The law of supply and demand drove SKEMA, a French business school, to open campuses in the emerging markets of China and Morocco, and to start planning for expansion into India, Brazil and possibly Russia.
But the decision to set up shop in the United States was driven by something a bit more emotional. “For European students, this is a dream; America is a dream for them,” says Alice Guilhon, the school’s dean. “And it is a dream for us, to be known in the U.S.”
While Harvard Business School, the Wharton School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business might not be the kind of competition that most institutions would willingly seek out, well-regarded European business schools like SKEMA have in the last few years ratcheted up their efforts to be known and respected in the United States.
SKEMA — created last year by the merger of ESC Lille School of Management and CERAM Business School – is hoping to build its global reputation by situating its new campuses near hubs of the technology industry, and saw a venture in the United States as key to that strategy. “To be in America is to be close to the headquarters of all the big firms, to be where the story began,” Guilhon says. “To be well-known in America, it is leverage for the visibility of the school in the world.”