The Mag catches up with Christophe Germain, Dean of Audencia Business School as of spring 2018. He takes us over Audencia’s dedicated strategy in terms of international partnerships.
Going global is a key component in any business school strategy. Where does Audencia currently stand on this?
Christophe Germain: Scaling across borders works in two complementary ways. First of all, we attract international students that come to study here at our campus. They enrol on our various courses, either via exchange programmes or as students here at Audencia. Five years ago, 25% of the school’s undergraduates came from overseas. The current headcount is approximately 40%, representing 102 different nationalities, so nigh on half the globe! The other vector for going global is by enabling our French students to spread their wings and experience their own overseas adventure. On this point, Audencia has managed to successfully develop its partner strategy that has helped in setting the school apart.
How exactly is Audencia making a difference?
Christophe Germain: Rather than by establishing relations with overseas institutions to foster student exchanges, we are forging close alliances with local institutions, based on building joint projects and programmes, and also by designing initial or continuing education activities. We are endeavouring to incorporate the local ecosystem and, over time, hope this will become an integral part. This sense of partnership is at the very core of our collaboration with Shenzhen or Beijing, for instance. This manifests itself either with the establishment of a school, such as Shenzhen Audencia Business School developed by partnering with Shenzhen University in 2016, or by a campus. We are also looking into other windows of opportunity across the globe. Other partnerships should come to fruition over the next 18 months.
How do students at Audencia stand to gain from this?
Christophe Germain: This partner strategy enables us to provide students with even greater added value. An overseas placement already enables them to access studies which are further enhanced by the chance they provide to be in direct contact with the local ecosystem. Having access to the network of the partner institution means that students have a far better chance of finding an internship in situ and so make the most of their career opportunities. This also opens up the possibility for students to aim for a double diploma. With a Chinese diploma from Shenzhen Audencia Business School, you have a much greater chance of finding exactly what you’re looking for in the local job market!
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
Although hard to enforce in the business world, interculturality is thriving. In our open and interdependent world, it has become more crucial than ever before.
Guilherme Azevedo, lecturer at Audencia, has three nationalities: Brazilian, Canadian and Lithuanian. He has the ideal profile for someone working in interculturality, which is one of his fields of academic research. Yet, what exactly is it?
“As opposed to multiculturalism, which compares different cultures without providing any real insight into how they interact, interculturality allows us to understand what happens when they do interact”, says the man who has also lived in different countries. “Cultures change, they are in constant motion.”
In this respect, companies often view interculturality as an extra layer of complexity to contend with, whereas it can actually bring genuine added value. However, for this to become greater than that of a monocultural organisation, it has to be seen to be an undeniable asset and viewed in its broadest sense: interculturality thrives on the interaction between people from different nationalities, but equally from different professions, social classes, generations as well as different sexual orientations, to cite but a few examples.
“In order to appraise the value of interculturality, there needs to be a certain degree of tolerance,” Guilherme explains. “This won’t work simply by forcing people from different cultural backgrounds to work together in the same way. Each culture has its own way of thinking and this could be put to creative use. It’s crucial we adopt a more inclusive management approach, one which shows more respect and is able to see past differences. It’s all to do with valuing those differences!”
In our fast-paced globalised world, markets can no longer go it alone. Henceforth, interculturality is here to stay. Those of us unable to draw on the value it brings stand to miss out, according to Guilherme, adding that the global environmental crisis further illustrates the need for interculturality:
“No-one will manage to rise to the challenge by acting in isolation. We all need to join forces. On this matter, our only option is to work alongside those from other walks of life. Going global has practically become a moral obligation for those of us with the power to do so.”
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
A number of Audencia alumni, among them Estelle Marie (GE 04), Olivier Papon (GE 14) and Mélina Boudot (GE 14), all have first-hand experience of what it’s really like to become an expat. We shine a spotlight on their international experience.
Back in 2007, Estelle Marie jumped at the opportunity given to her by the Cartier group to move to New York, before eventually coming back to Paris. We catch up with her in Madrid, where she is now based.
“In 2015, I took the decision to resign from my job in New York in order to follow my husband who was being posted to Madrid. It gave me the ideal opportunity to set up my own company without the need for any specific mentoring: a shared workspace café.”
The workspace closed last June, providing Estelle with the chance of bouncing straight back into something new.
“I’m working for the French Founders business club now and am currently running this community of business leaders and entrepreneurs in Spain, Portugal and Switzerland.”
Geneva is in fact where Olivier Papon and Mélina Boudot, both from the same class year, have just settled down after spending the last three and a half years in Australia. This couple, both aged 29, are well aware that their expat profiles made all the difference to recruiters, both for her as a marketing manager for a hotel group, and for him as a digital marketing consultant, despite the Swiss market being “fiercely competitive”.
Not as easy as it may seem!
