Facts and Influence in French Culture for Grandes écoles

Altogether, the Grandes Écoles awarded approximately 60,000 master's degrees in 2013 compared with 150,000 master's degrees awarded by all French higher institutions in the same year, including universities.

Grandes Écoles graduates of 2013 represent 10% of the French population graduating from high school 5 years before (600,000 in 2008).

Some Grandes Écoles (CentraleSupélec, École centrale de Lyon, ENA, ENS, Ecole Polytechnique, EDHEC, ESSEC, HEC, ESCP Europe, ParisTech schools, Sciences Po) are renowned in France for their selectivity and the complexity of their curriculum. In the press, they are usually called the "A+" schools, referring to the grade given by some rankings. These elite schools represent less than 1% of the higher education students in France.

INSEAD is a Grande École that recruits international students with working experience, and delivers an MBA considered among the best MBA of the world. It was ranked number 1 worldwide in 2016 and 2017 by the Financial Times.

Admission to a certain number of these institutions,(e.g. l'Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature in Bordeaux) but not all of these establishments is reserved only to French citizens, raising questions relating to European mobility and institutional reciprocity.

These top-rated schools, which the French praise for being généralistes, i.e. interdisciplinary, have traditionally produced most of France's high-ranking civil servants, politicians and executives, and many scientists and philosophers: for instance, with 13.5 Nobel prizes awarded per 10,000 students, ENS is by far (twice the ratio of any contender) the top undergraduate institute worldwide.

Since 1975, the Comité d'études sur les formations d'ingénieurs has studied the questions of training and job placement for engineers graduating from the Grandes Écoles.