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CDEFM: New association of French business schools launched

Published on 28 April 2021
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Six French management schools – Audencia, EDHEC, ESCP, ESSEC, HEC and SKEMA – have initiated the creation of the Conférence des Directeurs d’Écoles Françaises de Management (Conference of Deans of French Management Schools). Like the CDEFI for engineering schools, the CDEFM aims to represent its members to the main institutional players and stakeholders in higher education within and outside France.

Photo: The CDEFM is chaired by Alice Guilhon, dean of SKEMA Business School


The management schools (39) were all represented by the Management Chapter of the Grandes Écoles via the status of a commission within the Conférence des Grandes Écoles (CGE).

Their problems in terms of their competitive environment, economic model, international dimension, the professional integration of their graduates, their relations with companies and organisations, their private status and accreditations and rankings all make them atypical in the higher education sector and they need to be approached, discussed and considered in the public arena within their own specific context.

With the creation of the CDEFM on 25 March, management schools now have a special space for sharing and discussion, as well as a dedicated visibility lever. The chief task of the conference is to be their spokesperson with the French government, the European Union, student and employer associations, national and international accreditation bodies, and other international bodies involved in education and research.

The CDEFM is also responsible for representing the common interests of institutions and schools awarding management degrees recognised by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

In order to represent all its members’ voices, the CDEFM is structured as a Board of Directors and thematic commissions:

Members of the Board of Directors:

– AUDENCIA Business School (founder): Christophe Germain, dean
– EDHEC Business School (founder) – Emmanuel Métais, dean
– ESC Clermont – Françoise Roudier, dean
– ESCP Business School (founder) – Frank Bournois, dean
– ESSEC Business School (founder) – Vincenzo Esposito Vinzi, dean
– HEC Paris (founder) – Eloïc Peyrache, dean
– NEOMA Business School – Delphine Manceau, dean
– SKEMA Business School (founder) – Alice Guilhon, dean and executive president
– TBS Business School – Stéphanie Lavigne, dean

The first thematic commissions:

– Academic: Isabelle Huault, dean of EM Lyon Business School,
– Training & Digital: Jean-François Fiorina, deputy dean of the Grenoble School of Management,
– Territories & Financing: Francis Bécard, president of Y Schools.

Other commissions on sustainable development, relations with companies and apprenticeships, graduate integration and international affairs will be set up in the next few weeks. All these commissions will propose deliverables and best practices for the business school community, to be shared regularly with CDEFM stakeholders. The conference will also organise ad hoc working groups and events, depending on current national and international affairs affecting business schools.

For Alice Guilhon, president of the CDEFM (appointed for three years), dean and executive president of SKEMA and current president of the Chapter: “The creation of this conference makes it possible to establish balanced representation and governance between management schools and engineering schools.We will of course remain members of the CGE, as will the engineering schools, and we would like to thank its president and its general delegate, who in recent years have enabled our schools to be more present and better heard in higher education and research discussions.The CDEFM will also be keen to represent its members beyond our borders, as international development is one of their common strengths and characteristics.“

For the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation: “The ministry has taken note of the creation of this new conference.It will naturally discuss any issues it submits on behalf of its members and hopes that the conference will contribute to the international recognition of our management training and research offer.

For Anne-Lucie Wack, president of the CGE: “The creation of the CDEFM is a fine illustration of the Grandes Écoles’ ability to organise themselves, adapt to new challenges and enhance their performance through exchanges of experience.Within the CGE, we have different families of schools that operate as a group and a network, like Sciences Po, INSA, the leading engineering schools, mining/telecom schools, agricultural and veterinary schools, architecture schools, and so on.All these schools come to the CGE looking for across-the-board approaches based on the shared DNA of the Grandes Écoles.The creation of the CDEFM confirms the strong dynamic existing within the family of management schools.“


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