It wasn’t only students that were thinking of transforming society in early spring 1968. French companies were also feeling a fresh wind rising, heading in from the West and more specifically from the USA.

The American Model

The “American model”, strongly supported by the Ford and Carnegie foundations, was slowly starting to demolish the model that, in France, guaranteed university graduates a certain authority and the stamp of competency for life.

Pratical and case studies for new model

The teaching methods and faculty members of French universities and Grandes Ecoles also saw themselves being called into question by methods that managed to be both more practical (case studies) and more rooted in theory. It was a time when management was seen as a science and not as a set of practices, and the general public was discovering social sciences and marketing.

9 march 1968 : First cycle of advanced courses

ESCP responded to these changes, and on 9 March 1968 the “first cycle of advanced courses” started, intended at the time for students who had sought help in adapting to mobility in the world. François Valverde (1947), who at the time was Vice President of the Association and in charge of developing lifelong learning, remembers it as a highlight in the life of the school, which was now proving its adaptability. Starting out from the principle that “technology ages faster than humans”, the school had already adopted the concept of “lifelong learning”, so topical today.

The events of 1968

The events of 1968, which followed hot on the heels of the arrival of continuing education, made this analysis even more accurate. In addition to the ideas of “hierarchy” and “routine” being called into question, the very role of the manager was redefined to encompass the notions of competence and corporate strategy... things that were not self-evident at the time.

Jean Vigier quotes

The Dean of the school, Jean Vigier, said at the time that “A large company stands out today by the efforts it devotes to research and training, just as continuing education is an essential characteristic that distinguishes a Grande Ecole, which must prepare for the future.” This activity was also intended to bring in new financial resources, because schools’ budgets in the late sixties was based on apprenticeship tax payments and tuition fees.

In 1992

In 1992, major works were carried out to renovate a wing of the building at 79 avenue de la République, a wing which was dedicated specifically to continuing education. At the time it was called "ESCP Senior" and hosted 3,000 executives and managers in over 60 programmes, whether courses listed in the catalogue or those designed at the request of companies.

In 1993

In 1993 the Part-Time MBA saw the light of day and took in around forty French and foreign professionals, who could take classes to fit in with their hectic schedules, followed by the inclusion in the training catalogue of the Executive Specialised Masters in 2004.


Nowadays, continuing education is an essential part of ESCP and there are many interconnections between it and initial training, as pedagogical progress made in one enriches the other. Many teachers work in both types of education.

ESCP provides many managers with training that is not merely technical, since it also integrates the development of their managerial skills and self-examination to help them cope with the multiple changes in their line of work (globalisation, digital transformation, corporate social responsibility, etc.).

"Blended learning" models

While the professor's expertise remains essential, “blended learning”models add an extra dimension to the teaching provided by ESCP, which also benefits from the intercultural capacity provided by its European campuses. Its mission, "To inspire and educate tomorrow's business leaders", involves constant updating of its teaching and programmes to train future managers so that they are able to understand and take the lead in what is now a permanent revolution.

But that is another story.

© Credit: David et Vallois, CCI Paris Ile-de-france