With the International Economic Forum of the Americas Conference of Montréal in full swing, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal today announced the signing of a new partnership agreement under which the institutions will, among other things, create a double bachelor of business administration (B.B.A.) and bachelor of engineering (B.Eng.) degree.
This novel partnership between two institutions of higher learning is a first in Québec and indeed in all of Canada. The program, which will welcome its first students in 2021, presents a historic opportunity for progress in the Québec university system.
The Polytechnique Montréal–HEC Montréal agreement is an extension of a collaborative structure established several decades ago by the two institutions. It aims at implementation of audacious new projects with promise in the areas of education, research, recruiting, and alumni relations.
Multidisciplinary engineers to tackle new global challenges
The global challenges in the fields of energy, the environment and health demand interdisciplinary solutions. Philippe A. Tanguy, President of Polytechnique Montréal, firmly believes that the engineers who will most successfully deliver those solutions will be innovators—men and women who not only bring new ideas to the table, but are able to implement them in the collaborative, interdisciplinary and multicultural context that will characterize the project teams of tomorrow. “In this new era, high-level scientific and technical knowledge will still be required, but engineers will also need stronger management, entrepreneurial and communications skills,” he explains.
Federico Pasin, Director of HEC Montréal and a Polytechnique graduate, shares that opinion. “For a number of years now, we’ve been seeing more and more engineers come here to further their education via our programs, for example our MBA program,” he says. “This echoes a trend also seen in Europe and the United States. At the same time, through this agreement with Polytechnique, students at HEC Montréal will be able to add solid technology skills to their courses of study. Those abilities represent a clear asset in today’s context, in which society needs people with the skills to address multifaceted challenges: human, managerial, scientific and technological.”
The five-year program will lead to the simultaneous awarding of a bachelor of engineering and bachelor of business administration degree. The two institutions are currently working to define the detailed attributes of the double degree.
Amplification of natural, by now well-established collaboration
For five years now, Polytechnique and HEC Montréal have offered the popular Technology Innovation and Commercialization (known by its French abbreviation ITC) microprogram for students who already have an MBA or are enrolled in the HEC Montréal MBA program. Candidates in the program, who attend classes at Polytechnique, gain skills in innovation, management and technology commercialization. The number of HEC MBA students registering each year for ITC is 10 times what it was when the program began in 2014.
The two institutions have also been collaborating on research for a number of years. For example, a circular-economy project initiated in June 2018 by several professors at HEC Montréal and Polytechnique, under the leadership of the Institut EDDEC, is currently exploring the potential for reducing industrial greenhouse-gas emissions as part of implementation of circular economy strategies, for example industrial ecology. The new agreement aims specifically at intensifying co-operation between the two institutions on circular-economy initiatives and boosting collaborations in management, economics and technology.
Polytechnique and HEC Montréal are already working together to recruit top students in Canada as well as internationally. Shared initiatives in North African countries this past winter, for instance, have generated excellent results. Under the new agreement, that promising collaboration will be intensified.
A further shared goal is to strengthen mechanisms for co-operation on student projects. Currently, several Polytechnique and HEC students are leveraging their complementary skills in the field through internships in such areas as aerospace, banking, and humanitarian development, in collaboration with Mitacs.
The new agreement also promises improved linkages between the entrepreneurial streams at the two schools. Lastly, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal intend to benefit from the leveraging effect of combining their alumni networks to facilitate mentoring of students at both institutions.
This communication was first published by Polytechnique Montréal.