IMT’s international strategy

IMT’s international strategy, detailed below, has been presented to the European Commission. IMT received the Erasmus+ Charter for the maximum duration (2014-2020 period) for the key actions (KA) 1 and 2 on “mobility of individuals for education and training purposes” and “cooperation for innovation and exchange of good practices,” respectively.

Objective 1, “be recognizable and present on a global level,” of IMT’s 2012-2017 strategic plan is aimed at reinforcing and developing the IMT brand and reputation on an international level. This development objective involves, among other things, relying on structured collaborations with a few key partners on a wide range of issues, including student and professor mobility, sharing educational experience, dual certification and dual degree courses, joint PhD programs and joint research programs and laboratories. The creation of a remote campus, a solution for taking a completely innovative approach in designing a new school model, is being considered. This approach has been designed in response to globalization challenges in the higher education market, growing international student mobility and the regionalization of this mobility, and the needs for training structures in regions across the world where there is a greater expectation for diversified training models.

The Erasmus+ Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) is a preliminary step for IMT in its involvement in various projects of the Erasmus+ program between 2014 and 2020. IMT applied for and obtained the Erasmus+ Charter for the following two key actions:

  • Key action 1: Mobility of individuals for education and training purposes
  • Key action 2: Cooperation for innovation and exchange of good practices

Download the charter signed by Philippe Jamet, President of IMT

Objective 2, “Broaden recruitment pools for international students”, is aimed at recruiting top-level international students, while increasing the diversity of geographical origins and student flows. Integrating foreign students in our training programs is part of our desire and need to offer students a multicultural learning environment, thus preparing them to work as engineers and/or managers in today’s distinctly globalized context. IMT is carrying out different actions with regards the recruitment of international students in the various regions of the world where it operates.

Thus, in view of intra-European mobility, IMT encourages the following: (a) student exchanges (increasing knowledge of Europe and a sense of belonging to Europe) and (b) developing dual degrees (supplementary training) or joint training (strengthening and building partnerships for training and research). In Europe, it is also easier to organize the mobility of administrative staff for exchanging practices, developing new skills and enhancing cultural openness. IMT is largely committed to building strong partnerships in Europe, such as the Franco-German academy on industry of the future with TUM.

Outside Europe, IMT has primarily set up international student recruitment plans for engineering and management programs. A criterion-based assessment identified 9 target countries: India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. Recruiting foreign students from these regions is focused on training the bi-cultural engineers that our companies need for development. Depending on the country, a choice was made between a partnership approach (dual degrees) or a non-partnership approach (recruiting “free-movers”). The partnerships built by IMT were first assessed in terms of existing collaboration with IMT professors, the level and projects of the foreign institutions in question, and other criteria. Organizing coordinated recruitment enables IMT to reach the level of excellence it requires.

In Africa, IMT opted in favor of developing ad-hoc training courses organized around distance learning programs (MOOCs).

The dual-degree and joint training programs developed by IMT, within and outside Europe, are always established through careful examination of the partners’ training programs, and often follows a period of student exchanges aimed at getting to know the partners better. The creation of dual-degrees often involves several visits and exchanges. A dual-degree necessarily requires the signing of an agreement.

As part of its internationalization policy, IMT encourages the development of teaching in English for engineering and management courses, which have traditionally been taught in French. It especially emphasizes the quality of welcome provided to foreigners, and a training course entitled “experiencing intercultural life every day” has been elaborated for the schools’ administrative and technical staff.

Lastly, in the area of internationalization, IMT now almost systematically requires newly-recruited research professors to have had international experience. IMT also aims to increase the number of visiting professors. The development of the Masters of Science taught in English supports this objective and contributes to strengthening and developing research partnerships.

European and international cooperation

The organization and implementation of European and international cooperation projects for teaching and training, in connection with projects implemented under the Erasmus + program

Institut Mines-Télécom has a general management board with a Director of International Relations, whose role consists in defining IMT’s international strategy, ensuring the implementation of this strategy, coordinating and leading international collective initiatives, and developing IMT’s brand internationally. The Director of International Relations is assisted by two staff members. The first works with the Communications Department and handles information on the website, events, leading IMT’s international partnerships, and relations with Campus France. The second is responsible for recruiting international students, relations with IMT representatives abroad and establishing international agreements and partnerships.

The Director of International Relations works directly with the Director of Training (educational innovation, career observatory, training models), the Director of Digital Teaching Methods (MOOCs) and the Research Department (support and advice in developing H2020 projects, research platforms, innovation, corporate relations, start-ups). These collaborations are essential in developing structured projects involving offshore training/research platforms.

IMT uses a variety of resources to develop its international action:

  • Research professors (IMT ensures they are involved in its international action) for their knowledge of the institutions and expertise in the countries (particularly those who have worked or are currently working abroad). Reference contacts are also present in the different countries.
  • Permanent representatives in 5 of the 9 IMT target countries
  • Missions abroad: prospecting, trade fairs, interviews with partners etc.
  • French Embassy, Campus France, the European Commission, different investors including sponsors
  • Foundations.

