Broadening our horizons to enhance the content of our programmes

Through its strategy of cooperation rather than conquest, Audencia has always managed to stay ahead of the curve. After China and South America, in 2019, the School set its sights on Africa. Is there a running theme? A globalised perspective, namely on the world’s agro-food ecosystem.

Desi Schmitt

Director of International Relations


The proportion of international students at Audencia, coming from more than 90 countries.

What have been your department’s main achievements in 2019?

Internationally, 2019 saw the beginning of a new dynamic, with the implementation of our Africa-focused strategy. We already have a presence in Africa, but in the past year, we have been engaging in new collaborations with both French- and English-speaking countries. As a result, we have signed off on a double degree programme with Ghana, partnering the Accra-based School of Agriculture with our MSc in Food and Agribusiness Management. Furthermore, we have also signed a CIGA (Cooperative Institute for Global Agrobusiness) agreement with Ecuador, Brazil, Kenya and Ghana. And last but not least, we have entered into an exchange partnership with Senegal.

What is the outlook for 2020?

We must take advantage of this coming year to continue our development and extend our influence beyond China by drawing on our wealth of expertise, as well as that of our regions and partners. This CIGA Agreement is of particular interest to us because it is linked to one of the strategic focus areas for our region, i.e. Agrobusiness. Therefore, we can bring a lot to the table for our partners, while conversely, they too can enrich our thinking through their areas of expertise. Ecuador is known to be a major player on the world stage in fair trade and aquaculture. Brazil is an authority on mass production for the energy sector. It is essential that Audencia, backed by all of France’s expertise in terms of cooperatives, contributes to the sharing of knowledge, to the benefit of our programmes and our stakeholders.

In your view, 120 years is synonymous with…

For me, 120 years represents the epitome of established expertise. This historical foundation constitutes a quality label for our international image, symbolising the excellence of our programmes. However, this does not mean that we can rest on our laurels; we must continue innovating and moving forward. In the past, we have managed to stand out through our ability to be open to the international world, allowing us to offer greater diversity and quality within our programmes. This is a significant asset for attracting the best French and international students. The marking of the 120-year anniversary must help to drive us forward, to be increasingly flexible and adaptable to improve the education of our students and future graduates.

— Desi Schmitt