Conscious of the pressing need for companies to recruit change managers aware of the technological, ecological, and societal needs to do business more sustainably, emlyon has provided the perfect response with the launch of a new program. The new MSc in Leading Sustainable Transformations will welcome its first cohort of 25 students in September 2024 for an intensive 18-month learning experience. Professor of Strategy and Director of this new program Vincent Giolito explains the thinking behind the new MSc, the goals, and what students can expect.

What student profile(s) is this program aimed at?

Vincent Giolito: Primarily in the 23–25-year age bracket, with at least a year of prior professional experience and Bachelor’s-level studies behind them. The curriculum will be delivered entirely in English, so linguistic competency is essential. Diversity will be key to the first cohort, in terms of achieving a good gender balance but also by welcoming applicants from all manner of educational backgrounds – we have received dossiers from students of Philosophy, the Arts, Business, entrepreneurs… You name it, we have received it! The quality of applications so far has been top-notch, but we will remain highly selective, sticking to a first cohort of 25 outstanding students.

What are the main motives behind creating the MSc?

“Companies undergoing significant change are crying out for graduate project managers capable of steering corporate transformation strategies on various levels – from the core business of a company and the technologies it employs to the rising environmental and societal stakes faced by all. They need socially conscious young professionals who are agile with digital technology such as AI, self-aware and socially aware enough to drive through inclusivity policies, and able to communicate effectively and with sensitivity whilst showing the way forward.”


“On this latter point, leadership and soft skills are key elements to the curriculum that we want to develop in them. As regards the students themselves, we have observed that the up-and-coming generation has a clear desire to change the world but isn’t entirely sure how to go about it. We feel that by devising this new MSc program, we will respond in part to this need and objective.

How will the program respond to these needs in terms of course content?

“We took a conscious decision to consult a few companies when designing the program, to check it met with industry requirements. We have consequently come up with a curriculum that is broad in scope, covering areas such as supply chain, the environment, new technologies, sociology, leadership, and transversal management, to name a few. To provide a certain focus, students will conduct a Red Thread project throughout the year, for which the theme for the first cohort will be Travel. This will entail a year-long case study, establishing connections between the economic, societal, environmental, digital, and organizational transformations of a particular sector in a consulting role.“


“To broaden their horizons, the cohort will benefit from study trips to Amsterdam and Brussels during the first two semesters, which they will otherwise be spending on emlyon’s Paris campus. The third semester will be spent entirely abroad, in the first year’s case in London in tandem with a renowned interdisciplinary school. It is at this point that we will up the ante on the Red Thread project, which will see them devise and present their capstone project via creation of a website for which they will benefit from expert mentoring.”

What kinds of skills are you seeking to hone within students?

“Fundamental transversal management is key in many areas, but we also want to pay due attention to how they work, hence the time that will be dedicated to research skills and work methodologies. Communications and the art of persuasion will also be essential competences on which we will work with them. I mentioned before that Leadership will be one of the pillars on which the program is based – to support his, we will collaborate closely with the students on their self-awareness, ability to lead a project and organization, and the capacity to help others. To work upon the sustainable transformation of a company requires far more than just business acumen, so all these skills are key to successfully driving through a transformation for a company undergoing and/or in need of major change.”

In what kinds of roles will they be able to apply these learnings in the future?

“In terms of job prospects, successful completion of the program should open a great many doors, to positions such as CSR Project Manager, Sustainable Development Consultant, Digital Project & Change Manager, ESG Analyst, or Climate Risk Analyst, to name a few. The companies whose brains we picked while setting up the program confirmed that corporations of all sizes are in desperate need of recruitment profiles with the wide palette of skills that graduates of the MSc in Leading Sustainable Transformations will have to offer. There is a clear desire from the younger generation to do business differently and a clear awareness from corporations that change has to come. By launching this program, we hope to make our own contribution to this much-needed shift in the corporate world.”