Fifty years on, but what is the legacy of the year 1968? In France, a somewhat faded memory of the events that took place in May, a social and libertarian springtime, a revolutionary flame we’d still like to feel burning within us? The spirit of a time of unrest, opposing two clashing societal visions, a turning point which witnessed the world toppling towards the liberalisation of morals, constraints, and changing patterns of consumption…?
In France, indeed across the globe, 1968 represents a pivotal year of which the events proved to be an almost immeasurable accelerator of history. Revolts and popular uprisings, from the Prague Spring to the defiant raised fists of Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium in Mexico, right through to the assassination of Martin Luther King. But there were also socio-cultural ruptures (Led Zeppelin was formed in ‘68) and major breakthroughs (first heart transplant in Europe performed by Professor Cabrol).
A wind of madness would appear to have been raging back in 1968, leaving a legacy which, to this day, remains difficult to quantify. Looking beyond these events, from their direct causes and consequences, we have gained new ways of viewing the world, seeds sown back at the end of the Sixties, which have generally grown into a positive legacy.
François-Xavier Bellamy, speaking recently at an Isègoria seminar held at Audencia, stated that “the May movement centres around one equation, which was at work across all socio-cultural backgrounds and now permeates all our contemporary society, telling us that freedom is an asset which comes directly under threat from authority.” This equation, which began to form with the spirit of May ’68, holds the key to unlocking the huge crisis of inequality facing schools today.
In other areas, particularly regarding gender equality, this pursuit of freedom has been turned into a genuine accelerator for societal transformation. The revolutions of yesteryear have paved the way for new revolutions: digital, ecological, gastronomical, etc. At times we are faced with a tormenting question: have we really taken huge leaps forward or are we just covering old ground?
These commemorations provide us with the opportunity to reflect on the past. However, in this issue of The Mag, a prelude to the “RevolutionS” conference, which is taking place on 3 July in Paris, we are intent on setting our sights firmly on the future and will be presenting modern revolutions, through the innovative eyes of the men and women involved in shaping tomorrow’s world.
Florence Alix-Gravellier, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Sylvie Davila (Exec MBA 10) belongs to the group of graduates holding a double degree and, although she initially had her sights set on a career in biology, she was converted to becoming an entrepreneur following her studies at the school. After obtaining a Doctorate in Biology along with a few years’ experience at Siemens Healthcare, in 2009 Sylvie Davila joined the Executive MBA programme, with a view to developing her managerial skills. Eighteen months down the line saw her armed with a greater understanding of the entire range of business professions and a burning desire to set up her own start-up.
She went on to hone her concept over the next seven years spent working with Keosys, an SME based in Nantes, where she specialised in medical imaging.
Setting up a company is really a decision that takes time to come to fruition”, she states clearly from the outset, while acknowledging "that after 15 years" professional experience, it is hard to leave behind the comfort of being a salaried employee with the regular paycheque and status that comes with it.
Since September 2017, Hera-Mi, the start-up that she heads up with the radiologist Bruno Scheffer has become part of the Centrale-Audencia-Ensa incubator. With the support of their R&D team, they are set to revolutionise breast cancer care which affects almost 55,000 women in France every year. The software tool they are developing, protected by patents, makes it possible to accelerate the radiological diagnosis of breast cancer and it will be presented to the profession in October during the French Day of Radiology.
In June 2017, the start-up entered the capital of the Institut de Cancérologie de l’Ouest, the Institute for Cancer Research in western France, and has just successfully raised capital for the second time with the input of Central Innovation, from the tripartite fund of Audencia Alumni, Audencia Business School, CCI Nantes Saint-Nazaire and its technical director. It is about to receive additional funding, to the tune of 500,000 euros, to strengthen its R&D team and implement its marketing and sales strategy.
The fact that the incubator is working alongside the project is confidence-inspiring to investors. Honorary loans, bank loans, and funding from the BPI, all contribute to supporting the fledgling company in its growth.
If she were to pass on some top tips to any students out there itching to set up their own business, Sylvie Davila would tell them to “go for it because there’s a whole ecosystem in place eager to help you establish whether you have a potential market and to let you know if your economic model has legs. As a young graduate, you have fewer financial constraints and no family depending on you, so just take the plunge, and don’t go thinking you’re too young!”
Caroline Lefévère, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Our planet is slowly dying. From ever depleting natural raw materials. From choking beneath a stifling mountain of waste. From our cities and seas bearing the brunt of pollution and being overrun with plastic. From countless other scourges besides. If it isn’t planet Earth, it’s humankind gradually poisoning itself a little more each passing day.
Fifty years ago we were on a quest for liberty, in an attempt to set ourselves free from anything and everything. It was “forbidden to forbid”. Today, our preoccupations have shifted dramatically: from full liberalisation to the rationalisation of consumption.
