HEC Lausanne introduces French-English bilingualism as a free choice in its Bachelor programs

The HEC Faculty of the University of Lausanne will offer, as of the beginning of the 2023 academic year, French-English bilingualism for its Bachelor’s degree programs in economics and management, subject to the adoption of the detailed study plan by the UNIL Direction. Students will be offered complete flexibility to follow courses in French, English and even change languages from one course to another. Interview with Marianne Schmid Mast, Dean of HEC Lausanne, on this new and innovative feature.

HEC Lausanne is introducing a major innovation in its Bachelor’s program. Can you tell us more about it?

Starting in September 2023, our Bachelor’s students in economics and management will have the choice of taking courses in French, English or a mix of the two languages. Course materials and exams will also be offered in two languages, with the student being able to choose to take the exam either in French or in English.

In addition to bilingualism, HEC Lausanne is breaking new ground by offering total flexibility to students to alternate one language with the other for the same course, how is this possible?

Other Swiss universities already offer bilingual courses in economics and management at the Bachelor’s level, but, to our knowledge, none of them offers this much flexibility during the program. At any given time, students have access to the same course in English and French and can alternate the language of each course. All courses and course materials are therefore duplicated.

What are the advantages of taking a bilingual French-English Bachelor’s degree?

We hope to encourage students to enrich their language skills while offering new opportunities for Swiss Germans to come and learn in French-speaking Switzerland. At the end of the Bachelor’s program, our students’ level of English will be higher, which will be more attractive on the job market or an advantage for the Master’s program, where courses are given mainly in English.

How can we reassure a student who is interested in the bilingual program but who has concerns about his or her level of French or English?

We offer a course called “English for Managers and Economists” adapted to the level of English of each French-speaking student in the first year of the Bachelor’s program. For English-speaking students, the equivalent of this course is also offered in French. These are language courses in small groups, targeted and built specifically for HEC Lausanne students in order to give them a good foundation in business vocabulary and to make them feel at ease in the language of their choice.