Norwegian-born former Political Science student Terje Espedal and Indian-born former Engineering student Imran Gaffur embody the many qualities of emlyon's MSc in Data Management & Data Science, a program that is designed to instil a hybrid set of skills within a diverse student cohort. From vastly different geographical, cultural, and academic backgrounds, they now face the same challenge of acquiring the necessary marketing intelligence and technical know-how to forge a career in a world driven increasingly by digital marketing, Artificial Intelligence, and data science.

Why the choice of emlyon business school and this MSc? Which one “came first”, the school or the program? To what extent did your educational background influence your choice?

Terje: “I was swayed by the combination of Digital Marketing and Data science, which is quite unique. The school's reputation as a top business school was also an important factor, not forgetting the focus on the Asian region. The program offers all of these, so it was the top choice for me and the prime reason, followed by the school itself. I really enjoyed the statistics and data analysis parts of my previous degree, hence in part my choice of MSc, plus coming from a non-business background I also wanted a more business-oriented degree to give myself an edge on the job market.

Imran: “The hybrid nature of the course was key. The Digital Marketing aspect was my foundational skill which I wanted to build upon with Data Science. For me personally, the course came first. This unique program wasn't available anywhere else, plus my background in Civil Engineering and previous work experience also influenced me in my choice of MSc”.

Did you already have a potential career or job in mind before beginning the MSc?

Terje: “I definitely had more of a data scientist role in mind before starting the program, and that still remains my main goal. Over the course of the MSc, I've become more familiar with other roles like data engineering, data consulting and more hybrid digital marketing roles, and now I would consider all of these for my future career”.

Imran: “Yes. I chose this course to become a Product Marketing Manager, a role that requires both Marketing and Technology literacy in a SaaS/Technology company. The skills acquired in this MSc further solidified and justified this decision”.

What have been the most valuable, the most surprising and the most challenging aspects of the program so far? What learnings do you think you will apply the most in your future career?

Terje: “I would say the most valuable aspect of the program has definitely been the people and the community, from my classmates to the program directors. It's a rare opportunity to participate in a program with so many nationalities, and I highly value all the connections I've made. The most surprising part has been the career services. I've never experienced such a comprehensive career service, and it's proven extremely valuable so far. For me, the most challenging (but also rewarding) part has been the business side to studies, like for instance learning how to create a business plan for the first time. I think the ability to think strategically and critically about data both within and outside digital marketing is something I will apply the most in my future career. We often hear that data is the new oil, but like oil, data needs to be processed and distilled in order to provide value and meaning, so having a strategic mindset is key”.

Imran: “The most valuable aspect has been the international make-up of the cohort, which has enabled me to work with people across multiple cultures. What surprised me the most was the depth in which we explored technical subjects. In fact, I'd say this was the main challenge that actually made the program more ‘fun'. Objectively speaking, this program built up my technical competency and I am now far more confident when it comes to building dashboards and writing large SQL queries. Being familiar with disruptive technologies like Blockhain and AI/ML will give me an edge as a Product Marketer”.

What advice would you give to prospective students considering emlyon and this MSc?

Terje: “emlyon and the MSc in Data Management & Data Science will give you the knowledge and career tools you need if you are willing to put in the effort. You will come out of the program with a large amount of valuable knowledge, great friends and community and the skills to navigate a complex job market”.

Imran: “Come with an open mind and be prepared to work hard. The MSc is one of the best of its kind, but it doesn't come easy. Also, get familiar with the extremely helpful Program Director and emlyon's Career Centre”.