The struggle is far from over but there is indeed growing awareness now. This is especially true among the younger generation. Lifestyles have come round full circle. Time to exit the consumer society, pushed to the limits with its industrial and intensive farming and its throw-away society where everything is made of plastic. Farewell to plastic bags, bottles, wipes, and the like. Hello to organic produce, sustainable agriculture and responsible consumption. A new way of meeting our food needs is currently emerging, symbolised by flexitarianism (cutting down on meat and fish without necessarily giving them up). Vegetarianism and veganism is becoming increasingly popular and the war on food waste is gaining momentum.
Products are sourced locally: the web has given a real boost to short supply channels. We are sorting and composting our waste, and switching to renewable energies. We are turning our backs on pesticides, and have a mistrust of endocrine disruptors. We are limiting our consumption of products with built-in obsolescence, we are fixing things instead of buying off the shelf. We are purchasing second-hand goods, thanks to super-trendy apps. In 2018, we are consuming less but making better choices!
Audencians are at the very heart of this movement:
Our hope is that in fifty years from now, we will look back with pride at the progress made in the ecological realm. We’ll meet you back here in 2068 to find out if we made it!
In the meantime, join us on 3 July in Paris !
Amandine Luce, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
What if the ideals of equality and liberty encapsulated by May ’68 were in fact the major cause of the decline in the French education system and growing inequality in schools?
Our school system is now, as pointed out in a PISA study, the most inegalitarian of all the OECD countries, that is to say one where a student’s socio-economic background is a direct predictor of their educational achievement. At the same time, around 20% of young people are illiterate when they leave school.
In light of these findings, when Isegoria invited the philosopher François-Xavier Bellamy to the campus on 21 March to be their guest speaker, he challenged students to reflect on their educational legacy.
According to him, May ’68 brought into focus an equation which is obvious to everyone concerned: authority is a threat to our valued liberty. The greater the authority, the less freedom there is. The passing down of knowledge, intrinsically authoritarian, could be viewed as a yoke which imprisons and alienates man. This thinking, particularly poignant in an age where a simple Smartphone gives us direct access to a whole range of quasi limitless knowledge, knowledge may be regarded as alienating and cumbersome baggage.
Yet, for the philosopher this would be overlooking the fact that, unlike animals, man is a mediator: his freedom is made possible because someone else passed onto him the knowledge of how to accomplish that which is special and natural within him. Therefore, without the transference of knowledge there can be no real democracy. Given this, as a matter of urgency we should be rehabilitating this transfer of knowledge.
At a time when everyone is talking about managerial ethics, the idea of introducing ethics or philosophy-related courses at Audencia is gaining ground.
Why not? questions François Macé (GE 79), founding member of the Audencia des Dirigeants de l’Ouest Club, which brings together leaders in western France. “Many students have already studied philosophy in their final year of sixth-form and also during their studies for entry into the Grandes Ecoles. Pursuing this teaching at the school, by opening the way for courses on ethical leadership and conduct could enable students to hone their analytical and managerial skills for their future occupation. This would also mark new ground, breaking away from the current educational landscape of prestigious universities.
Caroline Lefévère, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
On April 23, Christophe Germain was appointed Dean of Audencia Business School [Read the nomination release]
“My pathway is closely linked to Audencia”
Christophe Germain is certainly no stranger to many alumni and friends of the school; he has been at Audencia for 15 years as a member of faculty, Deputy Director of the Grande Ecole Programme, Academic Dean and then Dean of Shenzhen Audencia Business School.
Since 2001, a generation of Audencians have attended his courses in management control or studied one of his many research projects on budgeting, performance measurement systems or the economic model of football clubs (read more here).
Throughout his journey, which he himself describes as “closely linked to that of the school”, Christophe Germain has demonstrated a deep attachment to Audencia, an in-depth knowledge of the higher education environment and a genuine connection to its stakeholders, especially alumni.
“After his successes developing SABS (Shenzhen Audencia Business School) in China and in his role of Vice Dean for more than 10 years, the decision to entrust the deanship to Christophe Germain for the next stages of the school’s development was an obvious one. Not only does he possess in-depth knowledge of the world of higher education and research with its complex ecosystem and codes, he also enjoys strong academic and pedagogical legitimacy, in France and abroad, both internally and externally,” said Laurent Métral, the school’s Chairman of the Board, when he announced Christophe Germain’s appointment as Dean.
Football as a research field
Christophe Germain holds a PhD from the University of Bordeaux IV and is a graduate of the IHEE (Institut des Hautes Etudes Economiques). He is perhaps less well known for his research work in sport, particularly around the financial health of Premier League clubs in England.
His recent contributions focusing on sporting issues and football in particular are plentiful. A few weeks after Neymar arrived at the Paris Saint-Germain football club, Christophe Germain published an analysis in the columns of Newstank.fr entitled “Is there a model to maximise the return on Neymar? I have my doubts!”
