Audencia and Centrale Nantes create the very first Bachelor’s Degree in Big Data & Management

Building on their historic alliance, Audencia and Centrale Nantes have developed a new joint programme: the Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) in Big Data & Management. It is also the first hybrid Bachelor’s in France accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation to be considered as “Licence” degree according to the standards for French business and engineering schools. This four-year post-secondary programme combines engineering and management in the field of data collection, analysis and management. The first intake is scheduled for September 2021.

The business school and the engineering school are building on past collaborations by offering a unique new programme: the BBA Big Data and Management. It is the first time in France that such a programme has been accredited by three different government bodies: the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (grade de licence), the CEFDG (the body that evaluates management training and qualifications) and the CTI (the body that evaluates and accredits higher education institutions for the award of engineering degrees). The BBA Big Data & Management is an international four-year post-secondary programme, which will open in September 2021 on the Centrale Nantes and Audencia Atlantic campuses. The first intake will include around 40 students, both French and international. Luisa Silva, Director of the High Performance Computing Institute at Centrale Nantes, and Marc Gibiat, Director of Audencia’s Bachelor and Mastère Spécialisé® courses, are co-directors of the programme.

Four years of blended learning

The new BBA launched by Audencia and Centrale Nantes will allow high school graduates, who are attracted to both business and engineering, to develop dual expertise in parallel. This differs from other hybrid programmes which usually focus first on one field of expertise, then the other. At the conclusion of the demanding four-year programme, graduates will have acquired a unique blend of advanced technical skills (advanced computing, data analysis, cloud computing) and cross-functional management expertise (finance, management, marketing and strategy).

Learning on an international programme

Between 30 and 40% of the students on the programme will be recruited internationally and will study alongside French students. The course will be entirely taught in English. Students will spend a minimum of 15 months abroad, including two semesters taught at a partner university or on the respective offshore campuses: the Audencia campus in Shenzhen (China), and the Centrale Casablanca campus in Morocco. Three internships are also part of the programme, whereby students will acquire 12 months of professional experience, of which three months must be abroad.

Meeting market demand in new professions

The programme sets out to address the growing market demand, in France and internationally, for dual managerial and technical expertise in the collection, processing and analysis of data to improve company performance. Company involvement in the curriculum is thus key to ensuring that it is fully in line with the market’s expectations. Xavier Bais, in charge of graduate recruitment marketing at Accenture, which has been a partner of both schools for several years, explains: “Cooperation within educational programmes helps students to fully understand the challenges of our market and our customers. Data is an important activity within Accenture through our Applied Intelligence teams, and the skill-set resulting from this programme will be fully in line with our businesses.”

Pascal Dussert, Business Marketing & Sales Leader, Connected Care, at Philips, also confirms the interest of large multinationals: “Royal Philips is a leader in healthcare technologies. We invested 1.6 billion euros in 2020 in research and development. Sixty percent of this investment is related to IT, recognised as a priority and strategic development for the company. Indeed, IT plays a key role in Philips’ value propositions to its customers, with a strong focus for the company on Artificial Intelligence applied to diagnostics, Cloud-based offerings for e-health services, Internet of Things for device connectivity, cybersecurity, and interoperability to support patient pathways across healthcare ecosystems. The BBA Big Data & Management will allow for the development of talented individuals whose capacities are perfectly aligned with the strategic development of Philips.”

Startups also offer many opportunities for future graduates of the programme. Gaetan de Kerros, CEO of TheChinaStudio, a digital marketing agency based both in Nantes and Shanghai and specialised in consumer health, confirms this strong market demand: “Our mission is to launch brands on e-commerce platforms in China and to bring strategic value to other existing brands through access to Big Data which is the back office of these platforms. The creation of the BBA Big Data & Management programme fully meets our need for young hybrid executives in roles such as digital marketing managers, data analysts and data scientists, to support the development of this rapidly growing sector. “

Competitive advantages of two schools

Students will benefit from the recognised expertise of both schools in their respective fields, in particular through their research laboratories and chairs. Centrale Nantes has one of the most powerful supercomputers in France, used by the school’s researchers and industrial partners, but also by engineering programme and master’s students, as part of their courses. Audencia will deploy its expertise in CSR to teach responsibility in data management. Both schools will also provide students with the usual support services such as international relations, corporate relations, career centres, alumni networks, etc. Synergies facilitated by the immediate proximity of the two campuses.


French students can apply on Parcoursup from 20 January 2021. In light of the pandemic, written tests will be not be held this year. The panel will examine each application, alongside Baccalaureate results in French, mathematics and English. Shortlisted applicants will then be interviewed and sit an English oral test. Successful applicants will be informed by the end of May.

International students will also be selected based on their application (including their mathematics and English results) and interviewed.

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