association managed by the CCI of Brest, with the Brittany Region. But from 2016, it finds itself financially weakened and welcomes a new player in its governance in 2016: the Chinese group Weidong Cloud Education, while the Brittany Region withdraws. This admission makes Brest BS the first Franco-Chinese school in France.
Dai Shen, the former director of the FBS international campuses, has worked for rapprochement with Weidong. Director of the school since 2017, he explains that this “very friendly” operation made it possible to organize “good governance” : “Weidong allows the broadcasting of programs and provides a market for continuing education, and the CCI provides access to the local economic fabric for work-study contracts”.
Three areas of development that rely on significant equity
In the bride’s basket, Weidong contributes 7 million euros for 2016-2020. And if the director specifies that the school is still in deficit, he hopes for a return to a positive balance “this year or next year”.
Since 2017, the school has been relying on the digitization of programs and learning, which has sometimes reached “70% of M2 promotions”, says Dai Shen. Above all, it is deployed internationally: BBS has 50% internationals (particularly via partnerships in Morocco) and develops continuing education in China.
But all is not over yet. “Academically, the school has surpassed its previous level“, believes Dai Shen, “but we must attract more students from outside the regional pool”, because the school lacks post-preparatory candidates.
Business school What’s left of France?
The former partners are almost all unanimous: nothing. Neither in pedagogy, nor in recruitment methods. The connections between the four schools are not particularly strong and if the heads of establishments cross paths in the authorities and may have established “friendly ties”, no privileged partnership is claimed.
“In 2014, each school tried to return to the market with its own governance and its own team. In Clermont, FBS had an impact until 2017. Since then, neither the students nor the companies have spoken to us. The page is turned”, notes Françoise Roudier. “FBS is over and forgotten”, abounds Yann Tournesac, from ESC Amiens.
A different voice, that of Dai Shen. “The PGE of Brest Business School was strongly inspired by that created by FBS, with a strong international dimension, learning, reinforced courses in entrepreneurship and innovation. If this project was an industrial accident, do not think that everything was negative“.