HEC Paris and Bocconi University are united in their determination to offer students an ambitious, cutting-edge training program that benefits society and contributes to a European higher education project focusing on excellence. As a result, the two institutions are combining their respective areas of expertise to create together a Bachelor of Arts and Science in “Data, Society and Organisations”. This inter-disciplinary program – based on the top degrees offered by English-speaking universities – is unique in France, combining data and social sciences to meet the new challenges facing society and business. The program, which will be joined by students from across the world, will host its first cohort in September 2024.
Data and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing the furthest reaches of society, business and government policy. An inter-disciplinary training is crucial for understanding and supporting these societal and organisational transformations for responsible, informed decision-making. This new program caters to the growing need for tripartite expertise in data science, social science and management across all sectors of the economy and society – which is why HEC Paris and Bocconi University have created the Bachelor in Data, Society and Organisations.
The course is delivered over three years with the opening three semesters at Bocconi University, and the following three at HEC Paris.
Most of the first three semesters at the Italian university are devoted to studying data science, with courses including quantitative methods applied to social science, law and economics, coding and data visualization, machine learning and artificial intelligence, governance of digital technology in the public and private sectors, and so forth.
The pathway at HEC Paris focuses on the basics of applying data to fields as diverse as climate change and sustainable development, the analysis of economic models and new business models, governance and government policy, or law and legal developments. Students may choose between several pathways so they can begin to specialize in one of these fields.
The final year of the bachelor's degree draws to a close with a “data challenge”, a major group project where students can apply their new skills to a social problem or business challenge.
At the end of the training program, students will be awarded two qualifications:
- The Bachelor of Science in International Politics and Government from Bocconi University.
- The Bachelor of Arts in Data, Society and Organisations from HEC Paris.
The bachelor’s degree will be directed by Hélène Löning, Associate Professor at HEC Paris, who specializes in measuring environmental performance. The degree has been designed to provide students with:
- Solid proficiency in data science and artificial intelligence backed by math and computer science.
- An in-depth ability to understand and apply data science in the fields of economics, sociology, public affairs and corporate management.
With their combination of theory and practice, these inter-disciplinary courses will equip students with all the skills they need to address the major challenges facing society and business.
Applicants will be selected on the basis of demanding, precise criteria such as:
- Academic excellence at high school level or equivalent.
- The SAT/ACT test official result/score test or Bocconi University online test.
- Motivation and academic, cultural and personal interest in the program.
- The student's voluntary or professional commitment.
- CV and cover letter.
- Excellent level of English.
The course content will be delivered not just by research fellows but also by top-flight professionals who will share their operational expertise with students.
The Bachelor in Data, Society and Organisations aims to be ground-breaking in several ways. First, there is its thematic approach: data science with an “applied” bias even nowadays rarely features on undergraduate university courses.
Secondly, the program brings together two European centers of excellence, exploiting all their research and teaching resources, including the research centers at HEC Paris (Hi!PARIS, the Society and Organisations Institute, the HEC Incubator and Entrepreneurship Center).
Last but not least, the program gives students the opportunity to enter the labor market directly – as data scientists or analysts – at the end of their course, or to build on their skills and refine them at master's level in the field of digital tools or AI in France or on the international stage.
Eloïc Peyrache, Dean of HEC Paris, explains: “We’re pleased to be launching a unique international training program in partnership with Bocconi University, a center of excellence. This course, which responds to the major challenges of the 21st century, is organized around an innovative theme that combines data science and human and social science. This bachelor's degree, by bringing together two leading institutions in France and Italy, reflects HEC Paris' determination to make a wider contribution to consolidating the European project. The program also helps to build bridges between top international talent and talented students from the French Grande Ecole preparatory classes to which HEC Paris is so attached.”
“In order to steer policies and implement solutions that respond to the great challenges of our time, it is essential to hybridize the approaches typical of the social sciences and those of the new data sciences. This is the goal of the innovative program that Bocconi and HEC are jointly launching,” explains Francesco Billari, Rector of Bocconi University. “The value of this program for students is enhanced by the experience in two of the most dynamic and international European cities and on two university campuses at the forefront of research, teaching and campus life.”