Interview with Margherita Pagani and Clément Levallois, Program Co-Directors, MSc in Digital Marketing and Data Science, emlyon business school

Pranav Dar 04 Oct, 2018
7 min read


emlyon business school, founded in 1872, stands out among the top few business schools worldwide. It has been awarded three international accreditations and is ranked in the top 100 for Global Employability by the Times Higher Education – University Rankings 2016. Choosing to study at emlyon business school is choosing to study in a resolutely international environment that is fully connected to today’s business world.

Margherita Pagani

Clément Levallois

The school has recently launched a ‘M.Sc. in Digital Marketing and Data Science’ course. It is being led by Margherita Pagani and Clément Levallois, the program’s co-directors.

Ms. Pagani is a Professor of Digital Marketing at emlyon business school (France) and an Adjunct Professor of Digital Marketing at Bocconi University (Milan). She holds a HDR (Habilitation to Direct Researches) and a Ph.D in Management.

Her current research examines digital marketing, consumer behavior and new technologies. Social media, mobile marketing and dynamics influencing value creation and capture in digital ecosystems. She published several books (published in US, Italy, Korea) two encyclopedias and articles in leading international journals and won several awards.

Clément Levallois is an Associate Professor in the Market and Innovation Department and a computational social scientist. He is a specialist in data mining : data visualisation, text mining, network analysis.  He is the creator of CODAPPS, Coding mobile apps for entrepreneurs, a MOOC hosted on Coursera. He is a also a member of the Gephi Consortium and Director of the data r&d institute.


Here are excerpts of my conversation with both of them.


PD: Recently you have launched the ‘MSc in Digital Marketing and Data Science’ course. Can you tell us briefly about the program?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: The MSc in Digital Marketing and Data Science course is a unique format combining 2 essential disciplines – digital marketing & data science.

As many courses around the world focus nowadays on business intelligence in a global business environment, this program is different and delivers a unique take on a very specific field. This program is designed to grow a new generation of leading marketing specialists – digital savvy professionals that can benefit from an explosive growth of online technologies to develop business.

The MSc in Digital Marketing and Data Science is a 16 months program entirely taught in English based in Paris with a learning trip to Boston and one semester in Shanghai.


PD: Why do you think there’s a need for a specialization in Digital Marketing and Data Science?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: The program has been created in order to adapt to the internet and advances in digitalization and social networking that are currently transforming how companies interact with customers and partners.

The program pedagogy uniquely combines a strong academic background in business studies, marketing, data analysis and strategy with an in‐depth and specific digital knowledge addressing the specific need of companies of all size, activity sector and profile to recruit marketing & data literate managers trained for the digital future. Offering this new ‘Digital Marketing & Data Science’ program is a response to companies’ growing digital demands.


PD: Who is ideally suited to take this course?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Students do not need to have a specific scientific background to follow this course. The program will provide all participants (from various backgrounds) with the necessary strategic and analytical skills to succeed in a digital world. emlyon business school  take the applicant’s entire potential into account. It is very important to consider motivation as an essential element to pursue this course.


PD: Are there any prerequisites for the students?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Students will need:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in any field
    Please note: 3-year Bachelor’s degree may be accepted for excellent profiles, including French Bac +3
  • The Management Aptitude and English Proficiency Test Scores are optional.
     It is important to remember however that this program is fully delivered in English. Therefore, English full proficiency is required to be admitted, follow courses and efficiently interact with the other members of the cohort. For the Admission Process, the English level will be evaluated taking into consideration 3 different fundamentals:
  • Examination of all written and redactional elements within the application file
  • A Video Interview
  • A potential face to face or Skype interview, if the Admission Board requires it

More information can be found on your emlyon business school account.


PD: What will the students gain from enrolling in this program?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Students will become accomplished digital marketing professionals, able to manage and innovate in a datarich business environment. You will be wellprepared to work in a sales or marketing department of startups and major brands in business to consumer or business to business environments.

You will also fit the requirements of advertising agencies looking for marketing professionals knowledgeable about multichannel communication, consulting firms managing the digital transformation of their clients, as well as digital media and technology companies looking for managers with a strong business background who are also familiar with their trade.

The program meets a real need for employers that want to recruit young talents with a “dual competency”, business and digital, capable of bringing a real plus. The application of big data in the marketer profession is crucial.

Throughout the year students have the opportunity to attend conferences and workshops which allow them to get hands-on experience and meet professional experts.


