Preparatory classes are the answer to the challenges of the world


Stéphane Bourcieu is the CEO of the Burgundy Business School, a business school founded in Dijon in 1899, and Niki Papadopoulou is the Program Director. Its Grande Ecole program is accessible after two years of economic and commercial preparatory courses.


Four years is the time a young person needs from entering the first class to the Grandes Écoles entrance exams at the end of the Grandes Écoles Preparatory Class (CPGE). Four years have passed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic. Four years during which geopolitics took on a new dimension with the war between Ukraine and Russia, escalation between Iran and Israel, and rising tensions between China and Taiwan. Four years during which the planet continued to warm and the +3°C barrier kept getting dangerously close. Finally, four years that have seen the rapid rise of Chat GPT and other generative AI tools.

The world has changed radically

In four years, the young people who are currently taking the Grandes Écoles entrance exams have seen the world radically change before their eyes. During this period, did national educational programs evolve as rapidly as changes in the world? Obviously not. And even when reforms were made, they did not always go in the right direction, like the bachelor with the abandonment of mathematics in the open country.

Forget the clichés about creating competitive animals: in two years of study, the preparatory class will give its students the necessary basis for understanding the world of the past, present and future

Stéphane Bourcieu and Niki Papadopoulou

In this uncertain context, the training provided in preparatory classes has never been more important to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s world. A future that no one knows what it will bring. But the future that everyone can safely say will be different, unpredictable, complex. Far from the clichés of the 20th centuryThursday century, this training really represents all the essential attributes for adapting to a world we know nothing about. Forget the cliché about creating competitive beasts: in two years of study, the preparatory class gives its students the necessary foundation for understanding the world of the past, present and future.

General culture

At the disciplinary level, this foundation begins with general culture. The humanities, history, geography, economics, sociology, geopolitics are all the foundations of a general culture that is more important than ever to understand what surrounds us and what awaits us. This foundation is then based on solid training in mathematics. It is neither a question of creating future Field Medalists nor future computing aces, but of training minds to understand complex problems. Finally, mastery of languages ​​is more important than ever to convey subtle expressions and nuances of ideas, despite, or even because of, all the tools of artificial intelligence.

Learn to formulate a problem

But the prep class also has advantages when it comes to learning the essential skills to thrive in an uncertain world. In the business world, we generally call these skills “ fine skills » even if they have nothing soft. It is primarily the ability to formalize a problem, hypothesize and analyze results. In a complex and uncertain environment, it will be more than ever necessary to develop options and consider options before making a decision.

Learn to organize

Likewise, in an environment increasingly influenced by artificial intelligence, the ability to formulate the right questions and pose the right problems will be a significant asset. Artificial intelligence does not exclude human intelligence, on the contrary: they feed off each other. Then there is the ability to organize and work. A successful prep student is one who is organized and has the capacity to work efficiently. In the face of exponential growth in access to knowledge and complexity, organization is more than ever a necessary quality to be effective. As for the ability to work, it remains essential, regardless of the advocates of the right to be lazy.

Manage stress

Finally, it’s stress management. The resilience developed while preparing for competitive exams can be a real boon to future executives and future citizens who are dealing with an uncertain and even more anxious environment. The baccalaureate reform undermined the attractiveness of preparatory classes. It’s a fact, the numbers are relentless. However, the way the world is moving makes this training course more important than ever for our future managers and executives. He won’t wait for us. It is urgent to realize this.



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