As its name suggests, Manage the Digital Revolution: Putting Executives in the Driving Seat of Data-Driven Transformation tackles a heady topic. In no uncertain terms, the specialization offers participants the opportunity to take a deep dive into the key digital driving factors of tomorrow’s economy.
“Executives need to understand that their domain expertise is the most important ingredient for a company to tap the huge potential of data and artificial intelligence,” says Dr. Julian Schirmer, one of the program’s two Academic Directors and a wunderkind in the art of digital transformation in the workplace. “If executives dare to lead the data-driven transformation, they get in a unique position of bridging the gap between business expert and data expert, enabling them to systematically build data-driven value at scale.”
Diving into the digital revolution
The Specialization was crafted with a keen focus on the strategies digital players leverage to disrupt traditional value chains.
Understanding and decrypting the disruptive trends reshaping the world of business, as well as how critical company domains like strategy, marketing, HR, among others, are currently transforming themselves to adapt to the new world is what separates the companies of tomorrow from the companies of today. The goal, in short, is for participants to come out of the session having challenged their own perceptions, and having discovered the implications for innovation and decision-making.
“For me, the magic really begins on the second day,” says Dr. René Eber, an AI guru who along with Dr. Schirmer completes the Academic Director duo. “It’s when executives with little to no prior experience have trained themselves a neural network based on a real use-case. After this demystifying moment, executives see that they have to be in the driving seat and that technology is not a barrier to successful data-driven transformation.”
EMBA Participant Mariam Bahar shared one of the most timely and relevant experiences she had during the Specialization that illustrates this point.
“Data is the new gold and should be leveraged as a real business value creator.”
“We learned how technology unlocks performance and how to pitch a data-driven transformation project from McKinsey partner Xavier Simino,” she explained. “Then we heard from Marcello Damiani, CDO and CCO of Moderna, who demonstrated how operational efficiency and sound organizational processes are fundamental for any transformation—and how digital was central in accelerating vaccine development during the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said. “Data is the new gold and should be leveraged as a real business value creator.”
Put to practice
Jefferey Manno, another participant in the Specialization’s recent session in Paris, was also impressed by the sheer breadth of knowledge to which the participants were exposed—he categorizes the lessons and insights as “decades’ worth.”
“Our class chatted with industry gurus. The forum was bold, candid, and sometimes raw, but all-around richly impactful and relevant,” he says. He said the week was “incredible,” culminating with an in-person mock strategy sprint to Accor executives Patrick Mendes, Alix Boulnois, and Maxime Gareau.
“I really enjoyed the feedback and questions HEC EMBA participants raised during their Pitch Projects,”said Garreau, who as Accor’s Guest Experience Director is heavily involved in overseeing the organization’s ambitious digital transformation processes. “I am convinced that the main strength of this kind of program is gathering people from different background, industries and, even more importantly, expertise. Being multidisciplinary allowed groups to tackle many aspects, from marketing to finance and bring their own way of thinking. No doubt that this diversity of profiles is beneficial both for their projects, their own apprenticeship and thus, their career.”
Participant Andrew Saidy, whose expertise in the crossroads of digital and HR is well-documented, was impressed with what he gained from the sessions. “I thought it was a great learning opportunity mixing theoretical learning but also hands-on experiences and the opportunity to meet some trailblazers in the data and digital transformation space,” he says. “The cherry on the cake was the chance to present to Accor senior executives a digital transformation idea. My team claiming the first place was also great!”
An upcoming highlight for participants will be when they reconvene for sessions at Ground Zero for tech development: Silicon Valley, California.
More CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies have graduated from HEC Paris than any other university in Europe, and nearly 4,000 graduates are currently CEOs, CFOs, or have founded their own companies. According to the Financial Times, the HEC Paris Executive MBA is ranked #1 in Europe and #3 in the world; click here to learn more.
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