HEC celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. The school has also just been invited to assume the presidency of the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS). It is my firm belief that these two events – the creation of HEC 125 years ago and its continued development as a key European actor today – spring from the same inspiration.
HEC was founded when members of the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry, under the presidency of Gustave Roy, recognized that a system of business education was needed to develop relations with other countries. Today, HEC continues to foster that spirit of internationalism as one of the leading lights in CEMS. Formed in 1988 by HEC and three other European business schools, CEMS now brings together 17 of the continent’s best business schools and 55 business partners.
Not only does CEMS encourage cooperation between European doctoral programs, publish the European Business Forum (EBF) review, and nurture relationships between schools and business partners, it also developed the CEMS Master in International Management (MIM). This exclusive European degree, offered only by CEMS members, was ranked second only to HEC’s own Master in Management in the latest Financial Times European rankings.
As President Charles De Gaulle noted at the inauguration of HEC’s new campus on July 9, 1964, “The intelligent, enlightened, and enterprising young people who enter this school are called, I am convinced of it, to frame and lead one of the richest successes of this time: the success of France as a leading modern economic power.” It is my belief that the young people who join us and our CEMS partners are called to lead one of the richest successes of our time: the success of Europe.
Of course, in addition to developing our European connections, HEC will continue to develop its own position as a world leader in business education. The Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced a 140 million euro Development Plan which will allow us to invest in our responsibility to prepare business leaders to confront the social, political and economic challenges of tomorrow. In the pursuit of excellence, we continue to keep pace with advancements in technology, embrace the demands of social responsibility, and uphold the highest standards of business education.
After 125 years, I would be proud to tell our founding fathers that we have built a school with a strong European identity that continues to consolidate its position among the leading business schools in the world.