Christophe Germain enjoys a close relationship with the sports environment. This is reflected in his presence on the Academic Board of the FBA (The Football Business Academy) and his participation in several conferences, including the conference on “Research and Business in Sport: what research can bring to sport” last November in Paris, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the MS MOS (Specialised Master in Management of Sports Organisations).
Florence Alix-Gravellier, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Since last November, Audencia has received 2 awards honouring the quality of its digital ecosystem, of which we are all immensely proud:
So what sort of digital ecosystem do we have?
Following recent changes to our brand architecture and corporate identity, in July 2016 the number of Audencia’s websites skyrocketed from 1 to 35 with the purpose of allowing surfers, alumni, students, prospective students, teaching staff and partners to benefit from a user-centred experience, where each website is specifically tailored towards a target group.
Each department and each programme now has its own subdomain (e.g., bachelors.audencia.com, entreprises.audencia.com), hence its own content to run.
A few facts and figures, the Audencia galaxy comprises:
Therefore, it was necessary to build a simple and efficient ecosystem in order to boost content and deliver an improved web experience.
For the past couple of years we have concentrated on coming up with new tools:
We are counting on your continued support to help develop these tools and would love to hear from you, so please drop us a line.
Looking forward to meeting you online very soon,
Emmanuel Pierson, on behalf of the Audencia communication team
Want to land your dream job? Could a career change be on the horizon or maybe you just want to breathe new life into your present occupation and are looking for ways to improve or hone your skills? Professionals from continuing education are here to help evaluate your needs, goals and those of your company to see which training offering is right for you.
The Executive Education programme at Audencia Business School, underpinned by the school’s academic expertise, supports over 3,000 executives year-on-year in a wide range of business activities, such as: management, personal development, finance, business performance, communication and digital.
With a devout belief that innovation emerges at the intersection of disciplines and expertise, the school champions the hybridisation of skills to steer and train managers of the future, in an ever-changing digital world.
Audencia is fully aware that managers are under pressure with regard to their geographical limitations or time constraints, and so remains flexible when it comes to respecting a professional’s practical requirements, schedules, and need to be given extra leeway, so provide training which can be face-to-face, semi-attendance format, or 100% digital learning. In addition, the school is bringing in more formats: from MBA to customised training, short courses to diploma courses, available over five different campuses in Nantes, Paris, Beijing, Shenzhen and Algiers.
I set out to take my career to the next level by directly targeting a leadership position, so that’s why I chose the Exec MBA with Audencia Executive Education, states Paul Marcelin Njeujip Nana (Exec MBA 18). The distinctive hallmark of Audencia Executive Education is: digital transformation, customised courses and responsible leadership, he explains.
As for Véronique Bourgain (Exec MBA 17), Sales and Marketing Director in Paris, she would describe her expectations as follows:
I was looking to move on in my career and came to realise that what I needed was additional training to hone my skills, that’s why I decided to follow a course at Audencia, she then assesses the results: At the end of a year’s training, I felt that all the pieces of the puzzle were finally coming together and it all started to make sense. I succeeded in coming up with a clear-eyed vision which can be delivered directly and implemented in my company.
Caroline Lefévère, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
How do we prepare students for jobs which do not yet exist? In response to this fundamental question, the Centrale - Audencia - ENSA Alliance Nantes, Manpower Group and Orange have joined forces under the umbrella of The HR Forecasting Cirlcle to publish the 9th HR Forecasting Handbook on the hybridisation of skills.
This handbook is the fruit of shared reflections from 70 contributors including HR professionals and experts working alongside an economic forecaster. It is based on three main observations:
Given this context, how can we continue to foster excellence and offer adapted training in a world that is changing at such a ferocious pace?
As a matter of urgency, we need to bring to the fore these hybrid profiles which have the capacity to shape tomorrow’s world.
The taskforce at the origin of this handbook firstly worked on deconstructing certain popular misconceptions on hybrid personality types. It is commonly assumed that hybrid profiles are difficult to manage, ultra-connected, multi-skilled, and that they are quick learners of complex concepts.
On the contrary, this booklet teaches us that the hybrid profile is one which calls into play several forms of intelligence where the individual is an “expert” in being self-aware and has a mastery of interpersonal relations.
The handbook explores five factors for change which can be expected over the coming years: robotics, neurosciences, the quest for meaning, new forms of work organisation, and knowledge relations. In addition, it elaborates possible scenarios.
This forecasting dimension makes it possible “to call into question one’s own fundamental beliefs, to put on hold judgements about the future, and to identify new ways of forward thinking” according to Nicolas Minvielle, Director of Audencia’s MS Marketing Design and Creation in a recent article for Le Monde.
