Catherine Lespine

With 22,000 students and 80,000 alumni, INSEEC U. is one of the leaders in higher education institutions in France. Boasting a strong network of French and International partners, they proudly form tomorrow’s world economic leaders. Based in Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Chambery, as well as London, Monaco, Geneva, Shanghai and San Francisco, INSEEC U. encompasses 12 colleges. The Group’s development is dedicated to the quest of excellence in, luxury, hospitality and “customer etiquette”, wine and spirits, and digital marketing-communication.


Sector: Services Investment date: 2013 Apax position: Majority


For 2016, INSEEC U.’s budget was €200m. The company continues to implement its new strategy which notably includes pursuing national and international expansion, developing digital contents and trainings, and maintaining academic excellence.

  • In 2015, INSEEC U. opened a new campus in San Francisco predominantly for short training sessions on entrepreneurship.
  • In 2014, the Luxury Business Institute was inaugurated in Shanghai, providing executive education for corporates and a Career Centre in China for students and alumni of the Group. A dual-degree programme was launched between the Seoul Luxury Business Institute and the International University of Monaco in order to give Korean and Asian students the opportunity to combine an MSc in luxury management in Monaco with industry-expert professional training in Seoul.
  • Three agreements were signed in China: the first with the Chinese Ministry of Culture to allow Chinese students to enrol in a dual training programme over six months in France and in China; the second with the University of Jiaotong for an executive training programme in China; and the third with the Shanghai University of Sport to train the future executive organisers of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics in sports management. Many agreements were also signed in India with top-notch universities (Punjabi University), paving the way for Indian students to enrol in complete programmes at INSEEC U. and benefit from preferential tuition rates and enrolment conditions. This type of agreement, which combines the concepts of the academic exchange programme and the recruitment of fees-paying students, has also been developed in Europe, Thailand and Saudi Arabia, to the benefit of all Group programmes.
  • The Group recently completed several acquisitions, such as the one transforming the French assets of Groupe Lauréate.
  • These assets comprise four schools: two business schools: ESCE and EBS; ECE, an engineering school; HEIP, a political science and international relations school; and IFG, a continuing education institution. This investment followed the 2014 acquisition of CREA, a digital communication school in Geneva.
  • Digital technology has been one of INSEEC U.’s priorities for over a decade: innovative online educational tools and services have helped to improve the work methods and digital experience of staff, instructors and students. The INNOV INSEEC system, and its five incubators in Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, London and Geneva, offers students all the resources they need to become the digital entrepreneurs of the future.
  • Current digital training, whether it be blended or fully online, represents around 5% of the introductory and continuing education programmes. The aim is to increase this ratio to 25% after three years by drawing on teaching staff and platforms that are already in place or under development. This digital transformation will be structured around four key pillars: user experience, educational content, local back office support and the ongoing adaptation of marketing tools and methods to market needs.


In 2015, INSEEC U. pursued its national and international expansion with the opening of a new “flagship” campus in Lyon, the launch of a new campus in San Francisco, and the creation of new programs in Créa Genève. The group also developed its digital contents and trainings. Finally, INSEEC U. maintains its academic excellence with the AMBA accreditation launched for the INSEEC Grande Ecole. The French Ministry of Education renewed the national accreditation for the Grande Ecole for a 4-year period and the ACCSB accreditation process was launched at IUM.

The group opened a new campus in San Francisco for short sessions on entrepreneurship predominantly.

The group launched online training in Luxury management.


  • Luxury Business Institute was inaugurated in Shanghai providing executive education for corporates and a Career Center in China for students and alumni of the group.
  • Two agreements signed in China: one with the Chinese Ministry of Culture to enable Chinese students to pursue a six-month double-training program in France and China; and the second with the Jiaotong University for an executive program in China.
  • Acquisition of management school CREA Genève.
  • Creation of a new San Francisco-based campus.
  • Definition of a clear strategy to position itself along three major axes: Luxury & Hospitality, Wine & Spirits and Communication, Design & Digital marketing.
  • Visual brand identity reviewed with the assistance of global brand specialist Jean-Noël Kapferer, a former HEC professor who joined INSEEC U.