IÉSEG: 60 years of impact research to meet the major challenges facing companies and society

Since its foundation in 1964, IÉSEG has changed significantly… From the size of its student cohorts, the number of programs offered, and the number of faculty members, to its academic partnerships and campus sizes, the School has been completely transformed, especially since the 2000s, to enhance the learning experience and better meet the evolving needs of businesses. However, if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed since 1964, it’s the School’s commitment to conducting rigorous impact research and developing innovative and engaging pedagogy.

Conducting cutting-edge impact research to adress the major societal challenges

When IÉSEG was founded in 1964 by the Belgian economist and former president-rector of the Catholic University of Lille, Michel FALISE, the School’s philosophy immediately focused on “rigorously and scientifically” educating students as individuals, in their entirety. To emphasize the importance of this scientific rigor, the school was initially named “Institut d’Économie Scientifique et de Gestion” (Institute of Scientific Economics and Management).

It’s also for this reason that, from its early years, IÉSEG chose to develop high-level research, even though it was initially a relatively small “regional” School (the Paris-La Défense campus was only established in 2009). This choice was visionary because at the time, it was rare for a business school to combine advanced teaching with high-level impact research.

This visionary stance, claimed by IÉSEG then and still today, 60 years later, is clearly stated in its strategy, in the recruitment of its professors, and in everyday life, demanding “Balanced Excellence”: high-level research coupled with quality teaching.

Acceleration: switching teaching to English and recruiting international professors

While the School’s professors were already conducting high-quality research projects and publishing their findings, primarily in major national journals, IÉSEG experienced a significant acceleration in the early 2000s. Indeed, in 2000-2001, the School decided to gradually transition all its teaching to English, which opened up professor recruitment globally, allowing the School to attract the best international professors in their fields of expertise.

This strategic choice, along with obtaining international accreditations (EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA – Triple Crown), has made IÉSEG increasingly attractive. Last year, the School received over 1,500 professor applications… and today, IÉSEG has 200 faculty members, all holding a Ph.D., from 54 different countries.

The arrival of these world-class professors, across all teaching domains, has enabled the School to publish more and more research articles in leading international scientific journals, thus providing even greater visibility, weight, and impact. IÉSEG ranks among the top business schools in France in terms of scientific publications, guaranteeing the relevance, originality, and quality of the content delivered in classrooms and strengthening interactions with businesses and other stakeholders.

Furthermore, in 2006, IÉSEG became the first business school in France involved in a Joint Research Unit of the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research). This research laboratory called “Lille Economics Management (LEM)”, gathers CNRS, the University of Lille, and IÉSEG. Research conducted at LEM addresses important societal issues, as evidenced by its collaborations with the National Research Agency (ANR) and the European Metropolis of Lille (MEL), among other partners.

The interdisciplinarity appraoch at the heart of the School’s research strategy

IÉSEG’s research focuses on developing new knowledge necessary for innovation and creating solutions for organizations in various sectors. Innovation is particularly crucial for addressing major challenges facing society today, such as climate change, sustainability, or digital transformation, etc.

These challenges and their solutions often require an interdisciplinary approach, combining expertise from multiple domains. That’s why IÉSEG has developed four centers of excellence, bringing together researchers and international experts from various disciplines and fields to study, research, and provide answers and solutions to important questions for businesses and organizations. These Centers focus their expertise on social responsibility, sustainable development, and business relations (ICOR), interculturality (ICIE), negotiation (ICON), and finally marketing analysis, customer relations, and business projects (ICMA).

These Centers of Excellence also aim to bridge the gap between fundamental and applied research and the School’s teaching activities. One of the objectives of these centers is also to widely disseminate this knowledge and expertise to professionals, decision-makers, NGOs, and other organizations.

In parallel, the School has also developed several research centers that allow groups of researchers to collaborate closely and advance the School’s activities in a number of key areas. For example, in 2020, the School launched a research center (IRisk) to better understand and improve decision-making related to environmental, health, economic, and other risks through impartial economic research. Or, in 2021, the School established a research center dedicated to family, labor, and migration economics (IFlame), a topic that is currently at the heart of political agendas and will be a major issue in the upcoming European elections.

Find out here how IÉSEG innovates daily, in terms of pedagogy, to offer a quality and engaging learning experience.