During their overseas stays, these three alumni all faced a number of obstacles. For Estelle, the language barrier proved to be her greatest challenge, leading to her experiencing “a great deal of frustration”. However, for Olivier and Mélina, being far away from their family was not easy to deal with, in addition to the challenges of arriving in a “foreign land”. It took them six to twelve months before they could forge some close friendships. Therefore, after “a lengthy thought process” they plumped on Switzerland as their second home of expatriation. This time, there was no rushing things. Mélina remembers all too well their hasty departure for Australia.
“Within a month to six weeks of finding out that I’d got the job, that was it, we were on our way out. It was all too much of a rush, leaving us with no breathing space.”
Yet, despite encountering these difficulties, all three are still open to the possibility of heading back out somewhere new one day. In fact, Estelle would recommend this experience to anyone considering it:
“An overseas experience can bring all kinds of good things to your career! It’s all about embracing new opportunities, challenging yourself, and a whole lot more.”
Florence Falvy, Editor
Exporting is no mean feat. That’s why it is always wise to ensure your business has a solid footing before you go venturing into new markets. This is precisely where Business France comes in. Pelak Desai (MBA 14), Head of development in India, brings us up to speed.
Business France is on a mission to support the international development of French entrepreneurs and currently has a global presence in some 124 countries across the globe. India is just one of them, boasting over 400 tricolour businesses set up to date, according to Pelak. This 29-year-old alumna is based in Mumbai, where one of the organisation’s four Indian offices is established. As head of development, her market segments include luxury products, healthcare, wellbeing items and interior decor. Her role? To promote French know-how, boost India’s corporate appeal, enhance its economic image, and also “connect” French entrepreneurs to the right commercial partners, for the purposes of bringing together the needs and offers present across both lands. Business events, such as India Design ID (the go-to annual gathering place for professionals in interior design, being held from 14 to 18 February, 2020 in Delhi), aims to promote synergies among the various entities. No fewer than 250 to 300 French businesses (1), of all sizes, are being supported year on year by Business France India.
In practice, an ever-increasing number of these businesses are seeking to seize opportunities to grow their company and some 7,000 kilometres away from home. It’s worth noting that India has “a favourable image of France”. For Pelak, French know-how is highly-reputed and has become synonymous with quality. Add to this the favourable political relations between the two nations and this makes for a fertile breeding ground for trade.
Top tips for export success
However, the young woman also stresses that although tapping into the Indian market may prove “tricky”, it nevertheless remains “doable”. Identifying the right partners, getting a grasp of how the market actually works and researching the legislation and culture across the country, which does in fact differ tremendously from one region to another, and so forth. Indeed, these critical steps should be addressed prior to breaking into the market if you are to tailor your strategy and fine-tune your company’s brand positioning.
“You’ll also need to be patient and show a genuine interest in the Indian market”, Pelak also advises. She goes on to say that there are some golden opportunities, ripe for the picking, especially in the luxury goods market and e-commerce. Furthermore, “consumer habits are changing in India due to a rise in purchasing power”, she explains.
So, the word is out!
Florence Falvy, Editor
(1) Including the VIE (volunteering for international business experience) enabling participants to carry out assignments in a French company located overseas.
2019 has seen a whole host of projects come to fruition: that’s an impressive 250 alumni-organised events rolled out, with over 3,200 alumni getting involved.
Some new event-driven proposals have taken shape, including:
We’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of our generous alumni for your continued support to the School, its events and also its network. You have done these new initiatives proud, turning them into an essential part of the School’s activities for the forthcoming year.
Indeed, 2020 stands to be a landmark year for the School which will be celebrating its 120th year of existence, as well as the 20th anniversary of the Audencia brand, our 10-year collaboration with the WWF and the Foundation’s 10th anniversary. To mark this year of celebrations, there will be 120 events taking place throughout the year and this is all set to begin in January with the second edition of our Career Connections Week (sign up here if you wish to share your story with our students).
We are so looking forward to unveiling the contents of the new programme!
“Beyond excited”, “extremely enthusiastic”, and “so looking forward to it”.
Just a few weeks to go and the group of six students, selected to take part in our forthcoming Learning Trip to the CES in Las Vegas (from 7 to 10 January, 2020) are bubbling with excitement. Initially, there were 66 candidates before this number was whittled down to 18. They then went before the selection panel to pitch their projects, all oriented towards digital technology and entrepreneurship. In the end, only 6 received a golden ticket for the USA as part of the Learning Trip. Next stop: the CES in Las Vegas.
Amongst them is Florian Bartocci (GE 22), who managed to stand out from the rest thanks to his project named Brain Services, a user-friendly software application to develop the trading of services between private individuals.
Nicolas Hubert (GE 20) will be joining him, an emerging-technology buff and the inventor of Visuki. This facial recognition camera communicates with a system to unlock doors, authorising who can and can’t enter.
“I’m expecting to see great things!”, Nicolas tells us.
Jeanne Scala Coa (SciencesCom 21) will also be part of the adventure this coming January. She made her pitch on the IMPACT concept. With its strong leaning towards luxury goods, this mobile app aims to assist the general public to be mindful of consuming in a more ethical and sustainable way, and also indicates which labelled brands to favour in respect to the efforts they are making to CSR. For these three undergraduates, this cross-Atlantic trip provides them with a golden “opportunity” to get to meet industry professionals, to be “up close with the latest tech shaping tomorrow’s world”, to “get a behind-the-scenes tour of the most promising start-ups” and also to “get some valuable top tips for entrepreneurial success”.
