Interview with J.-F. Petiot (former Lecturer in Statistics, Vannes – France)

Interview with J.-F. Petiot (former Lecturer in Statistics, Vannes – France)

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Interview with J.-F. Petiot (former Lecturer in Statistics, Vannes – France)

Subtitle in English

Interview with Jean-François Petiot who taught Statistics at the university of Vannes :

  • Discussion on the DUT STID degree which is a 2-year degree after the baccalaureate. STID stands for Statistics and Business Intelligence
  • Discussion on the opportunities to study and/or complete a placement year abroad
  • Discussion on the opportunities to conduct one more year to get a bachelor (licence professional) in 1/ Statistics and Marketing, 2/ Biostatistics and IT, 3/ Development of business solutions including SAS programming language.

Interview with Jean-François Petiot who taught Statistics at the university of Vannes


[Véronique,]  Welcome in to this new video of
Today, I’m in South Brittany (in France) and to be more precise, I’m in Vannes.
I’m going to meet Jean-Français Petiot who will present us the DUT STID (Diplôme Universitaire Technologique, Statistique et Informatique Décisionnelle is a two years French degree).

[Véronique,]  Good morning Jean-François!

[Jean-François Petiot,] Good morning!


[Véronique,]  Could you introduce yourself to the audience?


[Jean-François Petiot,] Yes.

First of all, let’s explain what STID means, as you mentioned it. It means Statistics and Business Intelligence (STatistique et Informatique Décisionnelle)

Who am I? I’m a senior lecturer in Statistics. Well, I’ve just stopped. I was there for 31 years.
Before that, I was a university hospital assistant at the University Hospital Center (CHU, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire). I was the statistician of a CHU in Caen for 7 years.
I got here in 1985. I was recruited to develop the teaching and the opportunities of this department in the areas of health and the pharmaceutical industry.

So. That’s it. I was a senior lecturer in Statistics.

[Véronique,]   In second year, right?

[Jean-François Petiot,] You’re right! I was teaching the second years (of DUT STID) and students who study one more year to get a Licence (Bachelor).

In fact, a 2-year degree is not anymore the standard in French universities. Now we are more talking about Bachelor, Master and PhD.

So, we created a degree called Licence in universities (IUT – Institut Universitaire Technologique) to reach the Bachelor level.

So, I was in charge of creating a Bachelor, going back to my first passions, so to say; it is called Statistique et Informatique pour la Santé with opportunities in hospitals, pharmaceutical industry, epidemiology,…

[Véronique,]  Let’s go back to STID: who are the students joining STID? What kind of baccalaureate do they have?

[Jean-François Petiot,] Students who join STID have either a Scientific baccalaureate (Bac S) or an Economics and Social Sciences baccalaureate (Bac ES) usually with a Maths option.

It can happen to have There can be some students with a Technological Baccalaureate (by opposition to the General Baccalaureate mentioned previously).

There are also people who got the baccalaureate earlier. They first attended some other university courses searching for their path during which they found out about us; they manage to catch up with university courses here although they had failed previously.

[Véronique,]   How are organised those two years organised at the university?

[Jean-François Petiot,] For a few years now, the French university teaching system is has been based on semesters; which means that we don’t work with trimesters anymore. We work with semesters.

So each semester is validated by a jury.

It is possible to fail one semester and to go to the next semester.

The next semester must, a posteriori, make up for the previous one. So, in that case, it is possible to carry on with the semester… : after the 2nd semester, the 3rd semester, and so on.

Students don’t have to re-do the whole year; it means that someone can…

Attend the 1st semester. Complete it successfully.
Go on to the 2nd semester. The semester is not successfully completed but the student can still attend the 3rd semester.

If the 3rd semester balances out by the 2nd semester, then the student stays in ; which means that he can go into the 4th semester and finish the second year.
If the 3rd semester is not balanced out by the 2nd semester, then the student goes back to the 2nd semester. But the 2nd semester is the second part of the academic year. We go from the first part of the second year to the second part of the first year. This way, there is no need to work again on the basics taught during the beginning of the first year.


That’s it! That’s how it works now.

[Véronique,]   Are placements still in place?

[Jean-François Petiot,] Sure! Placements are mandatory.

It’s in the regulations. Technological University Institutes work with specialisations.

So, here we have Statistics and Business Intelligence (STatistique et Informatique Décisionnelle).

Each specialisation has a national pedagogical program which is controlled and validated by a national pedagogical commission at the Ministry which I belonged to for 10 years or so.

So, in theory (I’ll explain why later), we have all the same program. I say in theory because actually we can have a few variations. Locally, we have the right to go a bit further into one topic than another.  We can give a bit more weight to some aspects. But it remains marginal.


What are the differences between the various departments?

It could be a question people would have if they want to apply to the STID department, because there are 12 of them in France. So, there is the website : which lists all the departments in France.


