A century already: HEC Montréal, is measured with satisfaction the path taken by the school since its inception in 1907. While she prepares to celebrate this anniversary, it displays in multiple successes. But at the same time, it must also deal with a series of questions about its strategy.
On the positive side table is, it is true, well filled. The school, which is completely independent of HEC Paris, has now become among business schools"which are in the world. And his reputation continues to climb. It is the only institution outside Europe to hold the "triple Crown" in other words, the three accreditations from AACSB (1), the EFMD (2) and the AMBA (3). It attracts a growing number of foreign students, including the French, seduced by the care taken to pedagogy, by both studious and laid-back atmosphere and quality of life in Québec.
"The most surprising here, it is the relationship with the teachers, reflects Sébastien Boidin, a student come to France, in 3rd year of the Bachelor." We touch them. It does not hesitate to ask, without fear of asking a stupid question. And in the classroom, if there is a spirit of competition, it remains very healthy.
Another strong point of the educational system: when a student "WINS", teachers him concoct a program customized to allow it to paste back in the Pack. To do this, the school, it is true, has substantial means: an annual budget reached all included, about 140 million Canadian dollars (EUR 95 million); a building imposing, bright, functional and an impeccable cleanliness; leading computer equipment. Add links close, privileged even, with the "business community" in Montreal, which has never mégoté support. No doubt: HEC Montréal aligns many strengths in its game.
But today, while the school prepares the ceremonies of its hundred years of existence, comes also to the questions. How to continue this development What model, what strategy to adopt What place occupy on the international scene Issues that arise so that a new Director, Michel Patry, has recently been elected, after twelve years of "reign" of the charismatic Jean-Marie Toulouse. In short, the school seems to come to a turning point.
It must first make its growth and, for this, recruit more teachers (it number 240), and to find new premises. Because the current building opened in 1996, is already insufficient. "Lack us approximately 14,000 square metres", indicates Michel Patry. Another challenge: identify additional resources. Training continues, already well developed, can provide a trail. But that will not suffice. A very ambitious fundraising campaign will be launched soon. Objective: bring together 100 million Canadian dollars (68 million euros), taking advantage of the momentum of the centennial. The school does not, Furthermore, to enhance significantly the amount of his tuition it is true among the lowest of the Canada.
But more importantly, HEC Montréal prepares to negotiate a major shift: that of the opening to the world. "For a long time school primarily focused on training for the local market, notes Robert Parizeau, Chairman of the eponymous insurance group and the brother of former Prime Minister. He has now to train graduates with a global vision, and more just for Quebec. Education that provides CET must allow them to be comfortable everywhere in the world.
In practical terms, this openness should go through an increased presence of the English language in programs. "From our earliest years, we are confronted with bilingualism," observed Pierre Brunet, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec and pattern of the Committee of honour of the centenary celebrations. Francophone businesses are the first to claim diplomas and the bilingual curriculum. "It is a decisive shift, for a school that has long been the defence of la francophonie axis key to its strategy. "We entered the era of the war for talent, and we have to adapt to the new situation, said bluntly Thierry Vandal, President and CEO of Hydro-Québec." In any event, we are very North American and our management models are American.
Already, several steps have been made in this direction. As the creation of a "trilingual cohort" in the Bachelor program: 800 registered, approximately 120 follow instruction in French, English and Spanish. A figure called to make further progress. And, little by little, most programs have a place to English.
Still, beyond the question of the language, it is any international strategy of the school could be changed. "Now we must develop our relations with the United States and the major US firms," judge Hélène Desmarais, who chairs the Board of Directors of the school. More broadly, HEC Montréal should allow more students come from around the world. Left to somewhat curb the recruitment of francophone students, in particular French.
Certainly, Michel Patry intends to proceed with caution of Sioux: "school is a large ship that advances slowly." Us. It is not slow on this or that point, but to provide additional efforts, to lead to a distribution more balanced our students. And, in any event, a francophone will always follow its curriculum in French. But we are a North American school, even if we have specific ties to Europe, through la francophonie. We still have an eye on Boston and another in Paris.
Nevertheless: the American component now appears clear priority in the strategy of the school. "Our direct competitors are in the immediate vicinity, recalls Michel Patry. They have names Harvard, Wharton and Stanford. But it is true that these days, we have surpondéré Europe. "At the same time, HEC Montréal also looking Asia particularly on China and the India. A sign: as early as next year, international seminars of the MBA program will take place in New York, China and the Brazil, and will make the impasse on Europe.
The new strategic plan which should be presented in early 2007, will allow to see clearer. But one thing is certain: HEC Montréal intend to stay, as we say in Quebec, "in front of the parade." Translation: keep one step ahead.