The operational and administrative management for the mobility of individuals for educational and training purposes (KA1) is handled by the schools’ international relations services (4 to 6 people) and the associated support services (education, admissions, accommodation, studies etc.)

A work group focused on exchange of best practices in the framework of the Erasmus + program has been put in place by an IMT official.

International students hosted by IMT as part of a degree program are recruited according to rigorous procedures which are established internally, and which have been progressively improved over the course of more than 15 years. Completed applications are submitted online through the IMT platforms (centralized, consistent and optimized management of international applications and admissions), there is a pre-selection process by partners for the dual-degree programs through written tests (math, physics, specialized areas), and free-movers attend a motivation interview to assess their personal and professional project. To ensure the quality of those recruited and in order to aim for excellence, coordinated recruitments are handled by teams composed of IMT professors and representatives who travel to the countries that IMT recruits in.

In the framework of KA1, consortiums are established to finance the mobility between IMT, its affiliated schools, subsidiaries or its partners and partner institutions in IMT’s target countries that are not part of (or partners of) the Erasmus program.

IMT’s general management board directs the development and management of more complex projects on an institutional scale. This work includes training and managing consortiums to organize and manage mobility between IMT and its partners in target countries. It is also responsible for defining and creating programs aimed at improving IMT’s capacity for innovation and that of the participants in the projects in question. It also handles the development and management of projects aimed at creating training programs to meet precise sectorial needs. Programs in this category include those related to the “knowledge and sectorial alliances for skills” or the “strengthening skills” focus from the KA2.

The anticipated impact of IMT’s participation in the Erasmus + program

1. Increase qualification levels with the aim of training the graduates and researchers that Europe needs

The Erasmus + program facilitates the integration of foreign students in our training programs and enables us to offer our students a multicultural learning environment, thus preparing them to work as engineers and/or managers in today’s decidedly globalized context. It also trains the bi-cultural engineers our companies need to develop internationally.

The Erasmus+ program helps relieve budgetary constraints related to the compulsory period abroad of at least one semester for IMT students. It provides a reassuring framework for institutions, students and their parents.

The Erasmus + program also helps develop a sense of belonging to Europe. It trains engineers that are open to other cultures and who often represent a “humanist” approach.

IMT also encourages professor mobility. In this area, the Erasmus + program does the following:

  • complements IMT’s internal incentive schemes (trips made by staff are considered as part of their assessment)
  • it enables professors to “test out” international mobility through short trips
  • enables professors to discover other teaching practices and helps IMT progress in its educational methods.

2. Improve the quality and enhance the relevance of higher education

IMT research professors are experts and/or assessors for the Commission du Titre d’Ingénieur (CTI), the French engineering accreditation board. They participate in the work carried out by the CTI with the ENQA and ECA (notably including the European project CeQuInt). The following actions are carried out in order to improve the quality and enhance the relevance of our training:

  • internal think-tanks meet regularly,
  • surveys on the employment context are carried out (career observatory),
  • prospective studies are carried out (for example, the 2030 engineer study),
  • training seminars on educational methods are organized,
  • a 10 million-euro MOOC program has been established.

3. Improving quality through mobility and international cooperation

The Erasmus + program has enabled IMT to exchange with its partners on educational practices and create research collaborations. By facilitating international mobility, the Erasmus + program clearly contributes to cultural openness and a heightened sense of social responsibility (ethics, sustainable development etc.) among participants. These are very important values for IMT.

The Erasmus + program requires rigorous standards in project management, quality of the programs and customer relations. At IMT, the quality of processes has been notably improved through these requirements.

IMT’s general management board has committed to training administrative staff on a corporate level in the area of intercultural awareness. This strategy is part of a policy for improving the welcome provided to international visitors to IMT.

4. Activating the knowledge triangle: establishing the link between higher education, research and companies to promote excellence and regional development

IMT is an EPSCP (Scientific, Cultural and Professional Public Institution) under the aegis of the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Electronic Communications. Its missions include higher education (training engineers, managers and PhD candidates), scientific and technological research, technology transfer and support for innovation and economic development in areas related to industry and services.
For this reason, research at IMT is naturally geared toward industry (€100 million in revenue every year – top in France). IMT’s governing bodies include CAC 40 executives. Over 30% of the staff involved in training are from the business world. Business staff are systematically involved in defining the assessment for our programs, as well as in internships and PhD thesis presentations, and 50% of IMT PhD graduates find employment in the business world.

Throughout their studies, students may benefit from basic programs to raise awareness on innovation, as well as comprehensive courses that involve creating an innovation project or a start-up. IMT encourages entrepreneurship based on the results of its research. It hosts several incubators.

IMT research centers contribute to local companies’ R&D work, particularly SMEs, in the regions where it is located. Students also contribute to the regions’ economic development through their internships (9 to 12 months of their education).

5. Improving governance and financing

Although international members are already involved in a few of IMT’s strategic orientation committees, greater international representation within governing bodies is being considered.