French business school HEC Paris to develop big data MBA

One of France’s elite schools, HEC, has established what it claims to be the first MBA in Europe to focus on the development of big data skills, in alliance with IBM

A French higher education establishment, HEC, has established what it claims to be the first MBA in Europe to focus on the development of big data skills, in alliance with IBM.

The curriculum aims, say HEC and IBM, to develop leaders who can identify new growth opportunities within daily information gathered from sensors, RFID networks, mobile devices and social media.

Bernard Garette, Associate Dean for the HEC Paris MBA Programme, said: “The development of analytical skills for business and management students has become a necessity. The new programme deals with mixing the general MBA’s business training to more in-depth analytics and data interpretation skills to improve decision making and the ability to innovate.”

The IT supplier will provide HEC Paris with access to its big data and analytics software and IBM engineers and data scientists will hold guest lectures on campus.

The course will teach such skills as understanding and predicting buying trends, gathering and analysing competitor information, and analysing consumer sentiment towards brands.

Pacheco de Almeida, co-ordinator of the MBA Strategy Specialisation at the HEC, plans to add a series of courses as the programme develops, including social media analytical tools, data visualisation, strategy simulation modelling and decision models, and data mining.

The programme brings HEC Paris into the "IBM Academic Initiative", a programme providing educators with the training materials, curriculum guides, software and hardware needed to teach in-demand business technology skills. IBM has created more than 1,000 academic partnerships focused on big data analytics.

Oxford University’s Said Business School, which has also co-operated with IBM on the research topic of big data, has introduced a data module into its MBA. The School’s dean Peter Tufano made data studies a priority on his appointment in July 2011.

And Imperial College, London, has teamed up with China-based telecoms supplier Huawei to develop a new R&D centre, trained on big data, based in White City, in London.

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