Founded in 1907, ESSEC Business School has never ceased to innovate in anticipation of future challenges. For more than a century, the school has distinguished itself through its humanist approach. This pioneering mindset has been at the heart of ESSEC's identity from its founding and remains the guiding principle of its century-old heritage.

1907: Founding of the Economic Institute as part of the École Sainte-Geneviève. The first graduating class has seven students. In 1908, the Economic Institute has 25 students in its two grades.
​ A third, optional, grade is added in 1909.

1913: The Economic Institute is renamed the Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales.
​ Located within the Institut Catholique de Paris , the school moves to rue d'Assas in 1915.

1921: Founding of a placement service.
​ In the aftermath of the First World War, the ESSEC Alumni Association grows in size and a humanitarian fund is created. It is used, in particular, to provide assistance for war widows and orphans.
​ The first graduate yearbook is published in 1926. 

1929: The first Business Ethics class: the institution's humanist ambition is reflected in its pedagogy and the values it strives to transmit to its students.  The importance of linking theory and practice is already evident in the organization of company visits and study trips since the institution's inception. 

1932: Founding of the first Student Office (BDE). The students then set about naming the graduating classes: the first, in 1937, was named after the aviator Jean Mermoz.

1937: The first student scholarships mark the beginning of a social aid policy.

At the end of the 1940s, a competitive entrance examination replaces the standard admissions exam and tuition is extended to three years. The school becomes increasingly popular and recruitment is more and more selective.

1961: Founding of Les Mardis de l'ESSEC (ESSEC Tuesdays), the first student debating platform in France.

1963: Founding of the Research Center. Initially intended to strengthen the links between the academic world and the academic field, in 1969 it is renamed CERESSEC (Centre d'Études et de Recherche en Sciences Sociales, Economiques et Commerciales), the first research structure to be affiliated with a French Grande École de Commerce. This period also sees the introduction of ESSEC's permanent faculty. 

1966: Admission into the second year of the school, subject to an application and interview, introduces a parallel entry path to the school. Initially, the vast majority of candidates are engineers.

1967: Launch of the Formation Permanente, now ESSEC Executive Education, which moved to the CNIT in the La Défense business district in 1989.

1967: Students create the first Junior Entreprise in Europe, which carries out studies, surveys and opinion polls on behalf of its corporate clients.

1970: The school opens its doors to women. With admission being initially based on their qualifications, the competitive entrance exam is made available to them in 1972. Today, one out of two ESSEC students is a woman.

1973: ESSEC leaves its rue d'Assas location in Paris and moves to the heart of the new town of Cergy-Pontoise. This period is also marked by the increasing freedom of choice offered to students in the shaping of their career paths and by the growing importance of professional experience during their studies. This year is also notable for the founding of the school's Sports Office (BDS). 

1975: Founding of the School of International Business Practitioners (EPSCI), which becomes the Bachelor in Business Administration in 2010 and the ESSEC Global BBA in 2015.

1981: Founding of the International Hotel Management Institute (IMHI) with Cornell University and launch of the MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI), now named MSc in Hospitality Management (IMHI).

1985: Founding of the first Advanced Master's degree, a one-year program for higher education graduates. The first Advanced Master is in Financial Techniques. More are quickly added to the list: marketing management, design and management of information and decision systems, management and logistics engineering, etc.

1986: Founding of the first teaching and research Chair by Professor Daniel Tixier. The Chair is dedicated to consumer products. Today, ESSEC has some twenty teaching and research Chairs, designed and developed in close partnership with multiple companies.

1993: Introduction of apprenticeships. ESSEC is the first management school in France to offer apprenticeships to its students. Today, more than 1,000 students complete an apprenticeship program each year.

1995: First graduating class of the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management, which is now one of the tracks of the Global MBA program.

1997: ESSEC becomes the first AACSB-accredited school outside of North America.

2003: In keeping with its humanist tradition and its commitment to openness and diversity, ESSEC launches the equal opportunity program "Une grande école: pourquoi pas moi?" (A grande école, why not me?), which enables high school students from modest backgrounds to have the opportunity to succeed in ambitious higher education studies.

2003: Launch of the Executive MBA program. Thanks to a strategic partnership with the University of Mannheim, in 2004 it becomes the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA. In 2014, an Asia-Pacific track opens in Singapore.

2003: ESSEC obtains EQUIS accreditation.

2005: ESSEC establishes a presence in Singapore and progressively expands its activities in pre- and post-experience education and in research. Ten years later, in 2015, ESSEC inaugurates its own campus in the Nepal Hill district of the city-state. 

2006: The Nautile, a new building for faculty on the Cergy campus, opens.

2007: ESSEC inaugurates a new extension to its Cergy campus with two additional buildings:
the Galion (educational building) and the Dôme (multipurpose space).

2014: Launch of ESSEC's first MOOCs, one on decision-making in a complex environment with Edgar Morin and the other on social entrepreneurship.

2015: Inauguration of the ESSEC campus in Singapore. Located in Nepal Hill, in the heart of a rapidly developing area dedicated to research, entrepreneurship and education, the 6,500m2 building can accommodate up to 1,500 students per year.

2016: On May 21st, the first Commencement Day Ceremony is held on the Cergy campus for students having completed their program. For the first time, this graduation ceremony brings together all the school's programs on the Cergy campus, at the same time. 

2017: Inauguration of the ESSEC Africa campus, located on the Plage des Nations site in Sidi Bouknadel in the heart of the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra urban area, Morocco.

2017: ESSEC obtains AMBA accreditation. It joins the select group of business schools with the "triple crown": AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA.

2018: ESSEC is one of the organizers of the France-Singapore Year of Innovation, jointly organized by the two countries.

2019: Inauguration of the FinLab on the Cergy campus and laying of the foundation stone for the Campus 2023 project in Cergy.

2019: Launch of the Augmented Digital Campus, which offers a unique online experience and enables students and participants to stay connected to the rest of the ESSEC community from anywhere in the world throughout their career.

2020: Launch of the new RISE strategy, which is built around three pillars: Together (Ecological and Social Responsibility), Metalab (Data, Technologies, Societies), Enlightening Entrepreneurship (Entrepreneurship and Innovation).

2021: ESSEC launches a new program, the MSc in Sustainability Transformation. It is designed to equip future managers with the knowledge, tools and network necessary to have a sustainable impact in their companies and organizations, to be agents of change in an increasingly volatile world and to seize new opportunities in the development of the transition.

2021: ESSEC co-founds the Conference of Directors of French Management Schools (CDEFM)

2022: ESSEC co-founds with CY Cergy Paris University the ACT Bachelor . This program adopts an innovative pedagogy that gives meaning to the higher education learning path through cross-disciplinary projects. These projects combine knowledge and skills on environmental and social issues, project management, human and social sciences, and personal development, by combining theoretical classes and field experiments. 

2022: ESSEC Asia-Pacific hosts the France-Singapore Conference on Sustainable Finance, co-organized with the French Embassy in Singapore, the Banque de France and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

2022: ESSEC Business School, CentraleSupélec and Columbia University unveil a new double degree partnership in Data Sciences and Business Analytics.

2023: ESSEC celebrates the 50th anniversary of its implantation in the Cergy-Pontoise urban area. As part of the Campus 2023 renovation and expansion project, the first new building on the Cergy campus opens: the Sports & Recreation Center.

Source: Michèle Juste, ESSEC, 100 ans d'audace, 2007.