Audencia has been a trailblazer on these issues and was indeed the first school to offer joint engineering-management courses, thus demonstrating the extent to which the hybridisation of skills is part of the school’s DNA. There are a plethora of initiatives in this area: Citylab, Alliance Week, which gathered together 1,000 students from all three schools in March to get them working together in an interdisciplinary manner on educational projects.
Do you have a “hybrid profile”? Would you be interested in reflecting on tomorrow’s labour market and skills?
Françoise Marcus and Caroline Lefévère, on behalf of the Audencia team
With a selection of over 50 events for students and graduates these past two months, both in France and across the globe, we’ve certainly had our work cut out.
From sporting and careers events, conferences, afterworks, and lots more besides, there’s something for everyone. This is testament to our dynamic network and has Audencians from far and wide ever eager to reconnect.
Bachelors set out to conquer the Elephant
On 21 April, 16 brave Audencians from the Bachelor Programme met up, in sweltering heat, to pound the pavements of Nantes. “Les Foulées de l’Eléphant”, a traditional 10 km road race, enables runners to discover the city by night, trailing the banks of the Loire in and around the Machines de l’Ile, with a remarkable run past the illuminated Buren Rings.
Congratulations to all those who completed the race.
Engineer-Managers: 10 years already
For the 10th anniversary celebrations of this programme, 39 students and graduates gathered together in Paris, on 5 April. Naturally it proved to be a great networking opportunity but also a time of meeting up with classmates a few months or years down the line! Just to make sure they don’t lose touch over the next 10 years, Together has set up a community especially dedicated to engineer managers which already boasts 117 members to date. To get in touch with them simply sign up here to ensure you never miss out on news from your classmates / programme ever again.
Welcoming the insurers
Presenting the latest special interest club to be set up on Together:the Insurance Club.Launched on 5 April this year during an afterwork organised on the premises of the Axa Group in Paris, it already has 38 members, either currently working in this field or especially interested in this activity.Hurry up and join now, this initiative run by Oriane Valdelièvre (GE 13).
Reunions spanning the globe
Whether in Geneva on 8 March, Hong Kong on 22, or Singapore on 29… increasing numbers of international alumni are delighted to be meeting up. In Sao Paulo, on 11 April, alumni from the Food and Agribusiness Management Programme made the most of a visit from Audencia professor Gervaise Debucquet to share the latest news from Audencia.
Audencia Careers is a sell-out hit
Over 20 companies took part in the virtual forum dedicated to international careers, with amongst them famous names such as Nike Netherlands, Lagardère Australia and Decathlon China.What’s more, a number had been brought on board by graduates:our special thanks to them.In total, 415 students signed up, there were 108 offers of internship or employment, 614 appointments arranged and 814 interviews.What a roaring success!
And to top off this month’s amazing results:Steve Dalton’s webinar on 19 April was a huge sell-out hit, with 200 participants.It was a masterclass in writing a successful CV which you can now find on replay, along with all our other webinars, thanks to the Webinar Library. It’s absolutely free but there are only a limited number of places.
Amandine Luce, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Audencia has seen significant growth over the past 10 years: new programmes, increased student intakes, internationalisation, and lots more besides.
For graduates from the Bachelor, Specialised or International Masters, from SciencesCom to ExecEducation, it’s not always easy to feel a sense of belonging to the same network, to forge connections with other graduates who clearly have the same school in common but also followed such different courses.
Opening up a world of opportunities, while still having due regard to specific characteristics
Nonetheless, this is exactly what Audencia Alumni is proposing: the challenge of bringing together all graduates under the same single powerful network while recognising and respecting what sets them apart. A network making it easy to get in touch with others, reaching beyond course or class year borders, while still allowing graduates to get together in small groups, just among friends, as and when necessary.
How then could it be possible to enhance the mutual support and synergies between the Bachelor or Audencia SciencesCom networks and Audencia Alumni? A good way of visualising this is by picturing those ski resorts which connect with each other in order to provide a larger ski area. This way skiers get the best of both worlds by keeping a cosy, charming small resort without giving up the expanse and technicality of a large ski area.
Audencia Alumni is made greater by the sum of its individual internal parts and remains rich in its diversity. The network provides promising prospects which are enhanced by the complementarity of the programmes offered at the school. To date, 75% of Audencia Bachelor graduates are pursuing their studies, but testify to still having a strong attachment to their first school, spontaneously coming back to it once they have gained employment, explains Matthieu Bonnamy, Employment, Internship and Careers Coordinator for Audencia Bachelor, of which he is himself a graduate (BACH 08). He reminds us that: the project of building a great network is an opportunity to capitalise on the intrinsic characteristics of each person, and in the case of the Bachelor, to strengthen its regional presence.
“Take that first step, come and meet us!”
