Competition is fierce among companies to attract AI data and talent. But to succeed in their transformation, organizations also need business profiles with a strong appetite for data. Schools are positioning themselves to train these skills.
“We cannot be in a world where data is omnipresent, without training, without explaining, without ensuring that the final consumer, that is the employee in the company, fully understands the problems. This is an important topic, “Yves Tyrode said earlier this year.
The CEO of BPCE Innovation, Data, Digital thus underlined the need to democratize and acculturate. Data and artificial intelligence cannot be confined to the circle of experts. To progress, companies must also rely on business professionals with advanced skills in these areas.
A mix of business, math and data for the Albert School
Albert School, a brand new school, bases its raison d’etre on this observation. It will host its first promotion in September. It will be composed of about sixty students who will train at the Bac + 3 and Bac + 5 levels. The Paris campus must subsequently host 160 students per class.
Depending on the demand from students and employers, the Albert School plans to open more campuses, its founder, Grégoire Genest, told Alliancy. The differentiating factor of this new school is therefore to train future employees with double data and business capabilities.
Future graduates are students “with an appetite for technology and math, but who also show an interest in the business world.” In the Albert School program, 30% of mathematics, 30% of data (via coded training in particular), 30% of business courses (marketing, finance, economics, etc.) and finally 10% dedicated to the specificities of the various sectors.
To develop this immersion and understanding of the business problems of companies, students will take part in “insights” throughout the year, eight in total. These three-week cycles associate a partner company, Carrefour, with the first deep dive of the 2022-2023 class.
The topics covered, by groups, during these sessions will be many. “They are mixed arguments”, insists Grégoire Genest. “They will discuss with Carrefour his vision of marketing, data, logistics, finance, product … At the end of the deep dive, the students will come out with a 360 ° view of the organization and its methods of creating value”, he continues. .
Long and professionalizing cycles for Epita
The challenge is also to create an appetite for the partner company and enable it to hire its future employees. “The best way to develop the skills that employers are looking for is to place them in the context of the company. This is why the goal is to reproduce a professional environment in the school ”, describes the founder of the Albert School.
It should be noted that the structure intends, from next year, also to offer a professional training offer, in addition to its own initial training courses. This ambition responds more particularly to the needs of SMEs and ETIs whose resources make it more difficult to create their own training programs.
For engineering schools, does this new training offer shuffle the cards and challenge their pedagogical model? This is not the feeling of Philippe Dewost, general manager of Epita, and also the author of a book called “From living memory, a story of digital adventure”.
“Since its creation, Epita has always tried to train professionals who were immediately operational in the business”, he emphasizes. From the first year, at Bac + 3, therefore, students are confronted with practical cases, in addition to theoretical courses. Furthermore, this year ends with an internship in the company.
“Our common core is much more intense than preparation,” says Philippe Dewost. This density therefore aims to prepare engineers for practice as soon as they enter the professional world, in particular by teaching them to collaborate and understand “the business challenges of organizations”.
Epita therefore claims to train technical experts, but also equipped with business understanding and the necessary transversal skills. “Management and business are inseparable from what we teach our students”. And these skills can still be “pushed” during specialization through majors, such as those dedicated to innovation or entrepreneurship.
The time of business and digital silos is over
Training in engineering, whose diploma is recognized at European level, does not necessarily clash with those offered by institutes such as the Albert School, which opened after the BAC. In terms of artificial intelligence, however, Epita is preparing to welcome the next graduates. In September you will start the first promotion of the AI Institute.
The new school will train students for three years (25 to 30 students for the class of 2022). It aims to provide a solid and advanced foundation on AI and data, the technique and business components of these technologies. The course will address, for example, the legal framework of AI or the topic of ethics. With a degree in hand, graduates can then choose to take more technical or business-oriented courses with ISG or Epita.
Rather engineers or executives, the training “meets the very strong expectations of young students”, but also of employers. “We are convinced that in order to form sufficiently complete and operational profiles for the companies that will hire them, this path in three years plus three years is essential”, believes Philippe Dewost.
The director of Epita and his counterpart from the Albert School, on the other hand, agree on the necessary hybridization of data and business skills. “I am perfectly in tune with the Albert School’s founders’ analysis of necessity – and this is nothing new, after all. The time of compartmentalization is over and all disciplines are interconnected ”, he concludes.