Business / data hybridization | alliance

Competition is fierce among companies to attract data and AI talent. But to succeed in transformation, organizations also need business profiles with a strong appetite for data. Schools position themselves to train these skills.

“We cannot be in a world where data is omnipresent, without training, without clarification, without guaranteeing that the end consumer, that the corporate collaborator, fully understands the issues. This is a major issue,” Yves Tyrod stated at the beginning of the year.

The General Director of Innovation, Data and Digital at BPCE thus emphasized the need for democratization and acculturation. Data and AI cannot be confined to expert circles. To advance, companies also need to rely on business professionals with advanced skills in these areas.

Combination of Business, Math and Data for Albert School

Albert School, a brand new school, whose raison d’être is based on this observation. In September, it will welcome its first promo. It will consist of about sixty students who will be trained at Bac + 3 and Bac + 5 levels. The Paris campus must then accommodate 160 students per class.

At the request of students and employers, the Albert School is planning to open another campus, its founder, Grégoire Genest, told Alliancy. Thus the distinguishing factor of this new school is the training of future employees with dual data and business skills.

Future graduates are students who “have an appetite for technology and mathematics, but who also demonstrate an interest in the business world.” In the Albert School program, 30% mathematics, 30% data (by code training in particular), 30% business courses (marketing, finance, economics, etc.) and finally 10% dedicated to the specifics of different sectors.

To develop this immersion and this understanding of the companies’ business issues, students will participate in a “deep dive” during the year, eight in total. These three-week courses are associated with Carrefour, a partner company, on the first deep dive for the 2022-2023 class.

The topics covered, by groups, during these sessions will be multiple. “It’s intersecting themes,” insists Gregoire Genest. He continues, “They will discuss with Carrefour its marketing, data, logistics, finances, product vision… At the end of the deep dive, students will come away with a 360-degree view of the organization and its ways of creating value.”

Epita . Professional Long Courses

The challenge is also to create the appetite for the partner company and enable it to hire its future employees. “The best way to develop the skills that employers seek is to place them in the context of the company. For this, the goal is to reproduce a professional environment in the school,” describes the founder of the Albert School.

It should be noted that, as of next year, the Foundation intends to offer a professional training offer in addition to its initial training courses. This ambition particularly responds to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses and vocational training institutions whose resources make it difficult to create their own training programmes.

For engineering colleges, does this new training introduce a reshuffle of cards and challenge their pedagogical model? That’s not how Philip Deuste, managing director of Epita, and author of From Living Memory, A History of Digital Adventure, feels.

“Since its inception, Epita has always endeavored to train professionals who work immediately in business,” he asserts. From the first year, in Bac + 3, students deal with practical cases, as well as theoretical courses. In addition, this year ends with an internship in one of the companies.

“Our common core is much more intense than preparation,” says Philip Deust. Therefore this intensity aims to prepare engineers for practice once they enter the professional world, in particular by teaching them to collaborate and understand “business challenges facing organizations”.

Thus Epita claims to train technical experts, but is also equipped with the necessary business understanding and soft skills. “Management and business are inseparable from what we teach our students.” These skills can still be “pushed” as you specialize across disciplines, such as those dedicated to innovation or entrepreneurship.

Time for work and digital silos is over

Engineering training, with a diploma recognized at the European level, does not necessarily conflict with that offered by institutions such as the Albert School, which opened after the baccalaureate. In terms of artificial intelligence, Epita is nonetheless preparing to welcome upcoming bac graduates. In September, the first promotion of the IA Institute will begin.

The new school will train students for a period of three years (25 to 30 students for the class of 2022). It aims to provide a solid and advanced foundation on artificial intelligence and data, technology as well as the business components of these technologies. The course will address, for example, the legal framework for artificial intelligence or the topic of ethics. With a bachelor’s degree in hand, graduates can then choose to pursue further technical or business-oriented courses with ISG or Epita.

Instead of engineers or managers, training “meets the very strong expectations of young students”, but also of employers. “We are convinced that to form sufficient complete and operational profiles for the companies that will hire them, this course in three years plus three years is necessary,” says Philippe Deuste.

Director Epita and a peer from the Albert School agree, however, on the necessary hybridization of data and business skills. “I fully agree with the analysis of the founders of the Albert School on the need – this is not new, moreover. He concluded that the time for division is over and all disciplines are interconnected.”

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