ESSEC Accenture Strategic Business Analytics Chair students present the results of their team projects

ESSEC Accenture Strategic Business Analytics Chair students present the results of their team projects

At Accenture's headquarters in Paris, the students of the Accenture Strategic Business Analytics Chair gathered in front of a panel of professionals. They presented a team project proposed by a partner company, on which they worked throughout their time in the chair.

Jeroen Rombouts, Head of Information Systems, Decision Sciences and Statistics Department, Accenture Strategic Business Analytics Chair

“The students from the chair presented their final results after having worked on strategic data cases since January. Congratulations to the Orange-Pasteur and the Fnac-Darty groups who won for the best case solutions as decided by a distinguished panel of judges composed of the chair’s club members. Over the course of the year, all students receive coaching from business and data consultants at Accenture.

Thanks to their presentation skills training that took place during the program, on May 15, we saw firsthand how the students were able to find solutions to strategic business cases in sectors like television, telecom, banking, energy, retail and sports. The most important part of this exercise is to show what value can be created by the provided solutions: the chair focuses on data valorization, not on data science.”

Fabrice Marque, Managing Director, Accenture

“Above all, I expect commitment and impact; commitment, because this chair is unique and to make the most of their experience,, students should not just take aa few courses and participate in a seminar. Starting from the raw data and arriving at the final value is a long and rigorous path, but oh so satisfying when you have "cracked" the subject.

When I say impact, we are talking about real data and real problems to be solved for real organizations. Here too, it is unique in the world (only MIT has a somewhat similar program, of smaller dimensions) and the results produced by the students feed the chair's ecosystem and help it to develop. Impact is meant to keep the race moving and keep us in the lead!”

Jean-Pierre Bokobza, Senior Managing Director, Accenture

“When we initiated the chair in partnership with ESSEC, our objective was to create hybrid profiles capable of using data to better understand business issues or to develop new business opportunities. It is clear that the students of the chair have developed the skills necessary to become architects that use data as a decryption key. It will now be necessary to accompany the movement and be able to integrate new technological waves, such as artificial intelligence, to develop a next generation of leaders.”

Laurent Bliaut, DGA Marketing, TF1

Why did you choose to support this initiative?

This generation is "data native", which was not our case, even though we have integrated many skills in recent years. In addition, since our resources are limited, we sometimes have difficulty devoting significant task forces to very forward-looking topics. The excellence of the students in the program is therefore a valuable asset to us.

Is it important for you to have the students’ perspective?

Students are unaware of our constraints, which is ultimately an asset. They can thus imagine solutions in a more spontaneous way and without self-censorship in relation to the organizations and processes well established in the company. A disruption force which is particularly valuable to us.

Marco Caldarulo, ESSEC Analytics Chair student

Why is this Grand Jury event important for you?

The possibility to present in front of a Chief Data officer, managers, consultants and academic experts represents the highest form of gratification and recognition for a challenging project that we have worked on for six months. I honestly believe that presenting in front of the jury is the greatest form of accomplishment for any student in the chair.

 What value do you take away from the chair?

The chair has allowed me to develop a whole new set of skills. I learned how to code, I enhanced my statistical knowledge, I mastered concepts such as AI and machine learning in addition to becoming aware of what the current technological trends are. Most of all, the chair allowed me to work with students and professionals from diverse backgrounds and to recognize how valuable this program is.

What are your professional plans after the chair?

After the chair, I plan on returning to Milan to discuss my empirical thesis on predicting default through machine learning techniques and later start my career in consultancy.  I have always wanted to be a consultant and The Accenture Chair has convinced me that this is the right path for me.

Arnault Martin, ESSEC Analytics Chair student 

Why is this Grand Jury event important for you?

The Grand Jury is important for three reasons.

First, it honors four intensive months of work in which our group had back and forth communication with several stakeholders within the client organization (technical and business). Therefore, the Grand Jury is the pinnacle of the great amount of work we provided.

Second, this event gathers a qualitative audience. It is rare to have high-level practitioners or C-levels paying attention to what students have to say. It is actually a good exercise and it prepares for our future demanding career.

Third, it gives an in-depth snapshot of various industries’ current and onward problems. I trust the strategic scope of the problems given to the students and I trust my fellow classmates to present an actionable, concrete solution to this problem in only 10 minutes. This exposure is priceless.

What value do you take away from the chair?

The chair brought me three things.

First, it served my interest for data and programming. We could dive into statistics and real-world exercises using R & SQL. This is experience in R was interesting, but being a Python-advocate I decided to dig deeper into this language. Using digital support could have helped ("StatQuest" on Youtube for instance, "Elitedatascience" blog, Kaggle/learn) even though the private access to Datacamp proved valuable.

Second, it served my interest for business. The staff invited various practitioners, from startups to big corporates, to share real-life examples and make us solve problems. In addition, we tackled questions like revenue forecasting, client segmentation, time-series analysis, etc. and it would have been even better to dig deeper in these subjects in a more autonomous and creative way (less work at home, more active work in class).

Third, it gave me access to an impressive community of focused and determined students. I trust the alumni network will be nurtured and will become a powerful sub-community of ESSEC and ESSEC-Centrale. I’ll probably meet one of them in my career and work with a few, so it’s actually a nice alma mater!

What is your professional project after the Chair?

It remains an open question. For now, I started side projects on solving business issues with data in order to keep having a hands-on experience of data programming. I believe I won’t become a data scientist, but it doesn’t matter, it’s not my goal. My goal was to be able to work efficiently with technical teams and grow my business expertise to move faster in my career. I feel I am now on the good path, I just need to keep practicing!

Yifan ZHANG, ESSEC Analytics Chair student

Why is this Grand Jury event important for you?

It was a great opportunity to present our results of 6 months learning and group work, learn from other groups and listen to feedbacks from executives of collaborated top companies of our chair.

What value do you take away from the chair?

Let me know that even a student who has no coding experience before can learn how to code and leverage data analytics tools to generate insights from data to solve business problems. It let me see the common ground of data and marketing. It allows me to impress the interviewers during recruitment process as a marketing student with coding skills and interests in tech. As in this data driven age, coding is an essential skill for marketers.

What are your professional plans after the chair?

 I would like to join L'Oréal China as a Digital and Marketing Trainee for the makeup brand, generating marketing and digital insights and actions based on the business analytics skills accumulated during the chair.

Wiam TAHRI, ESSEC Analytics Chair student

Why is this Grand Jury event important for you?

Today, everyone can finally see the output of several months of work. I had the big chance of working on a real case with ORANGE and IPAR, which is an NGO, about understanding what impacts the food access in Senegal. It is a real problem and I am really excited to discuss our output with different customers and CDOs of big advanced firms. This project helped us gain a lot in professionalism and maturity and today we have the challenge of convincing the customers, ESSEC and Accenture of the relevancy of our work.

What value do you take away from the chair?

The value the chair has brought is exactly the reason why I chose it in the first place. We are living in a decade where digital transformation needs also a transformation of skills. People need to understand the power of data in decision making and that is exactly what the chair helped me see through a lot of use cases and a real project with a customer. The chair perfectly combines the technical knowledge of coding and links it to strategic decision making in many different environments. 

What are your professional plans after the chair?

I want to pursue my career in strategic consulting, a job where data is constantly present, and I am happy to be able to understand now how I can technically use data in a business situation.


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