This point of view is shared by Mathias Oléron (SCOM 16): “As a recent graduate from Audencia SciencesCom working in London, I joined the UK Chapter via the Together platform, then took part in my first afterwork in April 2017. Initially, I came out of sheer curiosity but now I have become a regular at these meet-ups. There’s a mixture of topics from career talks to expat considerations and we also share top tips. I would urge every graduate to take the plunge. We’d love to meet up with you!”
The great Audencia Alumni network is a fabulous source of inspiration to make the most of our professional practices. After benefiting from a large spectrum of alumni feedback by attending various conferences, I myself took part in a professional capacity at the Audencia SciencesCom conference speaking on the value of emotion in customer experience. The diversity of profiles in the network is a real asset!” concludes Fabien Sabattini (GE 09), Customer Experience and CRM Manager at Nexity.
Matthieu Bonnamy and Mélanie Bosc, on behalf of the Audencia Bachelor and Audencia SciencesCom teams
With its 10,000 members and over 200 subscribers from among seven business schools (HEC, Essec, Insead, Sciences Po, EM Lyon, ESCP Europe and Audencia since the summer of 2016), the Culture & Management Club is a distinguished inner sanctum of professionals from culture-related trades.
From September to June every year the Club organises close to a dozen events, each gathering around a hundred or so participants: debates between top-level professionals as well as events such as “Start-up en scène!” which shines a spotlight on and honours five innovative young businesses every year from the cultural and creative arenas: cinema / audiovisual media / music / fine art and press / publishing. In 2018, the club broke new ground with the launch of its School Award, which strengthens ties between associate business schools and brings into play their alumni and courses in an online vote.
The interschool scope of the C&M Club brings an additional dimension to further enhance Audencia’s sole network:
We do not share the same vision, explains Pierre Reinisch (GE 13). For instance, graduates from Political Science often adopt more of a legal and administrative approach in comparison to ours which is more focused on business and management. What’s more, the interschool dimension dramatically increases our scope of broadening and professionalising the network. Of course this doesn’t stop us from having a soft spot for our own school, but we really can open up a whole new world of possibilities, he adds.
As an added bonus, members of the Club have regular special access to dozens of job offers from the “hidden job market”, which is invaluable to managers.
In the cultural and creative sectors, network is paramount, it’s one of the rules of the game in this arena. Even if we may not necessarily go along with this system, it’s vital to understand and abide by the golden rules: co-opt, remain on good terms with your contacts and accept the dominant centrality of Paris.
In this respect, Pierre represents one of the school’s most interesting cases. After his endeavours, with support from the management at the school and Audencia Alumni in helping Audencia to become part of the Culture & Management Club in July 2016, it was brought to his attention by the President of the club that there was a professional opening with In Extenso TCH. He was subsequently appointed to the position of Culture & Tourism consultant.
Caroline Lefévère, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
These troublemakers of the decade need no further introduction: Lush, Michel et Augustin, Innocent, le Slip Français, BlaBlaCar, Back Market and company. Each of them, in their own field, has managed to turn the current system on its head, bringing a breath of fresh air and making humour work in their favour! These brands who have (very) successfully carved out their place in the market, are also helping shake up practices and ways of thinking which were previously well established among professionals and consumers alike…
Woolly hats on fruit juice, underpants on the net
On entering these ferociously competitive markets, no one would have fancied their chances of establishing a place for themselves in the market. So what can we put their success down to? They all have one thing in common: strong positioning and product differentiation. Some of them have chosen to focus on usage rather than the market (BlaBlaCar, Airbnb, Back Market…). For others, commitment takes precedent over product offering (Lush, Le Slip Français, Innocent…).
Welcome to cool consumption
Once their positioning has been established – at times for minor innovations – they are often aided or made possible by digital technology which facilitates relations and cuts out the middlemen. However, the common link for all these brands is primarily their ability to strike up an alternative dialogue with us the consumers; they treat us differently without adopting the aura of authority common to the big established brands, in a casual way, more often than not making use of humour, while seamlessly bringing us into their ecosystem. This attitude, in stark contrast to a position, conveys a mindset and a style which establishes a new relationship between the brand and the consumer. And this makes all the difference.
The brand next door
Faced with gargantuan supply and relentless appeals, it goes without saying that the consumer feels a sense of frustration. To this we can add feelings of stress due to limited purchasing power and the knowledge that his actions have an impact on the environment or the working conditions of others. In short, he is all too often in a state of cognitive dissonance, of discomfort in with regard to consumption.
It’s within this context that these brands first appeared on the scene and were hailed a breath of fresh air. They bring with them a simple, pleasant, fair, and unpretentious quality, potentially bringing a sense of meaning and commitment. By putting themselves on a level with consumers, remaining respectful of their world and aspirations, they bring satisfaction and a human dimension to the relationship which, although a business transaction, represents much more than this in the eyes of the consumer.
