An Interview with Jean-François Detout, Skema Business School.

"Opquast, it is fundamental"

the skema business school logo

Skema and Opquast

Regularly ranked among the top French business schools, Skema Business School is now present on 7 campuses around the world (France, China, United States, Brazil, South America). Director of the MDCE Specialised Master’s Degree (Marketing Data & E-Commerce), Jean François Detout discusses the integration of Opquast certification into the curriculum, for all students.

What is Skema Business School’s main focus?

The school’s three main pedagogical directions are AI, digital and hybridisation. Before the current context of Covid-19, the idea was already to know how we could teach courses asynchronously, how we could optimise the experience of our students, who can go from campus to campus, with various teaching formats. This trend, which we call hybridisation, has also 1obviously accelerated with the epidemic.

What courses do you offer? What levels?

We offer – among other things – specialised masters (MS) and master of science (MSc) that train for digital and digital transformation professions. However, digital as well as AI, are an integral part of all of our other courses.
Our specialised masters offer 450 hours of courses per year, in alternating years, with lessons on customer experience, UX, e-commerce, CRM, website redesign, activation, data collection, analytics and everything related to traffic acquisition and SEM (Search Engine Marketing). All these topics are approached from a technical angle but also from a global perspective: this is what we call “digital strategy”. The idea is to bring together all the skills needed to become a good decision-maker in the realm of the Web, e-commerce or data. On leaving this MS, our students are multi-specialists. They come looking for hyper-specialisation via professional contracts, which allow them to apply what they learn at SKEMA.

Why did you choose to integrate Opquast certification into your training courses?

It’s linked to this conviction: to become a good manager, a good decision-maker in digital, you need to have a global vision of the Web. You can’t be a good Web project manager without having a minimum command of all aspects of the Web, IT, technical, marketing, etc.

So we did a test two years ago, proposing students take the certification on a voluntary basis. We carried out a survey among this sample, to ask them to rate if they found it useful, relevant, and impactful on their career, etc. … The results were overwhelmingly positive, over 80%, so we decided to make Opquast compulsory. It is the school that pays for it and it is taken into account as part of the credits required to validate their training.

What interest do you see in this for your students?

It’s clearly useful, and in fact, an overwhelming majority of students play the part seriously. We’re actually quite proud to have a student who got the best score for the certification, in front of many Web professionals. Opquast is not only useful, it’s fundamental. Opquast is part of the set of certifications that they have to pass, and which we believe are part of the basics, the fundamentals that a Web professional must have to be well-rounded. Even if they obviously don’t master everything, they will have acquired sufficient general knowledge (360 degrees), and will have the reflexes to know what to do to build a quality Web project, to talk and communicate with other Web professionals, whether they are developers, web marketers, e-commerce, SEO, content or specialists of a related kind.

Finally, is this about a common web culture?

Yes, what interests me is to offer a multi-specialist MS. So, you can’t know everything, of course, even if you take a lot of training and courses, but what counts is being able to put this knowledge acquisition to music, thanks to a 360-degree mastery of Web tools. To do this, it is necessary to master the best practices of the Web, as defined in particular by Opquast, the Web being one of the least regulated sectors. In itself, when you work on the Web, you can still do what you want… but that doesn’t mean that you have to do it! Hence the importance of having these rules, this common lexical field, which will enable agencies, companies, technical service providers, etc. to work together in the right direction: towards quality, effective and useful Web projects. Opquast certification allows this, and it also pushes some students to challenge themselves, to go further and deeper into the technical aspects of the Web that are not necessarily part of our training.