The A-Z of Business schools: Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris

Age: 127.

History: Although the institution is venerable - it succeeded the cole Libre des Sciences Politiques founded in 1871 - the MBA is new, having been born in 1992.

Address: In the Latin Quarter of Paris.

Ambience: Sciences Po is in an old 18th-century building close to Les Deux Maggots, the bar where those old Marxists Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre used to hang out. You, too, can frequent the bar but it'll cost you - Ffr30 for a coffee compared to Ffr10 elsewhere. You don't get any particular fancy facilities as an MBA student. The MBA is hard work and must be completed in only nine months, so no messing about.

Vital statistics: A leading French grande ecole, the institute is an elite academy specialising in political science for undergraduates. Students are a mix of those aiming for careers in business and industry and those wanting to go into public service and international relations. The MBA is a very new addition - and it's very small. Maximum of 40 students a year. Sciences Po boasts a scientific approach to managerial problems. Particular emphasis given to thorough examination of social and economic sciences in European and international institutions so that students understand the global marketplace.

Added value: Bilingual MBA. Classes are conducted in French and English, and the course material is bilingual.

Easy to get into: You need a degree, three years' work experience, GMAT and reasonable fluency in French and English. Once you get through the first hurdle you have to write a 10-page essay on a managerial subject. Then you're invited to present your research in an interview.

Association of MBA's accreditation: Yes.

Glittering alumni: Alain Carron, financial director, Standard & Poors (Paris); Odile Fournier Montgieus, sales director, Agfa Gaevaert (Paris); Paul Lamontagne, president, Teleglobe Enterprises, Montreal, Canada; Sylvain Deshors, assistant to executive vice president, Robert Bosch (Paris).

International connections: Overwhelmingly European; 68 per cent of students come from Europe, 10 per cent from North America and the rest from elsewhere. No exchange arrangements for MBA students because they go straight back to work but lots of visiting lecturers to the faculty.

Gurus: Professor Raphael Amit, expert in strategic management and entrepreneurship, flies in to teach from the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Vancouver; Edward Lazear, professor of human resource management and economics, from Stanford; Professor Marc Bertoneche, from Harvard.

Student profile: Average age of MBA students is 31; average length of work experience is 5.2 years. Fifty-five per cent have a science or technology background. One-quarter are trained in business or economics. Male/female ratio is 75:25.

Cost: Around pounds 10,000.

Return on investment: Fat salaries.

Who's the boss? Maverick economist Professor Jean-Jacques Rosa who founded the programme and whose latest book, L'erreur Europeenne, warns that the single currency will be a mistake.

Next week: Instituto de Empresa.

Lucy Hodges

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