Innovations That Inspire

Teaching Factory

Recognition Year(s): 2017
School: EDHEC Business School, Lille and Nice
Location: France

Innovation Statement

EDHEC co-developed multidisciplinary learning modules with corporate partners and professors through the Teaching Factory, where approximately 2,000 students learn by doing as they work with corporate managers to solve real-life negotiation, innovation, and digital cases.

Call to Action

EDHEC aims to instill a learning-by-doing approach across its portfolio. Students are placed in situations that enable them to acquire skills, techniques, and behaviors through experiences transferred to them by practicing managers. The Teaching Factory uses an innovative approach based on distinct real-life or forward-looking case studies. Its modules are multidisciplinary (marketing, finance, consulting, etc.) and may involve company-wide issues such as negotiation, innovation, or digital matters.

The Teaching Factory satisfies the objectives of two stakeholder groups, namely students and recruiters:

  • For students, it ensures that they become proactively engaged in their own training. Their enhanced motivation comes from learning in an entertaining way, through challenges and competitions addressing real problems that businesses ask them to solve. And last, being team-based, these diverse learning modules are highly interactive and require students to work not only together but also with managers and professors.

  • For corporate partners—future recruiters of the school’s students—the Teaching Factory’s learning modules offer an exceptional opportunity to forge closer ties with their student target audience. They develop their employer brands and, by watching students at work, have a privileged vantage point from which to recruit. Finally, they gain insight from the views and recommendations of new-generation multicultural student cohorts regarding the business questions they are asked to answer.

Innovation Description

The Teaching Factory embraces some 2,000 students and approximately 10 different themed modules (negotiation, innovation, digital, marketing, strategy and consultancy, finance, human resources, global business, and more), all but two of which are in English.

digital skills certificate.®A module targets an audience of 50 to 700 students, requiring them to work on real-life business problems over periods lasting from two days to several months, through a series of regular workshops with managers and supervising faculty, plus a few additional plenary sessions. The business topic may be chosen by students or be assigned as a means of broadening and enriching their perspectives. Four-to-five person teams deliver recommendations (and sometimes prototypes) evaluated by juries of business managers. And in the case of the Explora Digital Certificate, students are awarded an EDHEC DiGiTT

The Teaching Factory’s corporate partners include many international businesses that are both important recruiters eager to attract EDHEC students and are looking to build a long-term presence inside the school. Conversant with its objectives, partners recognize the Teaching Factory as one of EDHEC’s main differentiating features to which they are committed.

Three modules are particularly emblematic of what the Teaching Factory aims to achieve:

  • EDHEC Open Innovation

  • The NéGO! Challenge

  • The Explora Digital Certificate


The Teaching Factory’s approach was initiated in 2008. It has been crucial in promoting the institution’s “EDHEC for Business” strategy and in endowing the school with a distinctive identity for co-creating training, in conjunction with corporate partners, professors, and students, and in facilitating learning-by-doing. It favors cross-school cooperation, driving continuous innovation in response to the ever-changing expectations of student and corporate stakeholders.

Satisfaction KPIs:           

For businesses: satisfaction scores range from 8.8 of 10 to 9.5 of 10, and loyalty exceeds 80 percent.

Corporate partners believe the best way to get close to students is to work with them in class. EDHEC’s Teaching Factory is the only place in France to guarantee this objective to any company wishing to take up the challenge. In return, they find improved brand standing among students, more applications for their vacancies, and better selectivity in placements. The solutions produced by these new-generation multicultural students also have real business impact, as Orange, Mondelez, or Nestlé, for instance, can confirm.           

For students: satisfaction scores range from 7.7 of 10 to 8.5 of 10.

Students’ learning is inspired and refreshed by concentrating on practical, entertaining, and can-do tasks. This approach immerses students in business life by placing them at the heart of action and strategy. It develops their agility and gives them direct access to managers who furnish advice and urge them to stretch their limits. It provides 20 percent of them with internships and/or jobs. And for proof of further impact, the Teaching Factory plans to create a new corporate social responsibility (CSR) module with two new major international corporate partners in 2017.

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