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How does GEM reconcile crisis management, impacts on the start of the 2020 academic year and impacts on its strategy?

hall gem
Published on
12 May 2020

How is the school handling the situation? What measures have been taken?

"We have all been going through an unprecedented situation for several weeks now with the Covid-19 epidemic. [...] At GEM, this event requires constant management, which began as early as December. As an international school, we had to manage the situations of exchange students, or on our sites, who were worried or whose courses could not be provided. Our actions today are guided by three points:

  • To be a responsible and supportive school and employer - which means doing everything possible to preserve the physical integrity and therefore the health of the students and staff.
  • To guarantee academic continuity and the success of students.
  • To anticipate the future and ensure the sustainability of the institution.

Every crisis acts as a revealer. For GEM, it has not only validated the coherence of our strategic axes, but also our agility and solidity. Now, because businesses are hit very hard, and because of our close collaboration, we are also affected. For this reason, some of our employees have resorted to partial activity. This responsible decision, combined with an extremely healthy financial situation, should help us to emerge from the crisis as strong as possible. More specifically, we have no debt, we are compensating the salaries of those in partial activity to the nearest euro, we are continuing and even accelerating our recruitment program for teacher-researchers, just as we are continuing, more generally, to invest massively." Loïck Roche, Director & Dean of Grenoble Ecole de Management.

The School has set up various actions for its students, employees, graduates, corporate partners and future students.

Student recruitment, international relations: what impacts are there in the short, medium and long term?

"It would be an illusion to believe that everything will go back to how it was before. We must prepare for the start of the new school year not as a transitional solution but as a starting point for our transformation. […] At the same time, we must manage the many uncertainties of the new school year […] and prepare our students for the new reality of the job market. In fact, agility in the short term while being part of the long term!
One thing is clear: this 20/21 academic year will be a special one. Nevertheless, the start of the academic year will take place on the scheduled dates and will end as planned at the end of April / beginning of May 2021 depending on the programs to reposition itself in a "normal" calendar. Moreover, the objectives of acquisition of knowledge / skills of the GEM programs remain identical to those for which the students have joined (or will join) school and which make its reputation.
Therefore, we have established different scenarios that we will refine according to the instructions that will be given and the evolution of the situation: 100% face-to-face, 100% at a distance, hybrid model… We are preparing for all scenarios."
Read the whole text by Jean-François Fiorina

Lessons from this crisis on education, business and society

« […] If we are really in a period of major ecological risk and if this situation is largely due to hypercompetition, hyperconsumption and globalization, THEN it is up to us to transform in a major way the way we train our future leaders. If we carry on as before, we will always have the same effects. Economic peace is a strong alternative to a way of doing business based on hypercompetition, hyperconsumption, exacerbated individualism and the single pursuit of profit. […]

Among GEM's actions in this framework since 2008: creation of a chair for economic peace, mindfulness and well-being at work; creation of dedicated training and course modules; multidisciplinary research; creation of a community of practice; launch of the Economic Peace Trophies, etc.
To "be one of the places of development and deployment of economic peace and human ecology in the World" GEM's goal is:

  • At GEM: to increase the share of teaching dedicated to economic peace and related subjects and to increase the experiential (and not only cognitive) share.
  • For high school students: to contribute to a reflection and action at the high school level to make future candidates for the grandes écoles aware of the stakes as early as possible.
  • For continuing educations: to create a specific experiential center to enable current employees to experience these changes in behavior and develop new courses of action.
  • For research: to develop more interdisciplinary research projects to approach economics and business from cross-disciplinary perspectives: anthropology, philosophy, literature, arts, biology, etc...
  • For businesses: to develop an "Economic Peace" network within the regional and national economic fabric and to become even more involved in territorial projects."

Dominique Steiler, Director of the Economic Peace, Mindfulness and Well-Being at Work Chair at GEM
Read the full text by Dominique Steiler..

Impacts on the strategy of the Grandes Ecoles and on the strategy of GEM?

"This crisis is applying a real test of resistance to the strategy of all the Grandes Ecoles whose pillars and objectives have been designed for a world without Covid-19. However, tomorrow will be profoundly different. It seemed necessary for GEM to sift through the consequences of the crisis in its five strategic areas. Never have they seemed so relevant to respond to the challenges and major issues confronting us all. Each of the axes of the GEM 2020-2025 strategy provides answers to one of the many new challenges to be integrated:

  • MTI (Management of Technology and Innovation): To enrich and disseminate the management of technology and innovation to enable organizations to develop sustainably and to promote prosperity and peace. > In the space of a few days, we found ourselves totally dependent on technology to deliver our programs but also to enable all employees to work from home.
  • GEM for society: To have a positive and distinctive impact on society, and help our stakeholders to be engaged and responsible. > We will emerge from this crisis in a distressed world and in a distressed economy. We have an obligation to act.
  • School of the Future: To imagine and build the school of the future.> We are being propelled much faster than expected towards what we dream of being.
  • Operational excellence:  To bring together creativity, well-being at work and efficiency. > These issues are suddenly being brought to the forefront in response to forced teleworking and work/family life in the same space.
  • New business models: To identify and secure new sources for value creation.> We will have to review our models, change them, not only to survive but also to approach a world that is going to be different."

Julie Perrin-Halot, Director of Quality, Strategic Planning & Internationalization at GEM
Read the full text by Julie Perrin-Halot..

In light of these reflections, GEM in 2025

  • GEM has created an alliance of Business Schools which are actively involved in the success of their innovation ecosystems. (Strategic pillar: MTI)
  • GEM is a place where economic peace is developed and deployed. (Strategic pillar: For Society)
  • GEM has defined and proposes a new standard for business schools. (Strategic pillar: School of the future)
  • With its strong international brand, GEM works with extremely innovative partners (eg. National Geographic Society, a scientific and educational organization committed to exploring and protecting our planet). (Strategic pillar: School of the future)
  • GEM has new investors. The School has invested in Edtechs and start-ups. (Strategic pillar: New Business Models)
  • GEM is an agile and collaborative organization, recognized as a Great Place to Work. (Strategic pillar: Operational Excellence)

Key Figures

  • 100 M€ budget (66 M€ in 2020)
  • 5 M€ investment capacity/year excluding real estate
  • 30 programs (50 programs in 2020)
  • 55,000 alumni (35,000 in 2020)
  • 5,000 participants/year in continuing education (3,000 in 2020)
  • 10,000 students/year (6,000 in 2020)
  • 150 academic partners (200 in 2020)
  • 600 employees (500 in 2020)
  • 200 teacher-researchers (150 in 2020)
  • 2 campuses in France (Grenoble and Paris)
  • 3 developing campuses around the world in the best innovation and technology ecosystems (digital, intelligent buildings and CSR are fully integrated)
  • 1 virtual campus (World)
  • Triple accredited Top 6 in France, Top 25 in Europe


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