What learning to code made me realize about higher education

One month ago, I was presenting a prototype of my product on my very last day at Le Wagon (Le Wagon). Besides the great satisfaction of having built from scratch a working prototype of my product in 2 weeks only, those 9 intensive weeks in full-stack web-development left me a particular feeling. The feeling to have truly completed my curriculum in business school (Solvay).

When Ernest Solvay created this Business School a bit more than one century ago, his goal was to form people skilled in both business and technological fields. The perfect synthesis between a business and a technical person.

Ernest Solvay in his Brussels’ office. Credit: Solvay.

104 years later, this philosophy is still up-to-date, and maybe even more crucial than ever… except that the technical skills required in 1903 are not quite the same as the one we expect in 2017. When we think about a “technical-guy” in today’s world, what comes top to our mind is not someone skilled in industrial chemistry. Unfortunately, the emphasis is still put on physical science such as physics and chemistry even though few students graduated from Solvay eventually end up in an industrial company where those skills are really appreciated.

On the opposite, digital technology will play a major role in the career of today’s young graduates, whether they’ll decide to follow a corporate or entrepreneurial path. It’s a pity that most students graduating from Solvay today can balance a redox equation but don’t master the technologies that will shape tomorrow’s world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that no initiative has been taken and it’s especially because I consider Solvay as a leading business school that I push them to innovate. After all, it’s there that I learnt that incumbents should take risks and innovate in order to stay at the top :-).