Since 1819, ESCP Business School has been educating the business leaders of tomorrow. Founded in Paris, the school is widely recognised as one of the first business schools in history. The school helped shape European identity and continues to be a promoter of innovation and research in a variety of fields.

As well as a rich heritage, ESCP is also multi-accredited with national and international awards and certifications including EQUIS, AACSM, EFMD MBA, EFMD EMBA, and 5 European Higher Education accreditations.  

History of ESCP Business School
ESCP, the first business school in Europe

Over the years, ESCP Business School has expanded and its campuses now cover six major European cities. These include Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin, and Warsaw. ESCP is now entering its third century. In the last 200 years, the school has led students through great industrial, political, and economic change. Read on to find out more about the fascinating history of ESCP Business School. 

1819: The Founding of Europe’s First Business School

On 1st December 1819, a group of economic scholars and businessmen founded ESCP Business School under the name École Spéciale de Commerce et d’Industrie. The original pioneers were Jacque Laffitte, Adolphe Blanquie, and Jean-Baptiste Say. Jean-Baptiste Say is one of the first economists to study entrepreneurship and is often said to have coined the term. This pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit continues to underpin ESCP today. 

Even in its earliest years, ESCP had an international focus. In 1823, students could learn as many as three new languages while studying. Additionally, students could choose to travel with study tours from 1826. Already in 1827, more than twenty percent of students were international. 

As well as being multilingual, the school has also always been multidisciplinary. The original curriculum included management science and technology, law and political economy, and applied sciences like chemistry. This is similar to the multidisciplinary Bachelor in Management (BSc) on offer for students today.  

ESCP has maintained a multilingual and multidisciplinary approach since its foundation

The 20th Century: European Expansion 

By the 1970s, ESCP already had nearly a thousand students. In 1973, the school expanded across Europe with second and third campuses in Germany and the UK. Furthermore, this was also the year that ESCP welcomed its first-ever female student: Joëlle de la Vourc’h. Joëlle is now a professor at the school in Paris. After completing a Master’s degree in Accounting and Finance, she went on to pursue a career in auditing with firms including PWC and Deloitte. She later went on to work as Division Chief at the World Bank in Washington, before returning to teach at ESCP. She continues to work with the World Bank and other international organizations as a consultant. 

In later years, the school expanded to Madrid (1988), Turin (2004), and Warsaw (2015). Students today can complete their Bachelor programme across three of their chosen cities, for a well-rounded, multicultural education. 

Remarkable Alumni from ESCP’s Business Management Courses 

Today, ESCP has an estimated 60,000 alumni across 150 countries. Graduates of a business administration degree could go on to become entrepreneurs, business leaders, HR managers, and more. 

Some of our remarkable alumni include:

  • Jean-Pierre Raffarin – Prime Minister of France 2002 – 2005 
  • León Cligman – a leader in the development of the textile and clothing sector
  • Patricia Barbizet – the first female CEO at Christie’s 
  • Geneva Carr – American film and television star
  • Olaf Swantee – Dutch businessman and former CEO at EE Limited

Of course, ESCP Business School’s story is far from complete. As the next generation of students begins their studies, the list of notable alumni will only continue to grow.

Do you want to find out where a bachelor degree with ESCP Business School could take you?

Contact us to find out! 

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