Corps des mines
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The Corps des mines is the foremost of the technical Grand Corps of the French State (grands corps de l'Etat). It is formed of the State Engineers of the Mines. The Corps is attached to the French ministry in charge of economy, industry and employment. Its purpose is to entice the brightest French students in mathematics and physics to serve the government.
People entering the Corps are educated at the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris, also known as Mines ParisTech, with a special curriculum distinct from that of ordinary students. Most of them are from École polytechnique; these are known as X-Mines and are usually among the top 10 students of École polytechnique; others come from École normale supérieure (ENS), Télécom ParisTech (former ENST) or the regular curriculum of the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris. Upon graduation of the elite program, most X-Mines undertake executives positions in government or in the private sector.
Many executive positions in France's industries are held by Corps des Mines engineers. X-Mines typically become CEO of major French companies. Being admitted to the Corps des Mines program is still considered a significant fast-track for executive careers.
Former Corps members
The following are alumni of the school:
- Charles de Freycinet, prime minister of France at the end of the 19th century
- Henri Poincaré, Nineteenth century mathematician and scientist.
- Conrad Schlumberger, founder with his brother Marcel of the Société de Prospection Electrique, that became later Schlumberger Limited
- Jean-Louis Beffa, CEO of Saint-Gobain
- Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO of BNP Paribas
- Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay, Chairman of Rhodia
- Thierry Desmarest, former CEO of Total
- Patrick Pouyanné, current CEO of Total
- Jean-Martin Folz, former CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroën
- Noël Forgeard, former CEO of Airbus and EADS
- Anne Lauvergeon, former CEO of Areva
- Francis Mer, former CEO of Usinor and former Minister of Finances
- Luc Oursel, current CEO of Areva
- Denis Ranque, former CEO of Thales Group
- Jean Syrota, former CEO of Cogema