Founded in 1747, the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) is the oldest French “Grande Ecole”. It is widely recognized as one of the most prestigious and elite institutions in France. The ENPC derived its name from the group of engineers who came together in the 18th century to lay down the scientific and technological curriculum that was fundamental for the development of the infrastructure and communications of a modern state. The ENPC School of International Management was founded in 1988 by the late President and Dean Celia Russo. She envisioned the creation of an international management school based upon a collaborative environment, holistic values, cultural diversity, social responsibility and self-empowerment. As a top level international degree, the ENPC MBA is designed to train future international business leaders for a globally changing environment. While ENPC engineers continue to create the infrastructure for the future business landscape, ENPC international business professionals move forward to manage the global and dynamic environment in which it operates.
Could you tell us more about your MBA programs?
We offer a full-time MBA to be completed in 16 months and a part-time MBA you can earn in 24 months. Our full-time MBA is quite unusual… I will come back to it later. Our part-time MBA is geared towards professionals who come to class one week a month every evening. We also offer an executive MBA in collaboration with KPMG Europe. This program is a modular program and lasts two years with a consulting project to complete between the first and the second year. Finally, we are launching next year a global executive MBA, which will be an 18-month modular program run in Paris and on our world-wide campuses.
What is the profile of your MBA participants?
The average participant in our MBA is thirty-years-old, has six years of work experience, a GMAT score of about 600 and an average TOEFL of about 270 points. We put a strong emphasis on international exposure in terms of study or work abroad. However, at our school, we are not looking for standard candidates. We want students who will contribute with their individuality throughout the completion of the MBA program. The first dimension at ENPC is the individual.
How do you select your MBA participants?
All the MBA participants who study at ENPC have a specific professional project and the potential to achieve their goals. Each candidate is selected according to his or her motivation, professional project, interpersonal skills and contribution to the group. Our participants must have the ability to work with team mates from various professional and ethnic backgrounds. We want outstanding people.
How does you MBA program work?
Our program is split in two parts: course work from September to July, then project work from August to December. The latter could consist of an in-company internship, a consulting project or a research study. In some cases, participants are allowed to follow a special study program to further their knowledge in a specific area. The project work is completed with the submission of a written report and its defense before a jury.
What sets your program apart from other MBA programs?
Our school offers a customized MBA program. We have few compulsory courses and a large number of electives. In order to help our participants to choose their study program efficiently, we offer them the support of an academic adviser with whom the participant will determine his or her curriculum. The adviser will help them to select their programs depending on their educational background, professional experience and career plan. This allows total flexibility and a high level of customization.
Our MBA also receives the support of the ENPC, one of the leading engineering schools in Europe and the oldest civil engineering school in the world (ENPC was created in 1747). In the areas of economics, management and finance, we collaborate with the ENPC academic area (the SEGF Department) and research lab (CERAS) by offering joint courses and exchanging professors.
Finally, our program is located in the center of Paris (in the Boulevard Saint-Germain district) and is linked to Paris Tech, the consortium of the top Paris-based engineering schools (including Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole de Mines, Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécom de Paris, ENSTA, etc.).
How global is your MBA and what is your school doing to reinforce this position?
The ENPC has a strong international exposure. The 2003 Financial Times Survey of MBA programs ranked us number three in the world for the international mobility of our graduates. Our MBA curriculum and faculty are very international. In addition to our permanent faculty, we have visiting professors coming from the top business schools in the world. Furthermore, we have partner MBA programs in Shanghai, New Delhi, Nagoya, Casablanca and Edinburgh, enabling our MBA participants to spend a term of their course work at any one of our partner campuses.
We also have exchange programs with universities like the University of Michigan Business School at Ann Arbor, Imperial College in London, the Fletcher School of International Relations in Boston, ITESA Mexico, etc. Finally we organize three study-abroad programs: a two-week program in China on the topic of emerging economies and emerging markets; a two-week trip to the US on the topic of business development and new technologies; and a one-week seminar in the Czech Republic on the topic of the European Union enlargement and its business impact.
Do you think that business schools should put more emphasize on business ethics?
It is true that following the scandals surrounding Enron, Worldcom, Xerox, etc., the subject of “business ethics” was emphasized in many MBA programs. The issue is how to teach business ethics. At the ENPC MBA, we know that we are training tomorrow's business leaders. So since the creation of our program 15 years ago, subjects such as “Business Ethics”, “Corporate Citizenship and Sustainable Development” and “Social Entrepreneurship”, have been an integral part of our curriculum. These subjects are taught as courses on their own, and also dealt with as business issues in other courses.
Do you have any suggestions for someone thinking of getting an MBA?
Getting an MBA requires a high level of maturity and openness as well as readiness to commit to a change in one's life and career. Every applicant should ask himself or herself : Am I ready for an MBA? What do I want to achieve through it, personally and professionally?
An MBA should enrich the applicant's individual development and growth. It should fit with the applicant's professional ambition and not be just a way to get reassured by adding another degree to one's résumé.