Discover the full article on the "Monde des Grandes Ecoles"
Florence Touzé, on behalf of the Audencia SciencesCom team
The development of consumption, marketing and brands towards greater responsibility is at the heart of the research carried out by Florence Touzé, Communication and Brands course coordinator at Audencia SciencesCom and co-holder of the Audencia CSR Chair.
She shares her work and thoughts on the blog Marketing-Implicatif
On 10 April this year, Florence Touzé alongside Maud Lesieur (GE 03) co-hosted a roundtable discussion: “Responsible Marketing, how to make the shift.” This event was attended by over 50 graduates who enriched the debate with their many pertinent questions.
It’s a small world when you belong to such a large network. Last March, the school caught up with some of its alumni from three of Audencia Alumni’s key chapters in Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Singapore.
This long trip was spearheaded by a banquet organised to mark the launch of the new Audencia Alumni community in Shenzhen. Two years ago, Audencia opened a campus here in partnership with Shenzhen University, alma mater of tech giants such as Ma Huateng, the founder of Tencent. Shenzhen was the very first city to be awarded the status of special economic zone in 1979, and went from being a small fishing town with 30,000 inhabitants in the 1970s to reaching its current figure of 12 million inhabitants. It is the second favourite city of “Chinese returnees”, second only to Shanghai, and today Shenzhen has proved highly appealing to young people. Witnessing sharp growth of 8.8% in 2017, this new economic power is almost set to outshine neighbouring Hong Kong. A far cry from its “made in China” image, dynamic and attractive Shenzhen has now become a magnet for research and innovation.
Audencia had the chance of meeting up with students, graduates and companies at each stage of their travels. These meetings opened up a network with a globe-trotter spirit travelling in tempo with new professional opportunities.
Marine Jégu, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Venezuelan Luis Prato (MBA 08) ’s CV reads like a travel guide. At 38 years old he has already worked in nearly a dozen countries throughout South America, North America, Africa and Europe. He is currently working in Germany for British multinational GKN as Director of Commercial Program Management (Powertrain Services). Today, Germany is the country that Luis returns to after each international mission and Düsseldorf is the city he calls home.
To have experienced so many countries, cultures and languages in just 16 years gives the impression that Luis might be in a hurry to reach the finishing line. It is almost hard to believe that the key advice he likes to give current students at Audencia is patience!
“I believe that everyone gets their opportunity if they are patient and wait for their moment to make an impact”, he says. Knowing how to wait for that moment requires a certain amount of discipline and the nerve to seize the opportunity when it arises. Luis speaks from experience… After graduating with an MBA from Audencia, a mission he led in French-speaking Africa was offered to him “on the premise that I had graduated from a school in France although my French wasn’t great at the time.” he says. But the mission was a success and led to more opportunities. Luis then went to Angola where Portuguese is the official language and Nigeria where it is English. “When you work with multicultural teams, the more languages you master the easier it is.”
Luis continues to make wise career moves and maintain a steep learning curve both academically and professionally. We look forward to seeing where his patience, and perseverance, will take him next.
Katie François, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
After a first degree in engineering from her home country of Romania, Iuliana Megelea (IMM 10) came to France to follow Audencia’s IMM programme. At the time, she did not speak any French. Nearly eight years later, Iuliana has accrued considerable professional experience in France, been headhunted into her current position, and doesn’t regret a moment. She likes to quote Herb Brooks who once said, “Great moments are born from great opportunity” and feels that her opportunity was studying and working in a country where, at first, she didn’t speak the language.
“When I came to study at Audencia, I already knew I wouldn’t return to work in Romania” she says, “so I had to find a way of getting a job in France, without speaking any French.”
Iuliana’s game plan was to think small and grow bigger, especially knowing that her lack of French language skills was going to hinder her chances of being hired. She started with a 10-month internship in Paris that she found through Audencia, before joining a small consultancy firm. She stayed for three years before joining PwC for a further three years. Since January 2017, Iuliana is with Coty as global project manager lead.
Today Iuliana is fluent in French and culturally attuned to life in France. Although she travels across the globe for work (part of her team is in Malaysia) and leisure (her IMM friends live on all continents) and uses English every day at work, when she returns to her apartment in Paris, she feels she has come home.
Iuliana says there’s no secret to learning French which has been a vital part of succeeding professionally in France.
It’s hard work. You have to seize every opportunity to try out simple words and sentences. Then you realise that you can understand the TV, what the person in the boulangerie says to you, and more. One thing leads to another until you are comfortable both listening and speaking. Iuliana says it was worth the effort.
Katie François, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
For the past two years, the Audencia Foundation has increased its fundraising through the Class Gift initiative (a collective donation from a graduating class). Last year, the Grande Ecole class of 2017 raised 4770€ to support student projects.
