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Bachelor in Lyon: interview with Jean-Christophe Cattane

Meet Burgundy School of Business' new Lyon campus Director


Jean-Christophe Cattane


Jean-Christophe Cattane, you are the head of Burgundy School of Business' Lyon Bachelor programme. What can you share about the decision to launch the degree in the capital of the Gaules and your position of director?

I have been working in the world of Grandes Ecoles for the past 15 years. I was Director of different Bachelor programmes at Saint-Etienne School of Management for several years, including an international bachelor. After this experience, I felt that the challenge of launching a Bachelor programme in Lyon was a formidable idea and an excellent opportunity for me as I'm from Lyon and know the higher education market here well.

Lyon is the second largest student city in France with over 120,000 students and it has a very European and international feel to it. We realised that there was a true demand in the Rhône-Alpes area for 3 year post-secondary school degree programmes, and certainly high-level programmes.

Setting up Burgundy School of Business' Bachelor Marketing & Business was therefore very logical, especially as it meets the needs of companies here. We are the first (thus the only) Bachelor programme in Lyon from one of the elite Conférence des Grandes Écoles, which is an undeniable asset.

The Bachelor Marketing & Business has been on offer in Dijon since 1994 and has proven itself time and again. Today, there are 105 students, compared to 40 in 2007, 20% of whom are international and this percent is increasing each year. In fact, the courses have become very internationally focused over the past years which is also why the programme in Lyon is entirely taught in English and offers the possibility to receive an international double degree from one of our partner universities abroad.

We want to capitalise on our know-how, which Aleth Montuelle, Director of the Bachelor in Dijon, has worked on tirelessly to enhance and adapt to today's market. I work hand in hand with Aleth, combining our knowledge, to develop the Bachelor in Lyon.


Why is this degree developing so successfully, and what are its strong points?

One of the main reasons for its success is that some companies have stopped recruiting Master students who aren't always operational. Bachelor students have the profiles they're looking for because they have solid foreign language skills, work placement experience and know how to adapt to different environments. What's more, their starting salaries are not as high.

Paradoxically, their salaries increase more quickly than those of graduates from Master degree programmes. Of course, you can't generalise, but the current economic climate means that companies are looking even more closely at the added value of a degree and the return on investment…in the short term. Certain SMEs think carefully before recruiting Master degree holders because Bachelor graduates are often just as capable, even if companies tend to mix these two profiles more these days.

The Bachelor degree has many other strong points, notably its European recognised format, its logical place within a Grande École of Management, with several work placement and study abroad opportunities, and its high level faculty from Burgundy School of Business. The mix is also interesting for students; studying with a high-level researcher-lecturer who teaches marketing or accountancy, and an internationally known solicitor who teaches law. Only the best academic level!

But I would say that the genuine asset of this broad-based degree is that is offers several options afterwards. It prepares students to take national competitive exams to continue their studies as well as to enter the labour market. There are job openings in small and big companies alike in all sectors: volume retailing, banking, insurance in all of its commercial functions, as well as accountancy, auditing, finance and HR.


Who is the Bacholor for and how does one apply?

The degree is open to all secondary school diploma holders (in compliance with competitive entrance exam regulations), and particularly to students from European sections with a good level in English, or to students who want English to be at the heart of their studies. Over the three years, students build their educational background through combining courses taught 100% in English (marketing, accountancy, law, economy, management, etc.), a professional project, studying abroad, double degrees, and work placements.

We are looking for motivated students who will have the necessary skills to become future managers.

They also need to be internationally inclined. Our Bachelor offers up to three foreign languages; Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic among others can be studies as a third language.

Admission into the first year of the Bachelor programme is based on the Atout+3 competitive entrance exam, which brings together eight elite French Grande École of Management establishments including Audencia and Grenoble Graduate School of Business. Atout +3 has joined the French national website, Admission Post-Bac (APB), for 2013-14 for all post-secondary school degree offers. The website is a comprehensive source of valuable information for close to 750,000 first year students.

There are two phases of the competitive exam: first the written exam, which comprised of synthesis, logic, general knowledge, English and second foreign language tests. The oral tests follow with an individual interview in French and a test in English. I personally feel that all students have a chance but their motivation and personality are at the heart of these interviews which allow them to show what they will be capable of once they graduate.


Two months after the opening of the programme, can you give a first assessment?

Even if it's a bit early, I can safely say that this first class has welcomed both the new programme and the new campus enthusiastically! The class of 2016 studies in a very business-like environment in the heart of the Part-Dieu district and benefits from its numerous advantages, (easy access, eateries, shopping mall, library, all just a 2 minute walk away). Our students have already signed up for the upcoming school fairs in Lyon this coming 9th and 16th November to share their enthusiasm and knowledge of the programme!