Graduation hats soar above laughter and tears on the Salle des Princess’ stage. 286 graduates, representing more than 75 nationalities, in front of a room filled with 1,300 relatives. The academic year at the International University of Monaco concluded in a beautiful ceremony, marked by a proud pedagogical team and its director, Jean-Philippe Muller. The latter, appointed head of the Inseec Group, established in 2013, does not waver from his objectives: increasing the recognition and visibility of the IUM (International University of Monaco), as well as its students and faculty while protecting its “sanctuary”. That of a school where elders are involved, mentors accompany the majority of students who move together, beyond their classes, often opting to live in large flat-shares. A school of learning inseparable from values. “Peace, secularism, tolerance. Everyone here signs an ethical charter,” says Jean Philippe Muller. “We were the first to sign a partnership with MonacoTech (new incubator of Monegasque start-ups). In April 2018, our large Luxury Symposium will be renewed and this summer there will be another hundred participants in our Summer Program…” he notes, without ever forgetting the figures indicating the rise of the IUM. “In 31 years, 2,782 students have graduated from between 30 to 280 graduates per year, and it is considered that in the next ten years we will graduate as much as we have since the creation of the school (…) Home improvement remains humble because it is a small university, which is not necessarily a bad thing for students from elsewhere.”
In 2016, you announced that certain projects were under way during the ’30 years of the IUM’ where are you at currently?
This year has been a year of realization of quite a number of projects, especially for highly specialized programs related to the Principality and its sectors of activity. A Bachelor in ‘Monaco banking & financial services’ was launched in September. ‘Yachting management’ was also created. It does not exist elsewhere and, given the notoriety of yachting in Monaco and the growth of the activity in Asia, one thinks that this could be a training centre recognized for professionals of a Master level. Finally we have the chance to have a corporate MBA (Master of Business Administration), a field in which we were entrusted to train 17 senior executive engineers.
For what recognition?
Much progress has been made. We had the renewal of the international accreditation AMBA for the MBA and we passed an important stage for the biggest accreditations in the world concerning schools of management, the AACSB. We passed the first stages successfully, we had been working on them for three years and they have just given us permission to enter the last round which should bring us, within two years, to accreditation. And once there, we will change categories.
The IUM is made up of more than 75 nationalities. Has its recognition been extended to new countries?
Apart from the Italians and the French, the Russians continue to be an attracted nationality. This year, we were happy to see them come back in greater numbers, especially in Luxury. We are also working on Asia. Much has been invested, notably by participating in the Yacht Show with the Tourism Directorate. Moreover, a partnership is being set up with specialists in continuing education in Korea and China. And above all, a process – thanks to the ambassador of Monaco in China, Catherine Fautrier, was initiated for a procedure to recognize Monegasque diplomas in China. A Chinese delegation came to the school and we are waiting. The Chinese are still under-represented, but there is a desire to bring China and Monaco closer together. We can help by bringing in young people.
What about Monegasque students?
We worked on having more of them, also from children of residents. These are two important issues.
Thanks to greater access?
Yes, by tuition fees being reduced substantially. Today we have ten Monegasque students (4th most represented nationality). It was zero four years ago and there are also 44 children from residents.
Is the professor faculty evolved in parallel with these new accreditations?
Our plan was to increase the size of our faculty by 30% between the beginning of 2015 and the end of 2019. We continue to rely on the Principality and its area to have the right balance between academics and business experts.
Do you have a privileged relationship with the high school?
We work with National Education. We have, for example, many students who do not leave France and are forced to do an initiation. There is also a compulsory one-semester course in ‘Culture, History and Monegasque Institutions.’ The Secondary Language Policy has also been extended, as a third language can now be pursued or started at the IUM.
Are you not too cramped today at Fontvieille?
We can’t complain, space is always complicated in Monaco. But it is true that projects and discussions are advancing to perhaps grow. It is not just a matter of space but also of having more modern equipment. We have 1,800 square meters of space and would be happy to increase that by 30%. We are lucky to have the support and goodwill of the government, which considers higher education an important issue in Monaco. Maybe at the next graduation ceremony I’ll be able to announce some official things.