Executive Program in Marketing and Digitalization: a dual business and managerial expertise

Marketing and digital marketing professions are evolving rapidly. Over the past fifteen years, new professions have emerged, and others are still to come. As a result, more and more executives are feeling the need not only to upgrade their professional expertise, but also to develop their managerial expertise, in order to bridge a real professional gap. Pierrine GRIFFITHS, Academic Director of the Executive Program in Marketing and Digitalization, explains the program’s specific features and how it meets the expectations of future graduates and companies alike.

Pierrine Griffiths

First things first: what is an Executive Program and who is it for?

An Executive Program is a Bac+6 diploma accredited by the Conférence des Grandes Écoles, enabling you to acquire cutting-edge expertise in a particular field. It is therefore a continuing education program aimed at people who are already working and who want to take their career to the next level, by gaining both business and managerial expertise. The program lasts 12 months, and is built around a schedule of 3 days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) of face-to-face classes every three weeks, on our Paris – La Défense campus, so as to be able to combine professional life and education.

We launched the Executive Master in Marketing and Digitalization 5 years ago, and welcomed our 6th class in October. The average age of participants is 40, so they have around 15 to 20 years of professional experience behind them. The diversity of profiles (participants come from a wide range of business sectors, including retail, banking/insurance, recruitment and training, energy, consulting, pharmaceutical laboratories, real estate, agri-food, automotive, etc.) creates a real richness in exchanges and sharing of experience.

With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and the acceleration of technological development, the digital marketing professions are evolving very rapidly. Why is this Executive Program perfect for experts and companies alike?

The marketing and digital professions are constantly evolving and changing at an ever-faster pace. We could even say that they have become new professions, as the tools, strategies and tactics have evolved, become more complex and interconnected with other corporate functions.

Our participants, who are often Marketing Managers, Project Managers, Communication Managers, E-Commerce Managers or Webmarketing Directors, face these changes on a daily basis. They have therefore chosen our program to learn how to better grasp these changes, anticipate future developments and turn them into opportunities.

We provide support to all marketing, communication and e-commerce professionals, whether they are already working or in transition, to develop their expertise in marketing strategy, digital marketing and management. The managerial dimension is fundamental, since our participants generally aim for director-level positions within boards of directors, and it is therefore essential that they are recognized for their ability to federate all stakeholders, to lead strategic projects for the company and to contribute to the sustainable performance of their company and their team, as manager-leaders with a strong focus on people.

In concrete terms, what and how do participants in this program learn?

We have built the course content around 4 key modules. Firstly, and this is the technical expertise they come for: “Being a Marketing and Digital Expert and Managing a Marketing Department”. Participants will learn, or brush up on, everything to do with Brand, E-Commerce, CRM, omnichannel marketing, digital communication and advertising, webanalytics and data-mining.

Next, an essential notion for the company: “Becoming the company’s key Business Partner”: participants will work on corporate strategies and innovative Business Models, CSR and how to introduce the marketing dimension into these models, thanks to the new agile Project Management methods.

Then the innovation dimension will play a major role, with the “Innovating and Developing New Activities” module: this is also what we’re asking them to do. Here, courses will focus on innovation, international development, business planning and, of course, artificial intelligence.

And finally, the managerial dimension, essential for them to move to the next level: “Managing and Becoming a Leader”. We’ll be talking about collective performance, personal development, management and leadership, and change management.

Promotion 2023 – Executive Mastère Spécialisé® Marketing & Digital
et Commercial & Business Development

How do you teach all this?

First of all, we draw on the richness of the participants’ profiles. The variety of their professional backgrounds and experiences already makes for fascinating sharing of experiences, and a wealth of exchanges and interactions between each person… We’re not in the top-down approach to teaching, especially with these profiles. We have set up an innovative teaching method, half of which is taught by IÉSEG professors and researchers, and the other half by business professionals, recognized for their expertise in the field. Our teaching principle: practical application. Case studies, serious games, role-playing, visits to innovative companies, testimonials and experience sharing: in every course, theory is immediately put into perspective.

