The best business schools in France

The business schools rankings are eagerly expected by students in France every year. Several major newspapers publish their own rankings each year, the best known being the Financial Times. In France, the magazine Challenge and the daily newspaper Le Figaro also publish their own rankings.

See also our guide on the studies in France: conditions, procedures, scholarships…

How do “grande école” business schools work in France?

It is important to know that business schools abound in France. The published rankings serve as a guide for new high school graduates, seeking a university education.

These rankings are practical at this level, because admissions are determined in advance by the nature of the preparatory classes. Indeed, the parallel admission routes only allow the recruitment of graduates from:

  • ECS classes for the scientific option,
  • ECE preparatory classes for the economic option,
  • And ECT preparatory classes for the technological option

You can choose a business school before you graduate from high school.

Learn also how to apply to universities in France.

How much do business schools cost?

Grandes Ecoles in France have a reputation for being very expensive. But they are also the institutions that provide excellent training. It is therefore an investment worth making. The average cost of studying at a business school in France is 11,500 euros per year.

Some have affordable tuition fees, among the cheapest of them, EM Strasbourg costs around 8,500 euros per year. Others like ESPC are more expensive, with fees that can go up to 16,000 euros.

Learn also about the living and study cost in France.

Ranking of the best business schools in France

Magazines and newspapers categorize these institutes according to certain evaluation criteria. They do so mainly according to the degrees they offer, such as the Master’s degree.

The quality of the research, the international reputation, the faculty, but also the professional support are other ranking criteria. This is not an exhaustive list.

In this article, let’s zoom in on the 5 best business schools in France. HEC, ESSEC and ESCP have always been at the top of the rankings for more than 10 years. Being the best business schools in Paris, the are also called “the Parisian three”.

HEC (Jouy-en-Josas)

Chambers of Commerce and Industry play a major role in the world of commerce, both in practice and in theory. It is in this perspective that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Paris-Ile-de-France region (CCI Paris-Ile-de-France) supports the “École des Hautes Études Commerciales” (EHEC) of the same city. This is done both in terms of management and financing. The HEC, HEC Paris, and HEC School of Management form a group, a public school. It was created in 1881 and got its public recognition afterwards.

For the economic and commercial preparatory classes, you get admission through a competitive examination. The selection made by the HEC Group allows students to follow a curriculum leading to several diplomas, including :

  • Master of science
  • MBA (Master in Business Administration)
  • Doctorate
  • Certified professional training (CESA)

Its name refers to its location. It is currently located on the Jouy-en-Josas campus, following the inauguration by Charles de Gaulle. However, its original location was on Tocqueville in Paris before 1964.

ESSEC (Cergy-Pontoise)

“For nearly 10 years now, ESSEC has been expanding significantly” explains Alexandre Ponthier, Associate Professor at ESSEC, former ESSEC student and founder of the online training institute Doublez Vos Ventes. The school has offices in Singapore and Rabat, and has signed double degree agreements with prestigious foreign universities.

Showing great political skill and having mobilized its large network of alumni, ESSEC was able to raise funds that allowed a major expansion of the school’s premises. Today, these facilities make ESSEC one of the most attractive campuses among the French grandes écoles.

The school is also under the control of the CCI of Paris-Île-de-France since 1981. ESSEC of Cergy-Pontoise offers a curriculum called “Grande Ecole”, which leads to a Master degree. In addition, the school delivers the following degrees:

  • BBA or Bachelor in Business Administration
  • MBA or Master in Business Administration
  • Some specialized master’s

EM Lyon Business School

EM Lyon came into being in 1872 through the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Lyon. It is one of the top 100 business schools in the world and the third in France. The prefix EM in the name means “early makers” and summarizes the school’s pedagogy, based on the principle of “doing to learn, learning to do”.

The school offers a variety of courses as well as courses in English, which are particularly valued on the job market. The school has also concluded more than 120 international exchange agreements during its 150 years of existence.

Programs at EM Lyon include:

  • Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA)
  • Grande École Program
  • Master MSC/MS
  • Specialized masters
  • MBA
  • PhD
  • Entrepreneur Programs
  • Continuous training

ESCP (Paris)

This school enjoys a high level of recognition, as ESCP is the oldest business school in France. ESCP Business School brings together students from various disciplines. Indeed, their fields of expertise range from economics to social sciences and management.

The school offers several majors, including:

  • Law
  • Finance,
  • HRM,
  • Communication
  • Marketing
  • Cultural management


Founded in 1906, EDHEC Business School was created by entrepreneurs from the north of France. It aims to train generations of agile, inventive entrepreneurs who are willing to think outside the box when it comes to business administration. The courses they offer meet the current needs of local and international companies, including programs in English which are of great importance to the school.

Some of the programs you can find at EDHEC include:

  • BBA
  • Master in Management Grande École
  • Master of Science in Finance
  • MS in Business Management
  • Master of Science Innovation & Data
  • Master of Science Marketing
  • MBA & EMBA’s
  • Other distance learning courses leading to diplomas and certificates

Check also our ranking of the top 10 universities in France.

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