Technology

Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, NFT: Web3 Comes to Business Schools

In the 10th arrondissement, behind the walls of the former Manoir de Paris, Art Deco mosaics stand out in brand-new amphitheatres. Albert’s school opened less than three months ago and the building still smells of fresh paint. “In a technology-transformed world, you need people who understand both the business world and its technical challenges. The genesis of the project is to break the line between commerce and data,” concludes 28-year-old Grégoire Genest, founder of the school, at the turn of the main staircase under construction.

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A former student at the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand, a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, then a trader in New York, Grégoire Genest is one of the winners of Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 competition for 2019. In 2021, together with two comrades, Mathieu Schimple and Mathieu Ertel, they created the Albert School, the cost of which varies from 12,000 euros per year for a bachelor’s degree to 14,000 euros for a master’s degree.

The Albert School, invested in by businessman Xavier Neil, boss of Free and creator of School 42 (an individual shareholder of Le Monde), is one of the newer business schools that are betting on teaching Web3 to the next generation. This Internet of the future includes the Metaverse — a virtual world in which Meta (formerly Facebook) is investing heavily — cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology that allows information to be stored and exchanged securely without intermediaries.

Polytechnic and HEC

If mere mortals don’t have a dematerialized wallet to invest in virtual works (NFTs) or don’t spend their free time in the metaverse, companies have already started moving to Web3. Carrefour, Adidas, LVMH… There are so many big names who believe in the possibility of an economic model for this virtual universe. It makes sense that business schools are adapting: HEC has launched a Web3 hackathon, Essec is organizing conferences on the subject, and more schools are offering masterclasses or specialized courses on decentralized finance. Even Polytechnique has noticed interest in it: the Palaiseau (Essonne) campus has been offering a diploma dedicated to blockchain technology since November. For these schools, responsible for training the economic elite of tomorrow, Web3 is naturally a sector to study.

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Laurie Jacot is one of the people who introduced these topics to HEC: a trained engineer organized the first Web3 hackathon (a kind of innovation competition) dedicated to Web3 as part of a great business school, as well as an MBA Blockchain Club student club. The event was liked by HEC, who asked him to develop his activities. “We felt that interest was growing strongly: we organized conferences, a dozen “talks”, several hackathons. The school has done a lot so that it can continue,” clarifies one who has been interested in these technologies since 2020. The club’s mission is not only to educate young people about Web3, but also to “connect with the business,” he adds. . HEC club partners include the Swiss from Crypto Valley, or Paris Blockchain Week, a major event supported by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

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