Guillaume Finck, Vice President of the Collège de Paris International, talks about the genesis of the Ascencia Middle East project to the News Tank media.
“With the establishment of a franchise in 2018 via Ascencia, our goal was to be able to deliver a program in Dubai – and then elsewhere – with the same quality as in France. By the start of the 2021 academic year, a total of 1,200 students will be enrolled” in the programs offered in the Emirate, says Guillaume Finck, Vice President of Collège de Paris International.
This model “allows a local partner to license our program. The cost of tuition is set by this partner, who collects the payments. They then pay us royalties, which are in line with market standards,” continues Guillaume Finck.
“The first challenge was to find these partners. The prerequisite was that they be local schools, recognized by their state, which train between 200 and 2,000 students. Thanks to this alliance, we are able to offer them international recognition thanks to the diploma, but also integration into the Collège de Paris network, which is worldwide.
He adds that “if Dubai is the country in which our franchise model is most successful, we now have 25 locations in a dozen countries, with bachelor, MS (Specialized Master) and DBA (Doctorate of Business Administration) programs from nine of our schools, including Ascencia, Ecema, the Conte school, Keyce Academy, Keyce informatique, Keyce tourisme, Euclea, E2SE and Akalis”.
Guillaume Finck identifies two growth levers for the future of this model:
- “duplicating our model in other markets, such as Central America and Southeast Asia”.
- “the deployment of programs from our art and culture cluster, relying on other partners”.
Franchising, another international strategy
“Like all Western schools, we understood that growth was to be sought in developing countries. Most institutions have deployed two types of strategies in:
- bringing students from these countries to their own institutions: but this de facto excludes less affluent students and requires a visa
- opening a campus on site, with French tuition fees often not adapted to the needs of the market. It is quickly becoming a host campus for French students seeking an international experience.
“We made the choice to opt for another solution, by relocating the programs with a local partner,” says Guillaume Finck.
The majority of faculty recruitment “entrusted to the partner”
As for the teaching staff, the international vice-president indicates that “the majority of the recruitment is entrusted to the partner. We then “accredit” these professors, which means that we check their qualifications. We also send our professors, who are not always French. Under the Abraham agreements, we were the first to send an Israeli professor to Dubai.
Building credibility for the industry in Dubai
The start-up of the program in Dubai was a little slow because, while France has a legitimate reputation in the fields of luxury goods, hotels and restaurants, gastronomy and fashion, this is not so much the case in management, where the Anglo-Saxons dominate the market. We had to build the credibility of our program, the global MBA (Master of Business Administration),” continues Guillaume Finck.
“Finally, in Dubai, Al Tareeqah Management Studies decided to follow us, with an Ascencia Business School franchise. One of the major assets of our diploma, which is recognized by the RNCP (Répertoire national des certifications professionnelles), is that it is recognized in about a hundred countries, including Canada and the United States.
The evolution since 2018
“As time went on, we offered a bachelor’s degree, then master’s degrees. As soon as we had enough students enrolled, we opened courses specifically dedicated to the Dubai market: in data science and AI (artificial intelligence).
The franchise has also evolved with the construction of an MBA (Master of business administration) in data science, which would only be applicable in Dubai. To find expert speakers, we made an agreement with the consulting company, Clevered, which provides some of the faculty, for the professional part.”
In Dubai, the component is divided into two parts:
“One is dedicated to the education of Dubai nationals by Dubai schools: accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), these quality schools are often quite expensive. The other, which is much broader, is intended for the education of students from neighboring countries who have settled in Dubai,” Guillaume Finck explains.
“Until today, this second market was 90% dominated by Anglo-Saxon players: the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. However, all these establishments have the same weakness: their price.
There was then a place to take because the French training is more affordable, but our diplomas are recognized in the same way as theirs. Today, we compete in volume, but not in value with the Anglo-Saxons.