In 1870, the Académie de Lausanne (which would become the University of Lausanne 20 years later) began to offer economic science. The program was taught by Léon Walras, a pioneer of the first economic equilibrium theories and the Chair of Political Economics, at that time attached to the Faculty of Law. It was his disciple, Vilfredo Pareto, who succeeded him in 1893.
It is thanks to the great esteem accorded to Pareto from his colleagues and the political authorities that the School of Business was launched in 1911. There was an intake of 12 students for the first academic year.
These two brilliant economists, Walras and Pareto, will forever mark the School’s history. Founder of the «École de Lausanne», Léon Walras was the first to introduce the use of mathematics in economics. While the «École de Lausanne» disappeared as such in the 1920s, it enabled Walras and subsequently his successor, Pareto, to create the foundations of the way economics is taught today at HEC Lausanne.
In 1977, HEC Lausanne moved out of the city of Lausanne to take up residence at Dorigny as part of the progressive transfer of all UNIL faculties to the lakeside campus, just west of the city. The new law of the University of Lausanne was adopted and partially implemented in 1978; HEC Lausanne became a full-fledged faculty of the University of Lausanne.