How to enter a business school? The different enrolment processes

23 Oct 2019


Each year, more and more students choose to follow the courses offered by leading business schools. They choose those because they want to find undergraduate or postgraduate degrees recognised on the job market but also they want to feel the business school atmosphere, take advantage of an active network of alumni or have the possibility of studying abroad during their studies. If you want to join a business school, here are the options available to you...


Join a business school after a preparatory class


Preparatory classes are higher education courses that prepare you for the admission exams of some major business and management schools. For one, two or sometimes three years, you learn how to absorb a lot of information, bear a heavy workload and acquire the good habits that will be useful on the day of the admission exam in these business schools.

This pathway, typically French, is often considered the best road to the most prestigious schools that aren’t accessible via exams right after high school diploma (HEC, ESSEC, etc.). Nevertheless, some post-baccalaureate schools like IPAG have managed to gain a good spot within the business schools universe by offering courses accessible from the 1st year: Bachelors, BBA and especially a Grande École Programme in 5 years.


Join a business school directly after a high school diploma


You can enter a business school right after graduating from high school. Most of the time, the best schools come together to offer common exams to their future students, mainly when it comes to giving them a business school degree. IPAG, as a post-high school diploma business school, is also doing this in order to recruit its Programme Grande École students through the SESAME exam including 14 schools and no less than 17 different programmes. This business school exam includes common written tests and oral tests that you take during your senior year in high school.

The benefit of this type of path is that you don’t split your higher education in two phases and you enter directly into the thick of the subject with dedicated courses from the 1st year; management, economics and management. In addition, you can take advantage of these two additional years spent in school to do end-of-year internships and gain professional experience, which is not possible when you are in preparatory class.

For other programmes of business and management schools (BBA and Bachelor), there is generally no entrance exam but an application process specific to each institution.


Joining a business school via parallel admissions


Whether you have missed the mark right after obtaining your high school diploma or you have started your studies in higher education with a BTS, a DUT or a License, it is not too late to join a business school (Bachelor, BBA, Grande École Programme). There are more and more admitted on title in the business schools. We often talk about parallel admissions and these sometimes involve that the student has gone through a specific exam.

For example, to enter IPAG Grande École Programme via parallel admission (in the 3rd or 4th year), you must go through the AMBITIONS+ exam. This exam is common to several schools. Be aware that once accepted, you follow the same curriculum, have the same choice of specialisations and obtain the same diploma as students whom have started in the first year. The annual employment surveys show that the admission path (post high school diploma or parallel) has no influence on the future of young graduates at IPAG when they enter the job market. Bachelor and BBA may also be subject to parallel admissions in 2nd and 3rd years at IPAG and in some other schools, without an exam but following a specific admission process to each institution.

This type of course can be interesting when you change your professional objective during your curriculum or if you want to reduce the cost of your studies in higher education. At IPAG, you can join the Grande École Programme directly in the 3rd or 4th year through the AMBITIONS+ exam and do your Master cycle as a sandwich-course to have your tuition paid by the host company.


Now that you know everything, or almost everything, about the different ways to integrate a business school, all you have to do is choose the good programme for yourself, prepare for exams or refine your application.


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