PD: How is this particular program different from others that the candidates might consider?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: In addition to the unique format combining two essential disciplines (digital marketing & data science), it is important to underline that the data science part of the program will entirely be delivered by emlyon business school’s professors rather than by an engineering school. This choice means that data science is always considered in a business environment and never out of that context which enable students to really develop their skills according to the reality of the employers’ needs.


PD: Will there be any industry leaders and practitioners who will be teaching?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Yes, many professionals will be teaching in this course. For example, Yihun Lim (Researcher/ Architecture Designer and Associate Director at MIT mobile experience laboratory) will share her experience with the new cohort.


PD: Do tell us briefly about the subject areas to be covered in this course.

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Here are a few examples among the many subjects covered during this course:

  • Digital marketing
  • Web content strategy
  • Principles of user experience design
  • Web Analytics and Programmatic Advertising
  • Business analytics: advanced Excel and SQL
  • Python coding bootcamp
  • Statistics for market research using R
  • Store digitalisation
  • Strategising: new online business models
  • Consumer behavior and identity in a digital world
  • Ethics in data driven world
  • CRM, data platforms and marketing
  • Data visualisation

You can find the program structure, which includes all the courses taught each semester, here.


PD: Regarding the mix between digital marketing and data science, how much time will be spent teaching each area separately?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: An equal amount of time will be spent studying both areas during the first semester. In the second semester the students will select elective courses specific to the specific track of their choice (digital marketing or data science). During this semester two courses will be mandatory and their aim is to create a bridge between the two disciplines. In the third semester, students  will have the opportunity to choose their specialization (in digital marketing or data science), participate in a project for a company and enlarge their horizons with Asian perspectives. The courses in this third semester will be in Shanghai and the students will have the possibility to further deepen their knowledge in an international environment.


PD: Are there any tie-ups with companies to do live projects during the course?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: Yes, during their last semester in Shanghai, all students will have to complete an in-company project. Combining academic knowledge with practical, real-life business challenges is key to the future success of our students. Therefore, the MSc in Digital Marketing & Data Science includes business projects for a sponsor company and in-company internships.

The Business Project is a key module of the Shanghai experience. Students will work for a company on a real project. Working on these business projects will help students to:

  • Gain first-hand experience of turning an idea into a tangible project – while benefiting from the comfort of a supporting structure,
  • Learn intercultural skills, navigate different businesses and cultural environments,
  • Build a network


PD: Is this a full-time or part-time course? How will it be delivered?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: This is a full-time course that will take place over 16 months. The first two semesters will take place at emlyon business school Paris campus (France). In November you will benefit from a learning trip to Boston: a unique opportunity to discover how and why Boston is a privileged spot to innovate and create value.

Students will spend their last semester in Shanghai (China). That semester includes an in-company project (a project, based on a real problem faced by a company in the digital industry). You will work as a consultant for a real company, apply the knowledge gained throughout the program, and benefit from hands-on experience in an international environment.


PD: Is there any placement assistance provided to the students?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: emlyon business school has a specific careers services department that helps you prepare for your future career, and develop your professional network. A team of experts will provide you with continual support in identifying career goals, developing action plans to achieve them as well as support you in your internship and job search.


PD: When is the next batch starting and how do candidates enroll themselves?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: The next intake will be in September 2018. Selection sessions for the 2018 intake run are from November 2017 to July 2018. The first step of the admission process is your online application, which you can access through your personal space (program dashboard).

Should your application be complete, you will receive the admission board’s final decision within 15 working days.


PD: What is the total course fee (including accommodation) for French residents and international students?

Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois: The tuition fees is 24,000 euros (Pricing is for the 2018 intake. All indicated fees include tuition, enrolment fees and lifelong membership of emlyon business school forever alumni network.)

The application fees is €120.

All financing information can be found on our website.


PD: Thanks, Ms. Pagani and Mr. Levallois for taking out the time for this interview. We hope our community will find the information helpful.


This sponsored post has been written by Analytics Vidhya on behalf of, and with inputs from, emlyon business school.

Note: This post was updated on 12th April, 2018 to reflect some changes in the course.


Pranav Dar 04 Oct, 2018

Senior Editor at Analytics Vidhya. Data visualization practitioner who loves reading and delving deeper into the data science and machine learning arts. Always looking for new ways to improve processes using ML and AI.

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