Interview with Hélène Lejeune, CEO of ENACO, France's leading online business school
Having trained more than 25,000 French-speaking students in 88 countries, ENACO is the number one online business school in France, with an average success rate of 82%. The school offers 60 Degree and Diploma courses in Business, Marketing, Management, Finance and Human Resources: professional diplomas, two-year technical degree courses, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses, among others. With 130 employees, the school is based in Roubaix in northern France.
What action have you taken to help deal with the crisis?
We decided to make our digital campus available free-of-charge to secondary schools and higher education establishments. Teachers, pupils and students of these schools and establishments who are interested in using our technological platform can access communication tools for virtual classes, chats, forums and other school content material where needed.
How has your company adapted? What challenges does it face?
Remote teaching is part of our DNA. Remote working, therefore, is something we had already anticipated and naturally had implemented for our teams. We have put in place an emergency activity continuity plan, using our internal digital tools. We remain connected through our corporate social network and hold regular online meetings, particularly with the teachers. To help cope with the confinement measures, we have set up live “relaxation” videos for our students (yoga, kick boxing, relaxation therapy, cookery courses, etc.). Maintaining contact with our community is essential.
From an operational perspective, our procedures are in place and our technology has been tested. We had to increase our server capacity to meet several objectives. First of all, teaching continues as normal for all our students, which is particularly important as we approach the end-of-year exams. We also had to respond to numerous requests from other schools that lacked the necessary equipment but were anxious to continue their activity, and we had to respond to the initiatives launched by the French Ministry of Employment and Pôle Emploi (French Unemployment service).
In this regard, we rapidly developed and launched an online training mechanism accessible to job seekers and those who were made partially unemployed as a result of the crisis. The training environment is evolving also given the prospect of potential career changes, and we have seen a lot of company employees activating their CPF*.
We are learning to work in emergency conditions and more efficiently. We have accelerated our registration procedures to accommodate demand. Within 48 hours, nearly 400 new students were given access to the platform. We usually handle 5,000 registrations a year. I would like to stress the exemplary efforts and dedication by my teams in their work to contain the impact of this increased activity, which particularly touches me.
Your thoughts on the future
There may be a perception that our sector of activity has not been impacted by the crisis given that all our courses are online. But this crisis has shown that future changes in all areas are a possibility: online education is a major national objective, something that everyone can see. More broadly, digital technology offers opportunities for development in many sectors. We must harness this momentum and energy among our teams to define the future of our companies.
How are you being supported by Societe Generale in the current context?
The measures announced are clear, ambitious and accessible. We have not used any of them for now, but we know that if we do need them, we can get them rapidly. We are following the news closely and communicate very regularly on our activity and requirements, as ENACO is keeping up with its development projects for 2020.
What matters to me is the capacity to continue supporting our development. The responsiveness of our banking partner is a decisive factor in our growth today, things move very fast in our online education universe!
As CEOs, we must review our models and reflect with our teams on what we want to see after this crisis. I have discovered a great capacity for resilience and fighting spirit among my colleagues.
Hélène Lejeune, CEO of ENACO
(*) CPF: Compte Personnel de Formation (Personal Training Account in France)