The Institut Supérieur de Gestion (ISG) is an incredibly dynamic business school based in Paris, with additional locations throughout France. The institution is part of IONIS Education Group, the leading private higher education group in France and home to more than 22,000 alumni. This story highlights ISG’s nano-certificate strategy, including how the institution worked with Dataiku to develop it and how other higher education institutes might start similar programs to develop students’ data science skills to align with the future of the field.
Wait, What’s a Nano-Certificate?
In late 2019, Tommy Lambert, Digital Manager & Program Director of the “Tech Management and Engineering” program at ISG, which is a double degree program between ISG and EPITA, proposed a nano-certificate strategy. For each certificate, ISG partners with an external company in order to adapt each certificate to industry needs and give students the opportunity to pursue a certificate that will positively impact their professional profiles.
Tommy Lambert is the Founder & CEO of platformcore.com, Digital Manager & Program Director of the “Tech Management and Engineering” program at ISG. He has over seven years experience in the tech industry and wants to improve business organizations using technologies and new methodologies. His background is tech-marketing oriented, and that's why today, he developed — with ISG and EPITA's help — a new double-degree program which trains students to learn about coding (front, back, and DevOps), project management, team management, audit of business needs, business organization, and user-centric analysis.
A nano-certificate is an ISG-specific training module that allows students to specialize in various topics, including but not limited to data science and machine learning, cybersecurity, collaborative platforms, graphic design, and the future of transportation. Specifically, students in their third year are eligible to pursue the nano-certificates. Further, ISG and Dataiku are working together to determine how to integrate Dataiku into the Tech Management and Engineering program, as their work focuses on learning how to manage IT teams, develop software, and analyze business needs and convert them into specs to build better tools.
The First Steps to Getting Dataiku Infused Into the ISG Curriculum
Tommy Lambert and his team proposed a syllabus based on required industry skills that students would obtain upon completion of the certificate requirements. Then, they developed and organized the content chronologically (according to the required skills targeted) to satisfy each one of those skills.
Upon looking for a tool to help analyze specific data more easily and simplify every data process with an easy-to-use interface, the team discovered Dataiku. They wanted to incorporate Dataiku into the curriculum for the nano-certificate on “Big Data, Data Science, and Business Intelligence” which, after six months of collaboration, today includes Dataiku’s Core Designer certification. The content of the certification is built into the curriculum of the program, but formally passing the certification comes after.
Once completed, the Core Designer certification enables users to comfortably build simple workflows within Dataiku, perform simple data preparation steps, perform quick experimentation in the Lab, share results via charts and dashboards, learn best practices for building data pipelines, and more.
ISG President Thierry Sebagh wanted to improve the relationship of technological business needs with our school programs. The intention was to give our students the opportunity to evolve with emerging technologies. For him, it’s our duty to give ISG students the required knowledge needed to grow from the start of their careers. That’s why Dataiku is the best partner for us to grow with.” - Tommy Lambert
Inside the Role Dataiku Played (Both the Team and Platform)
Partnerships with the Dataiku Academics team can range from tools (free academic licenses of Dataiku for use in classes and research) to support (in this case, like the Core Designer certification) to guest lecturing and free workshops for academics. With ISG, the Dataiku Academics team had many conversations with the team, outlining needs and goals before coming to a solution that was fast and reliable. Specifically, Alexandre Landeau, a data scientist at Dataiku, led the curriculum development and delivered over 15 hours of classes. To obtain the nano-certificate, the main use case centers around real estate analysis, predicting house prices in the U.S. with Kaggle.
Within Dataiku, students first need to upload data, visualize it, clean it, optimize and automate a project, monitor the project’s life cycle, perform training and modeling, and deploy models into production. Then, they can move into the real estate analysis, which involves taking multiple variables and values into consideration to predict sales prices.
The training program is accessible for business school students, enabling them to get a better understanding of data and what they can do with it. Tommy said, “Dataiku is the best platform to work with. The interface is simple and it provides a lot of functionalities which are perfect for someone who wants to do simple or deeper analysis with no stress.”
Actionable Recommendations for Educators
We asked Tommy for his recommendations for educators at other institutions interested in developing a process like this. Here are some tangible steps to take:
- Define the right goals with real professionals in the industry to be in line with market needs.
- Then, define what the main stages are in order to understand the goals as if you were a student with no knowledge about it.
- Prepare those stages chronologically to give a better understanding of the process and how it should be done.
- Have the right people involved. Recruit someone who has an IT background, a relationship with business, and pedagogical experience too. Without those three professional experiences, you cannot start a program like this one.
- Organize your tasks and priorities by objectives using an online project management tool, like ClickUp or Monday apps.
A collaboration built upon open communication, the business relationship between ISG and Dataiku helped enable students to accelerate their analytic literacy. Recently, ISG has been accredited by Conférence des Grandes Écoles (CGE) with the Qualification and Skills Certificate, an establishment certificate issued as part of continuing education. With regard to the future, ISG is excited to continue to integrate Dataiku into the Tech Management and Engineering program and organize discussions on the future of data management and analytics.
It is rare to work with a company that wants to accompany us from the beginning of our first meeting and we found that with Dataiku. The Dataiku team trusted us and signed this amazing partnership with us. You have been one of our best business partners.” - Tommy Lambert