The launch of IÉSEG’s fourth Center of Excellence, ICIE, also supports its strategy to provide an outstanding intercultural learning experience and to be a unique international hub. Jean-Philippe Ammeux, Director of IÉSEG School of Management, explains: “The teaching and learning experience at IÉSEG is international and intercultural by nature. This year, we welcome staff and students from more than 100 different nationalities (more than 2000 international students on its campuses) and more than 80% of permanent professors are non-French.
“However, we want to go much further than just providing a multicultural environment and providing students with international experience, through exchanges and internships. We aim to be one of the leading business schools in the world in terms of true intercultural learning, teaching and research, by investing in the development of intercultural competences among students and staff and fostering research engagement and diffusion in this area.”
ICIE supports research activities focused on cultural differences and dynamics across and within countries, as well as in organizations/companies. The aim is to offer solutions to the complex managerial problems that develop in an increasingly global economy. In particular, research will focus on several key areas: how individuals and organizations can develop intercultural competences; how globalization affects consumer behavior towards products and brands; how intercultural differences affect multinational companies; and the impact of cultural heritage on decision making.
2. Engagement at IÉSEG:
IÉSEG is seeking to foster the development of cultural intelligence throughout the School and to ensure it is a key element of the DNA of all students and staff.
For students: the Cultural Diversity Passport introduces them to the notion of cultural diversity to help them better recognize and respect their own culture and the culture of others. It is compulsory for all bachelor students who must pass two components: an academic course and the International PEER-learning activity that involves a series of guided interactions with someone who is culturally different. Students are encouraged to participate in one of the many multicultural projects proposed at the school.
In 2017, almost 1,000 students took part in 47 multicultural projects supervised by over 30 members of staff. These projects cover activities like gastronomy, theatre, fashion and tandem learning. All of them bring domestic and international students together so that they can learn about and from each other, and so further develop their cultural knowledge and skills.
The Cultural Diversity Certificate is an optional certificate, which students can obtain during the Grande Ecole master in Management program. It leads students to a level where they can consciously start to reconcile cultural differences and root these reconciliations in the way that they communicate, work and manage themselves and others on a daily basis. Students have to follow the “Managing Cultural Diversity” module and four electives with an explicitly intercultural/diversity theme. They also either write a master thesis or complete an internship with an explicitly intercultural/diversity theme. The certificate also involves students doing two IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) profiles and establishing an individual intercultural development plan.
In addition to the above, the members of ICIE are also offering various courses across different programs on inter/cross-cultural issues including global brand management and international negotiation.
Developing staff competences: Dealing Daily With Diversity, a 3-day staff training program, is the first of three levels of training aimed at all the permanent staff, both academic and administrative. This training is compulsory whilst the two further levels are optional. IÉSEG aims to provide all the staff with the tools needed to better understand cultural diversity in everyday life and help them embrace these differences.
By providing the staff and students with a ‘working together’ toolbox and a common understanding of the challenges linked to working in an intercultural environment, IÉSEG aims to promote culturally intelligent behavior that will make the school a place where everyone can thrive.
3. Corporate relations:
ICIE also works with companies that want to improve their inter/cross-cultural competences, carrying out cutting-edge applied research, proposing executive education and tailor-made training courses. Through ‘Academia meets practice’ seminars, ICIE will also provide companies and academics with a forum in which to explore the challenges of living and working in an increasingly diversified society.
In terms of executive education, ICIE members are able to design programs for corporate training around the following issues:
Dealing daily with diversity;
Intercultural competences for expatriates;
Developing skills towards interculturally competent marketing organizations;
The value of corporate culture.