An interview with Philippe Du Pasquier
President and Managing Director of BSL Business School Lausanne
The school was founded in 1987 and was accredited by ACBSP (Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs) in 1996. Business School Lausanne was the first business school in Europe to be accredited by ACBSP: The accreditation is an external recognition of the quality of the programme. In 1997, BSL became part of the Lémania Group of Schools, founded in 1908. Since then, the number of students has increased considerably, mainly through word of mouth. Our students are happy about the courses and actively recommend the school.
What kind of student profile are you looking for?
BSL graduates and students possess specific, identifiable personality traits. These include a creative imagination, individuality, a determination to succeed, high motivation, a strong desire to make money for themselves and their employers. They have a capacity for hard work, and appreciate that making calculated mistakes is part of the learning and experience process.
Are all your courses taught in English?
Yes, all the programmes are in English at Business School Lausanne. But recently, thanks to a fruitful collaboration with ESM in Geneva, our MBA programmes are also available in French.
What are the criteria of admission to your programme?
To enter the MBA programme a candidate must have a Bachelor's degree from a recognised university or institution in a business related area, a Curriculum Vitae showing relevant work experience, letters of recommendation from employers, and English at TOEFL 550 (for those applicants whose mother tongue is not English). The candidate must also come to BSL for an interview. For non-business baccalaureate students, BSL has a pre-MBA programme.
Do you see an increasing demand for the MBA degree in Europe?
Yes, there are certainly more people looking to study business. And, it is not only people who have studied business at the Bachelor level. We are finding engineers, scientists, lawyers, and medical doctors recognising that sometime in the future they will all be involved in some aspect of business and hence want the knowledge of how it operates. Our MBA fits perfectly this need.
What are the distinguishing features of your MBA programme?
The BSL approach to business education can be summarised in three words, pragmatic, practical, realistic. Yes, they do all mean the same thing, but the message needs to be said with different words to emphasise the importance of it. “What I learn on Saturday, I can use on Monday”, once said an Executive MBA student.
Our objective is to equip BSL graduates to be the people who will be formulating and executing the business plans- the business leaders of tomorrow. They leave BSL with an approach to doing business- a set of tools. The people who teach at BSL not only have high academic qualification, they are all current, successful business practitioners. “What we did in a situation like this” is a phrase often heard in BSL.
In all BSL classes, active student participation is demanded. This doesn't mean just answering questions posed by the professor, but also contributing to the learning process by voicing ideas and opinions. In order to achieve this, class sizes are a maximum of 20 people.
BSL students come from literally the four corners of the world- currently 30 different nationalities are represented in the school. They bring with them centuries of cultural heritage, which affects the way they view problems, and therefore the solutions they propose. Combined with BSL's learning-by-participation method this means students will be exposed to a wide variety of problem solving approaches. Only by taking different approaches will they be able to find those creative and innovative solutions so necessary in today's business.
Anything else you would like to add?
I think it's important to stress that we are in an international environment here in Switzerland. Many important companies have chosen the country as the site for their World or European headquarters. For example, Philip Morris, Alcoa, Tetra Pak, Medtronics are all in Lausanne or the immediate surroundings.
Switzerland is a very safe country, and its geographic location has given it a unique cultural heritage. Lausanne is 35 minutes from Geneva, and only a short drive from some of the best skiing in Europe.