Written on 02 October 2019.
It all started in 2016. At that time, EDHEC did not have yet an academic offering on technology and innovation management. Given the employment market and the rise and impact of technology in everyday life, it was clear that a programme that focused equally on innovation, new technology, and business management was needed, especially for our Grande Ecole students. What’s more, at EDHEC, we strive to train our students for a sustainable future – in other words, to provide training that does not just meet current market needs but shapes our students for a long-lasting career.
Student feedback also played a role. It matters to us at EDHEC and matters to me. Their desire to gain insights into these topics and to be able to hit the ground running after on-the-ground exposure to these high-tech companies was something that came up frequently. All of these things encouraged us to design a new offering aimed at young people who want to be players in tomorrow’s game.
Together with the then Dean of Graduate Studies, and now Dean of EDHEC, Professor Emmanuel Métais, and International Relations Director Richard Perrin, we immediately thought that if we were to craft a programme involving technology and innovation, it should take students to three continents: Europe, Asia and America. We wanted to have students explore and learn from different educational traditions. We believed this would spark their creativity and hone their ability to adapt to new and sometimes surprising environments. I personally wanted them to learn and gain new experiences inside and outside the classroom. To me, this life experience on three continents plays a significant role in shaping their minds.
So, we put on our diplomatic hats and started working on a programme with the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Together, we decided on Korea, the home of technological research and development, as the ideal partner country in Asia. For us, the Graduate School of Business at the renowned Sungkyunkwan University was the logical choice.
It was essential for EDHEC to partner with international, tech-relevant and prestigious institutions to attract and nurture the best students and we were delighted that all parties agreed to create this track together.
GETT came on stream in just 10 months – an extremely short development period for a new academic programme on three continents. We had our first meetings in Korea in late November 2016 and the first Global Economic Transformation & Technology (GETT) cohort started their courses in September 2017. The second cohort started in Paris and will graduate in 2021 with a Master in Management degree from EDHEC Business School, a Master in Management Studies from SKK GSB and a Diploma in Global Economic Transformation & Technology from Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
I had prior experience in building programmes and university academic alliances. I had also been a visiting professor at several institutions around the globe. But mostly, I love to invent, create, launch something new. You could say that I consider myself an academic entrepreneur.
Building a programme is a work in constant progress. We started with a blank page and have adjusted it along the way. When we created the programme, both we and our students knew that an entrepreneurial mindset was needed, as we wanted to create a programme that offered the sustainable skills I mentioned previously. To achieve this, we need to constantly question the status quo, listen to signals from the market and from entrepreneurs, and take on board suggestions from our partner universities and constantly adapt our curriculum. I am amazed by our students’ involvement in this endeavour – together, we are building their future. For instance, this year, as part of their last year of study at Berkeley, students will attend a 10-day coding course in Silicon Valley. This coding session was added to address a need voiced by recruiters, who are looking for candidates that can analyse data for business needs.
Definitely! Students challenge us and we love it! GETT is their programme and they often take the initiative. For instance, a student from McGill University started a “Lunch & Learn” session, to which she invited speakers on our Parisian EDHEC campus. Another student has worked on projects at a Berkeley research centre led by Professor Henry Chesbrough, who defined the concept of open innovation.
I’m far from alone on this journey. An essential element in GETT’s success is Programme Coordinator Léa Durand, who takes care of logistics and administration, guaranteeing a smooth experience for the students. In addition, the School, Corporate Relations and Career Services support our work.
Mostly, however, the GETT students accompany me on this journey. The programme belongs to them. Like pioneers, they develop it through the actions they take.
On a personal level, I want my students to gain enduring analytical skills in areas such as strategy and finance. We need to help them uncover new issues and be innovative and, at the same time, help them to build their long-term analysis skills, their ability to work autonomously, their ability to decipher weak signals and anticipate their consequences and to act in a changing environment ... capabilities that will not become obsolete.
Like any professor, I assume, I’m proud of helping our students to grow. It’s a teacher’s pride to hear someone tell you: “Your students are smart, energetic, committed, very positive.”
The first cohort arrived at Berkeley after a year of professional immersion. They have become professionals.
I’m proud to say: my students are exceptional young adults and talented professionals.