After a call for proposals and a full day of pitching, 4 projects were selected out of the 31 submitted:
The Class Gift donors voted for their favourite project and they chose Solifood! With more than 46% of the votes, Sixtine Labusquière and her team will receive the full Class Gift fund of 4770€.
In the coming months, Solifood will offer Audencia students meals for 5.50€ cooked by refugees from the association ‘Le Goût des Autres’. The aim of this project is to create a link between refugees and Audencia students by allowing them to discover other cultures through their food. It will also promote Audencia's CSR identity and develop the action and impact of the Enactus association.
Ultimately, Solifood will offer meals in partnership with various associations working for the professional integration of those who are excluded from society. Students on the Jonelière university campus and, in due course, residents of Nantes will also be able to take part in the initiative.
Solifood is a social and responsible project that is taking shape thanks to the Class Gift Fund!
The 2018 Class Gift again shows that more and more great ideas are emerging at Audencia and that students need funding to make them a reality.
Carole Deniel, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Home stretch for student sponsorship!
Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity of attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the trade show held each year in Las Vegas, which is the world’s gathering place for consumer electronics, showcasing the hottest new innovations: from the roll-up flexible screen to the mosquito vacuum, not forgetting the self-driving flying taxi? What better way of inspiring students than by immersing them in the latest innovations with a view to inspiring them to invent the breakthrough innovations of tomorrow?
On the strength of this observation, the “Club Audencia des Dirigeants de l’Ouest” which brings together leaders in western France, has come up with a learning expedition which will enable 10 students from the school to travel to the CES and Silicon Valley next January. The aim is really to inspire the students to unlock their full potential in a highly stimulating technological setting, so that those at the forefront of inventing tomorrow’s world can connect with those who are currently shaping the world in which we live. The students will be accompanied by Michaël Thoby (Exec MBA 13 – Founder and CEO of Emotic) who has expert know-how and experience and who, for the last ten years, has been organising this voyage of discovery for businesses.
The project has been set up, organised and funded by alumni from the school and embodies the vibrancy of the network, underpinned by the belief that technological progress only works when it is centres around people, a vision which is shared by Audencia, the school of trust.
The home stretch has begun for collecting funds, which is directed towards graduates and friends of the school, with the target of sending around ten students on the expedition. In July, a call for proposals will be launched, culminating in the selection of particularly ambitious and deserving students from among the 4,700 students at the school. In addition, on their return, these students will also take part in a meetup with alumni, providing the opportunity to exchange ideas on good practices and share feedback.
Caroline Lefévère, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Audencia is proud to welcome its latest chair, as established on 5 April this year: the Finance for Innovation Chair. The purpose of this chair is to develop a better understanding of the processes and financial challenges facing businesses and innovatory projects. Spotlight on an initiative which is unprecedented in Europe.
Carine Girard, Benjamin Le Pendeven and Gilles Certhoux, are all lecturer-researchers at Audencia with varied professional profiles. One has a background in finance and corporate governance, another in innovation and entrepreneurship and one comes from a Business Angel background. However, they have managed to pool their resources and build bridges between their respective disciplines which has resulted in fruitful collaboration like that of the Abbé Grégoire Innovation Days.
“They have held lively and heated debates on equity crowdfunding and more generally on the funding and governance of the future”, so establishing a chair devoted to finance for innovation seemed the next logical step.
There are four main lines of research:
“Despite being at the centre of many research studies, to date few bodies of work have enabled us to gain any real insight into understanding the various ways these structures develop”, remarks Carine Girard. “Pinpointing all the underlying explanatory factors before testing their validity by conducting empirical studies on a European scale (by establishing a monitoring centre) is more valuable than ever.” This would indeed prove ground-breaking.
The chair will be researching a novel financial tool: Social Impact Bonds. In contrast to start-ups, there is limited availability of academic studies on the factors explaining the success of Social Impact Bonds and their impact in terms of governmental policies, once their action has been finalised. The goal is therefore to fill this gap in academic knowledge so as to draw up some guidelines.
Another smart financial tool which the chair will be focusing on.
This is the stand out field of expertise for researchers involved in this chair, the quality of which has been recognised by the scientific, academic and professional communities.
A chair based on co-construction
The chair already has three corporate partners: Early Metrics, the European Investment Fund and Sowefund. PhD students will soon be joining our team in a bid to strengthen the momentum which is already underway. What’s more, co-construction and the hybridisation of skills are core values which our three lecturer-researchers feel strongly about. This philosophy is indeed shared by Audencia who are championing both interdisciplinary approaches and innovation within the framework of its 2020 strategic plan.
Marie Beden, on behalf of the Audencia team
After completing her master’s at Audencia, specialising in HR and CSR, and an early career working for Rio Tinto, Caroline Jost (GE 07) went on to co-create INNERSHIP, a company based between Montreal and Paris, which provides development programmes for every stage of career.
