CEFAM: American Business Schooling at French Prices

(Sponsored Post) Want an American-style business school without the American-sized debt, forcing four generations of your descendants to pay off the balance? Here’s an unorthodox solution: take your American business classes in France. At least, partly.

That’s CEFAM’s specialty—the Centre d’Études Franco-Américain de Management—founded three decades ago in Lyon, the third largest city in France (think Chicago). The pioneers who launched the school realized before anyone else that the future of education was international, so they affiliated themselves with five American universities, allowing students the benefit of a double degree.

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“In their four years, students spend three in Lyon and the last in the United States. They receive the same diploma as students who spend all four years at the American university,” explains Karine Chaux-Petelet, CEFAM’s director.

More than just a school with an international curriculum, CEFAM is a “localized American school in France” that is truly a part of the city around it. Every course is taught in English by a native speaker and carefully follows the guidelines of U.S. business schools.

Students From All Over The World

The main advantage is, of course, the financial one: with only the fourth year spent in the United States, that’s the only year students pay American rates ($30-40,000); the first three years in France come in at far more European prices (around €7,000, depending on the program selected). This artful solution has attracted students from all across the globe—39 different nationalities attend CEFAM, including Americans.

“When I explain to students—and their parents—at French high schools in the U.S. that they can attend an American business school while spending three years in France—while also paying French tuition—they can’t believe it!” notes Chaux Petelet.

After their three years in the heart of Lyon (including a nine-month internship either in France or abroad), students matriculate to one of CEFAM’s five partner schools: Northeastern University in Boston, Temple University in Philadelphia, Pace University in New York City, Siena College in Albany, and Rider University in New Jersey.

The choice of school for a student’s fourth year depends on the major they chose during the first three years. “There is no quota for each of the schools,” Chaux Petelet emphasizes. “There’s a minimum TOEFL score and an average GPA of 2.5.” Some students even earn scholarships that further drop the cost of their fourth year tuition. “This year, a student with a 3.8 GPA left for Rider with a $21,000 scholarship.”

Besides the BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration), the school also offers a two-year MBA program in Consulting, part of a collaboration with Rider University and Sogeta (Cap Gemini Group)—all graduates are offered a job with Sogeta after their program is completed.

CEFAM is the only French school to benefit from this type of agreement with U.S. institutions. “We enjoy being pioneers: more and more universities are going to undertake this sort of close partnership,” explains Karine Chaux-Petelet. That’s good fortune for the seventy students CEFAM selects every year!

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