UGEI was created in 1993, with the legal status of a French association (a not-for-profit organization), to bring together leading engineering and business schools that share a wish to preserve their independence.


Since then, 35 grandes écoles (French higher education institutions in engineering, business and design, access to which is highly selective) have joined the association.


These schools, whose work complements that of public higher education institutions, reflect both the long tradition of private higher education in France and its constant adaptation to companies’ changing needs.


19th century: 1840 saw the creation ITECH, the direct descendant of the École de Tissage (Weaving School); 1871 marked the foundation of the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce du Havre (Le Havre Business School) by the Chamber of Commerce, now known as EM NORMANDIE, followed in 1891 by ESTP, whose roots go back to a distance learning course “l'École chez soi” (Home School). In 1897, the Sup de co Montpellier Group (Montpellier Business School was founded by the local chamber of commerce to train executives who were to contribute to the region’s development.


Beginning of the 20th century : EEIP (Ecole d'Electricité Industrielle de Paris – Industrial Electricity School of Paris) was created in 1901 and became ESIGELEC in 1980, supported by the Rouen chamber of commerce and the alumni association. EIGSI is the direct descendant of the Ecole d'Electricité et de Mécanique Industrielle (Electricity and Industrial Mechanics School) created in 1902, ESME Sudria dates from 1905, ECE from 1919, when the “wireless” appeared. ESTACA was founded in 1925 as was EPF, the Ecole Supérieure du Bois (Higher Institute of Wood) in 1934, and EFREI in 1936. EDC was founded in 1950.


In the latter half of the 20th century: 1958 saw the birth of ESIEA and also of EI CESI, which was created by five major French companies. Business schools were set up: ISC Paris in 1963, IPAG at the instigation of the French council for social and economic sciences, EBS and ISG in 1967. ESCE was created in 1968, ESG (now PSB Paris School of Business) in 1974, INSEEC in 1977, ICD in 1980. EPITA was created in 1984, to meet the needs arising from the development of new technologies. In 1987, 3iL is founded by the Limoges & Haute-Vienne Chamber of commerce. ESC La Rochelle (now La Rochelle Business School, Excelia Group) was founded in 1988 and the ESC TROYES group (now South Champagne Business School, Yschools) in 1990.


Most recently: The 3 ESITC schools in Paris (ex-Cachan), Metz and Caen were set up in 1990 and 1993 at the instigation of ESTP, EBI was created in 1992, ESILV and EMLV were founded in 1995 on the initiative of the Hauts de Seine regional authority. Strate Ecole de Design, created in 2004 is the first school of design to join UGEI.


The links that these schools maintain with companies and research labs and the diversity in the background of their academic staff provide them with a national, often international, platform. Companies are represented on their boards, ensuring the schools are market driven, proactive and truly embedded in the local business environment.


There are projects being developed with companies in every school, involving students and teaching staff.


They form the basis of the students’ learning experience, encourage technology transfer, often to SMEs, and contribute to the development of research in schools.