EM Lyon

Age: 139

History: Founded in 1872 by local businessmen, the business school (previously known as Groupe ESC Lyon) is one of the oldest in Europe and one of the first to introduce an MBA, 37 years ago.

Address: The campus is at Ecully, north-west of Lyon (one hour to the Alps, an hour-and-a-half to the Med). The school also has campuses in Shanghai and Geneva.

Ambience: Based in purpose-built premises on a rural campus with wooded surroundings, just 15 minutes from the centre of Lyon. There's a modern library, sports facilities (you can even take part in the annual inter-MBA ski competition), restaurant, cafeteria, accommodation and language centre. The school is equipped with wireless internet IT systems and benefits from partnerships with many leading high-tech companies.

Vital statistics: EMLYON Business School is ranked among the best business schools in France and Europe. The International MBA is a one-year, international full-time programme, fully taught in English. The school stands out among the few business schools worldwide awarded three international EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA.

Added value: There's a big emphasis on entrepreneurship and giving students the ability to establish their own programmes. The school has involved more than 2,500 participants in entrepreneurial programmes since 1984, and has created more than 450 firms (four of which are quoted on the stock exchange) with survival rates of over 90 per cent after five years.

Easy to get into? This is a competitive business school, so students on the specialised Masters programmes sit a tough entrance exam. For the Master Programmes, you will need to get a GMAT score, and pass an English proficiency test and an interview. For the MBA you need an average of three years work experience plus a GMAT score, and you have to survive an interview.

Glittering alumni: Patrick Dupuis, vice-president, BJC Healthcare, USA; Professor Walter Kummerle, Harvard Business School; Philippe Marcel, CEO, Adecco France.

International connections: Courses are taught in English or in French. The school has 100 partnership agreements with foreign universities or business schools in Europe, USA, Latin America, Japan and China; as well as 17 double degree agreements throughout the world.

Student profile: The average age on the full-time MBA is 31. The male to female ratio is 60:40 on the MBA, but on specialised Masters programmes it's even. 65 per cent of IMBA students come from outside France, namely Europe, USA, Canada, Latin and Central America, and Asia.

Cost: The International MBA costs €35,900.

Return on investment: A 30-to-40 per cent salary increase and a more challenging job. An average of four job offers for every graduate.

Who's the boss? Joe LiPuma, International MBA Director, Tugrul Atamer, Dean of the Faculty

Prospectus: For EMLYON Business School: +33 (0)4 78 33 78 00; www.em-lyon.com. For MBA programmes: +33 (0)4 78 33 77 83; www.em-lyon.com/imba ; imba@em-lyon.com