Differences can come from the networks of each department. The social and economic environment which surrounds it can lead to discrepancies. For example, there is a STID department in Grenoble. Grenoble belongs to the Rhône-Alpes regions. It is quite industrial. So, there will be jobs and placements there. Teachers will have connections with the chemical industry, with industries more than in Vannes which is more into services.

So, even if the program is the same, the teachers are not. Each teacher brings his own story. For me, it was my university hospital story. And so, obviously, I had a network in the health area. Depending on the teachers, their stories, their network, we get differences between departments.
So, we end up with departments being well known in given business lines in France. For instance, Vannes is well known in the health sector.
But, we are also quite well known in the marketing area. It relates to another bachelor called Licence Statistique décisionnelle en marketing we have here.
And, we are also well known in the applications with the SAS® software. The STID department will celebrate its 45th anniversary in 2017. It was probably the first STID department to introduce SAS® in its courses in the 80s. At that time very few people knew about SAS®. We also have a degree specialised in business intelligence tools including SAS® (Licence Conception des solutions décisionnelles).

So, that’s  what is called department specificities. I think a good way to see the department specificities is to look into “licences” (bachelor) which were developed. It shows which segments have the most potential and are the most developed.

[Véronique,]  Some students go abroad. Can you tell us what are the opportunities to study in England?

[Jean-François Petiot,] Yes.

Well, in fact, it worked very well with England for about 15 years.

We developed a connection with the university you attended, Sheffield Hallam University which was a former Polytechnic School before being converted into a university called Sheffield Hallam. The increase in tuition fees is the issue we have with universities in England. With the Brexit, it might be worthwhile for French students. It worked well for around 15 years. But, currently, students from STID Vannes are sent to Scotland where tuitions fees in Edinburgh are moderate.

[Véronique,] And the name of the university is…

[Jean-François Petiot,] Heriot-Watt.

[Véronique,]   How many students have you got there this year? One or two?

[Jean-François Petiot,] At Heriot-Watt… it’s around 4 or 5 maybe per year. It depends on… Student groups have dynamics. There are years with few people are interested in going abroad and there are years where lots of people are interested. It can go from 2 to 5 or to 7. There are lots of placements in Canada too.

[Véronique,]   So, do people go directly to Scotland after STID or do they first go on placement abroad?

[Jean-François Petiot,] Sheffield Hallam, what we did with Sheffield Hallam is like this. Sheffield had a Bachelor in 4 years including two years studying, one sandwich year on placement and 1 year studying.

So, in fact, the partnership we had was that the first two years studying at the Technological University Institute were taken as equivalent of the first two years of the Bachelor.
So students with a DUT STID were going on placement abroad in an English speaking country and this year was counted as a sandwich year at Sheffield Hallam.
And then, they were going to Sheffield for the 4th year ; so the final year. They got a Bachelor in 4 years.

But that does not exist with England anymore.

[Véronique,]  Yes, moreover, the degree in Applied Statistics doesn’t exist anymore at Sheffield Hallam due to a lack of students interested in it. They changed it for a BSc in Computing and Statistics.

[Véronique,]  One last question: how much programming is included in the STID degree? This question is for people who would consider becoming a SAS® programmer.

[Jean-François Petiot,] Well, in fact, if you look at the pedagogical program of the DUT, you would notice that statistics and computing have a fairly balanced number of hours. What makes STID interesting is that graduates have a double competence. So, he is not a statistician who cannot program a single line of code and he is not a programmer who has no clue about statistics. This is quite valued by companies because, even if one side is more developed than the other later on during further courses or at work, having the culture and having the knowledge about what’s happening on the other side (in computing and in statistics) improves the communication between colleagues and makes his own work easier.

However, this degree remains fairly general in the sense that there are courses in economics, business administration, communication, English which allow, because it is nowadays just an intermediate degree, to go to a business school.

So, people end up with a fairly scientific background. But it’s still fairly open. And we have a variety of jobs in the end when students are done with university which goes from managing an antenna of the Red Cross® to being a biostatistician at Sanofi® or becoming a financial controller at Airbus®.

[Véronique,]  Is there anything else you would like to share with the audience? Some advice to give? or…?

[Jean-François Petiot,] I would say that Technical University Institutes never had the image of a prestigious school.

And… it’s sad because there are people who don’t look enough into them. We frequently recrute people who know about the system, who have had friends, kids, family, and so on who came there before.

And this system has the great quality of having a very good follow-up of students and delivering a high quality level in the sense that…. we don’t just teach cooking recipes. We try to have enough theoretical teaching for people to be able to study further. But we also try to be enough into the practice for people to be operational straight away. So, I think it is a specificity of our departments in the Technical University Institute: being able to offer to students the opportunity to be both practical enough and theoretical enough at the same time.

[Véronique,]  Thank you very much for your time.
See you soon in another video on


[Véronique,] I hope you like this video. See you soon.


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Interview carried out by Véronique Bourcier,, October 2016

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