These programmes are especially tailored for women, as is the case with their “Starting my own business” course. When training is women-focused, the choice of coaches, mentors and workshops differs.
In order to design this women-only programme, Caroline sought inspiration from internationally-recognised scientific studies as well as by drawing on her own experience.
Here Caroline shares her insights into key differences she has witnessed or experienced on the subject of women’s career development:
“Although the stages of career or setting up of a business are the same for everyone, I believe there are several road blocks that are more of a challenge for women.
First and foremost, there are inner road blocks, like self-confidence or attitudes to money which you have to learn to address. Women come up with incredible plans and when you raise the question of what is standing in their way of getting their business plan off the ground or how they can grow their business, very often, it all comes down to the these two points.
However there are also external road blocks, such as the environment in which the woman is operating and the potential bias against women. I have worked a lot in traditionally male-dominated settings, both in industry and technology. It is not an easy task to assert yourself or gain respect as a woman when faced with the ‘boys’ club’ effect. Setting boundaries and knowing how to put your foot down when necessary comes with experience, even with respect to your own business.
So, there are major challenges in a woman’s career, but women also bring with them a wealth of trump cards for entrepreneurship which they often underestimate. They have the ability to build relationships based on trust, are good at organising and planning, and have a particular concern for fostering good customer and associate experiences. They are extremely involved and can easily manage several projects on the go, often while continuing to be a ‘mompreneur’.
My experience as a female business leader has enabled me to become more aware of my strengths so that I can put them to good use, effectively allocating tasks within the team and offsetting the male contributions from the men around me. INNERSHIP’s mission is to make everyone the leading actor in their professional development and, within this context, contribute towards entrepreneurship and encouraging women to reach their full potential, which is of particular importance to me.”
Clara Stibbe (GE 16)
For two years running, Nantes has come out on top in a study published by the French weekly newspaper l’Express in its ranking of the ‘Most desirable towns and cities to work in’.
The metropolitan centres are losing ground
While it’s true that the vast majority of Audencia Bachelor graduates settle in Nantes on completing their studies, very few alumni from Audencia’s other programmes, starting with the Grande Ecole programme, choose to begin their professional career in the capital city of the Pays de la Loire region.
Large numbers are heading overseas and even more are settling in and around Paris, which remains a strong magnet for young graduates.
Yet, here we are a few years down the line and the tide now seems to be turning! The large metropolitan centres, in particular Paris, are becoming less appealing to seasoned executives, who have since become parents and are now aspiring to improve their quality of life.
In the report, Rennes, Limoges and Angers have been ranked the top three French towns to live in according to 15 or so indicators ranging from hours of sunshine to cultural offerings, and air quality, access to healthcare or safety. The Grand Ouest has played a blinder in the rankings since, alongside Rennes and Angers, Brest (5th), Lorient (7th) and Nantes (9th) are also accredited in this list.
Live better, without having to give up on your professional career
Clearly living well is the objective here, but for these young professionals, a strong labour market also remains an essential criterion when choosing their career destination. By tapping into indicators such as the unemployment rate, employment trends or accessible rail transport options, Nantes (1st) and Rennes (2nd) have been identified by l’Express as the top two most appealing French cities with regard to employment prospects.
This new dynamic has been confirmed by Godefroy de la Bourdonnaye, Regional Director Badenoch & Clark:
"The attractiveness of Nantes owes much to its sustained economic activity. The volume of executive hires is booming. Moreover, there is already a beginning of a shortage in certain categories of functions. However, to find the most beautiful opportunities, it is sometimes necessary to be ready for a daily trip of 30 to 45 minutes because the basins of Saint-Nazaire and La Roche sur Yon are also very dynamic. In Nantes, many recruitments are not advertised. My tip: remember to activate your network and make yourself known to recruitment agencies!"
With this return to the west in mind, feel free to rally up your Audencia Alumni network. With Close To Me, our new geolocation feature on Together, or within communities, not forgetting the ever dynamic Nantes Chapter, you are sure to find fellow Audencians to forge connections with.
Florence Alix-Gravellier, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Some Audencians have changed post in recent months:
We’d like to express our congratulations to each one of you on these distinguished appointments!
If you too would like to tell us about your recent appointment, please drop us a line.
Le Vagabond de l’idéal, published by Les Passagères, by Paul-Edouard Prouvost (GE 13) - April 2018
This book depicts the author’s personal experience of extreme expeditions which saw him buffeted from one world to another:
Rugged paths through life, swaying towards an ideal and perpetually soul-searching as he questions the meaning of life. This book challenges the reader to step out of their comfort zone and live beyond the wall of fear.
Are you an alum whose work has been published? We’d love to hear all about it so please drop us a few lines.
Emilie Tendron, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
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