Ghislain Deslandes | European Management Journal
Europe’s first historian of political thought, author of the preface to The Wealth of Nations, and also the first figure to acquire a business school in his lifetime and become its dean, Adolphe Blanqui (1798-1854) has nevertheless become a somewhat neglected figure. As we approach the bicentenary of the school he presided – the oldest of the great 19th century management training institutes, which still exists today – in this essay I propose to place his life and work in context before exploring the principal thrust of his educational philosophy and his lasting heritage. Blanqui was a great European, devoted to certain principles in the education of future entrepreneurs and ‘traders’: combatting ugliness, learning how to deal with difference, and leading by example while also keeping pace with technical evolutions. I conclude by insisting on the importance, then and now, of situating management training within the context of geopolitical, aesthetic and ethical factors.