About

General presentation

This blog is a part of a wide and ambitious educational program about Web Strategies and Development given at École Centrale de Nantes (one of the top french engineering schools). It describes the various projects that are led by both students and teachers, in partnership with innovative and dynamic companies.

A Few Facts

The Web Strategies and Development courses take place between February and May. During this semester long program, students have the opportunity to develop a sound understanding of current web marketing techniques and to put these techniques into practice through real professional missions undertaken with our partners. All courses are given in English.

This program results from a joint collaboration between the Communication, Foreign Languages and Corporate Culture Department and the Computer Science and Mathematics Department. The teachers involved are :

Goals

We wanted to create a course that would allow our students to gain competence in Web marketing in an international environment. Obviously, the first objective is to give the students the competence that they need in Web Marketing and Strategy but beyond that it will also provide them with the strategic tools which are indispensable as they climb the executive ladder.

Students’ projects

General organization

The students form groups of 4 students and they look for a web marketing and development project. The projects will be launched in February and the work should be completed by April or May. The students spend 160h working on the project – it’s an important part of their course. The companies and organizations  who offer projects (referred to as  “partners”) are expected to work with the students from February to the end of April. Our partners are free to set their own pace (face-to-face meetings or telephone meetings, email exchanges, etc.). The student groups are tutored by 2 Ecole Centrale professors (one in marketing and one in computer science). These professors guide the students in their work. All partners are invited to the assessment session at the end of term: the students present their projects in front of a jury. If partners cannot make it to the assessment session, they are expected to give us feedback on the students’ work. After the evaluation, the students do not carry on working on the projects. If our partners wish to carry on with the collaboration, this must take place in a different context (through http://centralenantesetudes.fr/, for example). The partners need to bear in mind that the students cannot be considered as professional partners: the projects are pedagogical projects. We do hope however that the collaboration between students and partners is beneficial to both.

Target companies and organizations

As teachers, we try to provide leads thanks to our many contacts with companies… any company visiting this blog is welcome to suggest project leads. This is actually the main objective of this blog: helping students, companies or possible outside partners to liaise. All companies, small, large, medium-sized are eligible for this project. Non-profit organizations are welcome as well.

So once a group of student has found a possible lead, the students sit down with their potential partner and define the project in finer detail.
We are always available if they need help in the process but it is their responsibility to define the projects and submit it to us. We validate it, then the students are expected to spend 160 hours per student on the project.

Nature of a project

The projects can include a wide range of tasks. If the students are starting from scratch, creating a web site will include working out all of the elements of the marketing strategy in relation to the website: what are the targets?, what is the objective of each page?, what is the data capturing mechanism that we want to put into place?, how do we create a link with the CRM database, etc.
The students can also be involved in improving existing systems or generating more online traffic through emailing, e-advertising, affiliate programs…

From a technical point of view, once the web pages have been defined, it’s a matter of developing them, defining the arborescence, importing the graphic design, etc. The students also give hosting recommendations. They work on SEO – search engine optimization, they work on Web analytics because analyzing stats is an important part of devising web strategies. They also have the competence to go into a whole range of things from installing online payment systems to CRM systems.

Further information

If you have any questions or ideas, we encourage potential partners to post comments on this blog. All comments are welcome and we hope people can explore the possibility of offering a project by raising questions.

Contact

For further information, you can e-mail us at Christine.Evain [at] ec-nantes.fr or Morgan.Magnin [at] irccyn.ec-nantes.fr

Legal issues

Editors: Simon Carolan, Christine Evain, Morgan Magnin, Christine Réveillaud
Web hosting service: École Centrale de Nantes / Guillaume Moreau (IT Director)

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