As I said, the program was launched 5 years ago. That’s both a short time and a long time in these fast-moving professions. Every year, we rely on feedback from graduates, their companies and all the professionals involved in this Master’s program to review, rework and update the program’s content. We are constantly challenging ourselves and our partner companies, because we really want to make sure that our Executive Mastère Spécialisé® meets the needs and expectations of the market. So, 2 years ago, we added a strong CSR dimension to our teaching, because companies were expecting their Marketing Departments to know how to adapt to new consumer behaviors, and to have notions of eco-design, sustainability… We were already instilling this through a few courses, but we realized during our exchanges with companies that we needed to go further, so that’s what we did. Today, companies and participants are asking us to integrate more and more data and artificial intelligence, as this has become an essential aspect of digital marketing.

Our aim is not necessarily for our graduates to become experts in all these fields: we train them to understand these tools and these new trends, to understand their usefulness, and above all to know how to manage teams who, themselves, are experts in these fields. Above all, they need a global understanding, a strategic vision, the right language…

The power of the Executive Program in Marketing and Digitalization lies in its enhanced, personalized career support…

That’s right: we have recently added extensive career support as an integral part of the program itself. Personalized follow-up by coaches who are experts in the target business or sector, co-development network workshops, courses with participants from other Specialized Masters to develop their networks… We’ve worked hard to flesh out this personal and professional development dimension. We’re always ready to listen to our participants, and to respond to their needs and concerns.

Finally, in order to graduate, participants must also defend a professional thesis: what does it involve?

This professional thesis is the ” capstone project ” for each participant. It starts right at the beginning of the curriculum, with methodological workshops to help them grasp the scientific approach to research. Then, they focus on a strategic problem encountered by their company, in order to propose concrete solutions based on this rigorous scientific research approach. Each participant then presents his or her work to a panel of judges, explaining the solutions adopted so that the companies ultimately implement these managerial recommendations. For example, a specialist retailer asked how to overcome the obstacles to implementing a business model based on the circular economy, while a bank asked its manager to think about how to move from a sales organization focused on its products to a corporate vision focused on its customers… Some may also have plans to set up a new company.

Today, there are numerous programs in Digital Marketing. How is this Executive Program in Marketing and Digitalalization different from others?

The distinction lies in both the content and the pedagogical approach of the program. What’s more, few programs focus as we do on this dual expertise, both business and managerial/leadership. That’s unique and highly appreciated when it comes to taking this career step. In addition, participants join the entire IÉSEG ecosystem from the very first day of their program: the alumni network of one of France’s top management schools, which offers numerous events, conferences with our inspiring corporate partners, networking activities, Coding training sessions with Le Wagon, Incubator services…

The Executive Program in Marketing and Digitalization requires graduates to be present on the La Défense campus, as this fosters group emulation and esprit de corps. What also makes this program so valuable is the diversity of profiles, the bonds that participants create with each other, and the collective strength that emerges from the group and helps them to go all the way. Let’s be clear: we’re demanding, we require a strong commitment from participants, and it’s not always easy to go back to school. There’s a lot of work to be done (in groups during the course, and individually afterwards), on top of your job and family life… It takes courage, and you need everyone’s support. But in the end, everyone is so proud of what they’ve achieved together, the transformation is often instantaneous and the professional springboard for the future is in place!

Testimonial – Sophie DUGELAY-LACH, Consulting Director and Founder of Socentric

When I decided to go back to school, I was looking for a holistic training program that would prepare me for all the disciplines required to become the general manager of a BU or to set up my own business. I had no hesitation in choosing IÉSEG’s Executive Program in Marketing and Digitalization. Renowned for its academic rigor and commitment to innovation, IÉSEG offers teaching that goes far beyond mere theory.

This program not only provided me with the technical tools in key areas such as strategic and digital marketing, finance, innovation or human resources management. It has above all taught me to think differently.
The work involved in writing the thesis was also crucial, and it enabled me to work on an in-depth subject over a long period of time. It was a wonderful opportunity. This ability to “think outside the box” and the self-confidence I gained was decisive in the choice I made, in the summer of 2022, to set up my consulting and training agency.

I very often measure the impact of this training on my strategic vision and leadership, making my choice of IESEG’s Executive Program one of the wisest decisions of my career path.

*Socentric is a consulting and training firm whose mission is to provide holistic support to managers in their transformation challenges. Specializing in marketing, sales performance, organizational management and HR strategy, Socentric fuses academic and operational expertise to transform each strategic vision into concrete, meaningful action.

IÉSEG's 60th Anniversary Badge