Interdisciplinarity at the heart of ESDES
Like business schools in English-speaking countries, ESDES belongs to a major university. This unique position offers its students access to courses across a broad range of disciplines and skills
To keep up with growing demand from companies for multi-skilled talent, most business schools have to seek out partnerships with engineering schools, design schools, etc., in order to offer dual degrees. ESDES has the advantage of offering a business degree within the ecosystem of all of the entities and faculties at UCLy.
The interdisciplinary approach, now commonplace in companies, is still a rare thing in higher education, which is usually organised in silos, sorted by discipline, science and speciality. ESDES has decided to cultivate its difference by working towards more crossover options between the various institutes and faculties at UCLy. First, within its own programmes, but also in terms of the student experience.
"ESDES has decided to cultivate its difference by working towards more crossover options between the various institutes and faculties at UCLy."
Sharing codes, vocabulary and practices
As of September 2018, ESDES began offering two blended tracks: the first at the Master's level, in the Grande Ecole programme, and the second in a dual degree programme, with the Law School and the Graduate School of Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology (ESTBB).
What’s the goal of these hybrid programmes? To enable business, law and science students to interact with their peers from other disciplines, on a daily basis. The codes, vocabulary and practices specific to each educational community are mixed, so everyone has to adapt to each other.
Applied to the learning experience on a daily basis, an interdisciplinary approach opens the horizons and builds different analytic capabilities for these future business leaders. Getting to grips with a complex, fast-changing world means seeing the big picture and keeping things in perspective, in order to use good judgment.
Philosophical thinking supporting business practices
In September 2019, ESDES opened a third cross-disciplinary programme, with the Faculty of Philosophy. Called “Management, Humanities and Innovation”, it offers dual competencies in philosophy and business, in order to meet the needs of business and organisations. At a time when companies are questioning their practices, and deeper thinking is needed to foster more innovation, this specialisation combines the technical skills of managers with the methods of philosophical thinking. The people who will soon hold positions of responsibility will thus be introduced to the tools needed to question their practices and improve their performance.
By choosing one of these three programmes (management/philosophy, management/ law or management/biotech), students can obtain degrees from two schools (ESDES + Faculty of Philosophy, Law School or ESTBB). This is the most visible side of the interdisciplinary approach offered by ESDES. Other opportunities allow students to dialogue and collaborate with their peers from other disciplines or to get feedback from different experts.
Elective courses, which foster openmindedness and discovery, have always made use of the expertise of other faculties within UCLy. Every year in the Human formation Department, legal professionals, philosophers and ethnologists offer courses to ESDES students in order to enrich their culture and develop their analytic abilities or enhance their personal development.
Grow and encourage student initiatives
Interdisciplinarity is not confined to the classroom. Every day on the campus, ESDES students and students of science, law and philosophy cross paths, interact with each other and get to know each other. In order to foster and strengthen these ties, ESDES has opened several experimentation spaces for UCLy students. Student life, which is traditionally active at ESDES, has opened up to other institutes. For example, the “New Locals” association, founded by two ESDES students in 2017, now has nearly 60 members from every institute. Driven by strong ecological convictions, the association leads the campus in waste recycling and organic lunches that are locally sourced (with short supply chains) and a zerowaste initiative.
In addition to associations, ESDES has opened the “Jeunes Pousses” competition up to law students and ESTBB students. This competition, a highlight of the Grande Ecole programme, involves a group-led entrepreneurial project carried out in the third of the ESDES curriculum. Bringing in students from other disciplines has enriched the programme. It also fosters new perspectives and technical possibilities, while preparing future managers for the reality of the business world in which they will soon work.
"Interdisciplinarity is not confined to the classroom. Every day on the campus, ESDES students and students of science, law and philosophy cross paths, interact with each other and get to know each other."
A new experience was offered at the beginning of the 2019 autumn term: the “ESDES Pool”. It immersed business students and coding learners in the culture of IT development and included a week of intensive coding, based on the rules and practices of the super coders of the 42 School in Lyon, specifically through a partnership.
Interdisciplinarity has become a natural, driving force at UCLy. It prepares our students to better cope with the reality of the business world by giving them more skills to understand others and analyse situations. ESDES provides students with fertile ground to cultivate this vauable soft skill for their future careers.