This French Business School Is Making A $326 Million Bet On Globalization

ESCP Business School’s London campus

It started with Brexit and Make America Great Again and escalated around the world with attacks on immigration and restrictions on free trade. Globalization is in retreat.

But France-based ESCP Business School is doubling down on globalization, investing an unprecedented $326 million (300 million Euros) in a massive expansion plan for one of the most global business experiences in the world. ESCP’s expansion plan will touch most of its six European campuses in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin, and Warsaw as well as a branch campus in Dubaï. For an institution that calls itself the oldest business school in the world, the investment does not merely demonstrate its favorable assessment of business education but just as critically its belief that more students than ever are interested in a truly global education and career.

ESCP students typically study and live on two different campuses and up to four locations depending on the program.


ESCP Business School

Kamran Razmdoost, dean of ESCP’s London campus

“The model is innovative itself,” says Kamran Razmdoost, ESCP’s London campus dean. “It is a challenging model to have multiple campuses and move students around. But that model is working with a new generation. The students are not only looking at knowledge development but something beyond that. They want to challenge themselves and explore their identity and what they want to do. Students who come to ESCP have that mindset to explore different cultures. It is not easy but it exposes students to several cultures and a new way of living and learning.”

Founded in 1819 in Paris by an entrepreneur, ESCP now boasts more than 10,000 students and 6,000 executive participants from 135 different nationalities. They are taught by 200 research-active professors representing over 33 nationalities across six campuses. While the school’s Master’s in Management is the flagship program,
ESCP has an expansive portfolio of 48 programs in all, from a bachelor’s in business and an MBA to 28 specialized master’s programs. The ESCP MiM, ranked fourth by the Financial Times, boasts a 100% placement rate within six months of graduation. Throughout a student’s MiM learning journey, they can study in two to five different cultures and countries.

The big investment in growth–being made through 2030–will allow ESCP to expand within its walls as the school undergoes significant renovations across its European campuses. Last year, after more than 130 years on its historic campus, ESCP launched the renovation of the République campus and temporarily moved to the 17th arrondissement at Porte de Champerret for the project’s duration. In September of this year, ESCP plans to inaugurate brand-new facilities on the Turin campus. The London campus will lead to a 40% increase in size (student seat numbers) plus additional study spaces and recreational areas by 2030.

In the past five years, student enrollment has increased by 50%. “More than 50% of our students are outside Paris which was not the case five years ago,” explains Razmdoost. “The roots and history is the French Grandes écoles. The multi-campus model was meant to grow French exposure to other markets but it morphed into a European model and mindset ten to 15 years ago. In each European country, the school brings its own identity to the pool as well.”


In London, for example, the focus is investment banking and marketing along with sustainable energy and creativity. In Berlin, the emphasis is on consulting. “On top of that, it’s creating an ecosystem around programs and specializations How can you translate that program into cities and specializations so that they don’t feel it is a mass education? Shaping that community around each of these specializations is key.”

Some of the biggest growth rates at ESCP are in its undergraduate business program, with roughly 3,000 students. “Our BA program in terms of size and students is now the same in size as our MiM. “It’s a massive market, and the quality of our undergraduate program is exceptional,” believes Razmdoost. “It’s a culturally accepted route to get a good job, while postgraduate work has become more of a question mark.”

It is a quintessential global experience. Students in ESCP’s bachelor’s in management program study for three years in three countries. It is mostly taught in English with some classes in French or Spanish, and the school offers language courses in Spanish, Italian, French, German, and Chinese.


Still, the school’s one-year MBA launched just six years ago has been gaining momentum in the Financial Times ranking. This year, the school’s MBA ranked 25th best in the world, up from 27th a year earlier and significantly better than its rank of 52 in 2022. The year before, ESCP wasn’t even ranked. ESCP’s MBA in international management provides students the opportunity to study and live in up to three European countries. The cohort of 90 MBA candidates, moreover, can study on campus, online, or hybrid in 10 to 34 months. They can specialize in one of five areas: consulting, entrepreneurship, luxury, or fintech & innovation.

“We started attracting unique talent to the program,” says Razmdoost. “It took a few years until we understood how to form and design an MBA program that could compete against other programs that have been there for tens of years and still we are trying to refine the program. Students start in Paris and then have the option to go to London or Berlin. For their specializations, they can go to Madrid or elsewhere. We believe that is a great way for them to have a good cohort of students to interact with each other and have enough space to work on their personal development and their specializations. We want to enhance their bonding and level of networking. They would spend September to December in Paris and then January to May they would be in either Berlin or London and then in June they go to Turin or Madrid for their company consulting projects.”

While the vast majority of the school’s investment will go to expand its European campuses which will lead to further growth in student enrollment, some
five million Euros is being used to create five accelerators for impact research and projects. “It reflects the history of our business school,” explains Razmdoost. “It was founded by entrepreneurs and we have always been in entrepreneurial ecosystems. We have a lot of alumni who have founded companies. There is a demand because we have entrepreneurs in our programs and need to support them and it is part of the DNA of the school.”

ESCP’s biggest challenge? “Our resources are scattered,” concedes Razmdoost. “We benefit from this European model but at the same time, it means we have a scattered set of resources. In each country, we are competing against other schools with central resources. The challenge is you are competing in five countries which is not easy. In the U.K., with the crowded market of business schools, it becomes more challenging. We are growing and influencing business and society so it is moving.”


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