"FUTURE OF BUILDINGS" : EDHEC STUDENTS AND BUSINESSES COMBINE TO RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGES OF MORE SUSTAINABLE BUILDING

Written on 16 December 2021.


Some 350 EDHEC Master in Management students put their minds to tackling the issue of transformations in the building industry as part of the “Future of Buildings” project developed in collaboration with major players in the industry. Their work, presented at a special event [1] on the Lille campus, is a further example of the School’s “learning by doing” approach, which focuses academic knowledge on solving practical cases and reinventing practices for the benefit of businesses.

18 businesses, 60 teams, 350 sTUDents engaged in the project

Under the impetus of the EDHEC Foresight, Innovation and Transformation Chair (FIT)[2] led by René Rohrbeck, 350 students on the Master in Management programme  - including 190 from the MSc in Strategy, Organisation & Consulting and 160 from the MSc in Marketing Management – considered the future of the building industry with a view to devising innovative models designed to support the transformation of an industry facing multiple challenges: eco-responsibility, energy efficiency, sustainability, etc.

This wide-ranging project engaged 60 teams over nine months between April and December 2021. Split into groups of five, students drew up strategic scenarios responding to an array of 18 environmental-related challenges in the building, real estate and housing fields, e.g. renewal of infrastructure, use of innovative materials, integration of the circular economy, upcycling, decarbonisation. They then prepared a diagnosis for the industry and compiled solutions covering aspects like emerging trends, business plans, client experience and recycling.      

Learning at the crossroads of academic knowledge and practice

Developed in collaboration with 18 French and European firms with leading positions on their markets – including Somfy, Velux, Rexel, JLL, Bouygues Construction – the "Future of Buildings" project also immersed students in the real-life needs of businesses and gave them an understanding of the dynamics driving change in the industry. The students were mentored and guided by the companies partnering the project, and benefited from their advice and expertise at each stage of creation, from co-definition of the problem to be solved, through to validation of the strategic scenario. In addition, students had the chance to meet innovative building, real estate and housing start-ups and to draw inspiration from their business models and agile methods. 

A few months before their entry onto the job market, a project of this type gives our future graduates the chance to apply their academic knowledge to solving practical cases and to continue to learn in close contact with the real-life issues of businesses

explains René Rohrbeck, Director of EDHEC Business School’s Foresight, Innovation and Transformation (FIT) Chair. 

Closing event on the Lille campus

The project’s high-point was the "Foresight & Sustainable Day" organised on 13 December by the EDHEC FIT Chair on the Lille campus. During the event, the students pitched their work to professors and executives of the partner companies, who then assessed the quality of the pitches and rewarded the best scenarios.

Promoting a wide-ranging project like the Future of Buildings is a firm choice and an illustration of the ambitious learning model pursued by EDHEC for many years across all its programmes. Through a unique learning experience based on learning by doing and the development of a forward-looking view of the business world, we give our future graduates the keys to unlock the issues of a world undergoing major transformations and enable them to act to make it more sustainable

underlines Michelle Sisto, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at EDHEC Business School.

[1] Event organised in line with health precautions

[2] The EDHEC Chair devoted to supporting the transformation of businesses and organisations, through the development of innovative strategies and models focused on disruptive change

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