There’s no way Mathieu Hecquet (GE 20) is going to miss the take-off. A few months ago, this undergraduate launched his Techtonik project on YouTube, which aims to popularize what the tech/start-up ecosystem has to offer and open it up to the masses.
Facing an expert eye
Estelle Thomé (GE 21) will also be flying out to Las Vegas and is intent on making the most out of this trip by presenting her Lightech solution. What is it designed to do? To replace the line markings on multisport grounds with LED line markings, which can be controlled via an Android or Apple Smartphone connected to Bluetooth, for the purposes of adapting to the needs of the players. This huge global electronics show will also be the ideal time to shine a spotlight on the project spearheaded by Arvin Takshan (MSCPM 20). His idea? To use blockchain technology in the fight against land grabbing in India.
All that remains is for us to join together in wishing them all a fabulous trip!
Florence Falvy, Editor
The historic campus is getting a revamp
Following two years of construction work, students can now benefit from our brand-new working and learning facilities.
First off, the former media library, which has now become The Knowledge Hub. The English name is a nod to the school’s strong international outlook. This facility, covering 1,080 m2, has a seating capacity of 222 places, each with its own power socket, so much more convenient for students. In addition to this, eight study rooms have now been made available to undergraduates, as well as six computer workstations and access to 11,000 publications. A team of eight librarians are on hand, assisting students with their inquiries. All of this is provided in a bright setting, tailormade by businesses in the local area.
It’s also the end of the line for the old computer rooms! They have been replaced by a modern Student Hub, comprising 95 workstations and six bubbles, making it possible for undergraduates to conduct phone conversations in peace and quiet. Individual spaces, 4-person pods and large tables have all been designed to provide students and staff with optimum working conditions.
Three lecture halls have also been renovated. Thanks to state-of-the-art digital technology, fully automated lighting, lesson projections and audio broadcasts can all be operated via a touch-screen display.
And finally, work is still underway over at the Audencia Atlantic Campus. This should be completed by the summer of 2020. An entire 250m2 storey is being added to the existing building and the interior spaces have been redesigned so as to integrate the latest in innovation, whilst enhancing cohesion between undergraduates, businesses and staff members.
Introducing our all-new campus in the Vendée
That makes it five! By September 2020, Audencia will have established its fifth French campus situated at the La Roche-sur-Yon, in the Vendée department. Officially named Audencia Campus Vendée, this new business school has been achieved thanks to our partnership with the CCI Vendée. This reflects Audencia's commitment to honouring the pledge to provide an economic offering in the area so as to better meet the HR needs of local businesses.
Two initial training programmes will be taught there from the start of the next academic year. Firstly, a Bachelor programme for a group of 40 undergraduates. Graduates will earn a three-year degree from Audencia and this course is also currently available in Nantes. There will also be a specialised master, catering for a group of 20 students, leading to a 6-year post Baccalauréat diploma. A range of other specialised master programmes may be launched at a later date.
Géraldine Lance, Editor
Surprises, entertainment and heartfelt reunions, that’s what you signed up for at Audencia’s inaugural Homecoming Day, held on 12 October, a celebration bringing class years back together again. So, what are the latest reports coming in regarding this very first edition?
Judging by the feedback from our 200 alumni in attendance, the event certainly lived up to their expectations. Guests had been asked to make their way to the Nantes campus, on the Route de la Jonelière, where festivities were set to kick off at 1.30pm. Some alumni hadn’t been back for many years, as was the case for Julie Ferté (GE 99):
“Homecoming was an opportunity for me to spend some fun times with people I hadn’t seen in ages, take a trip down student memory lane, and rediscover Nantes for the first time in 20 years.”
By 2pm the tone had already been set. Antoine Lambert (GE 06), from “La Belle Boîte”, was there welcoming our alumni into the Edit de Nantes amphitheatre for a quirky, humorous plenary session. At 4pm, the tension started cranking up a notch with the inter-class challenge, which went on to be won by the Grande Ecole class of 2009, thanks to their outstanding performance. Once divided into teams, the graduates went head to head, competing in a series of 8 workshops. Nicolas Mathias (GE 09):
“I was ‘just’ expecting to have a great time with my friends, but this event far exceeded my expectations. The activities and insane atmosphere went to making it quite unforgettable.”
Finally, the showstopper to this first edition was the evening reception, held on the Ile de Nantes. Guests gathered at the foot of the giant mechanical elephant, which accompanied the graduates over to the HAB Galerie. On the menu: a mouth-watering fine dining experience prepared by the Michelin-starred chef Jean-Yves Guého, then an evening of festivities, interspersed with fabulous entertainment and plenty of music to boot.
Comments made by some of our over-the-moon alumni, who are already looking forward to the next edition
Pierre Allain (Exec-MBA 18): “What a fabulous day, with lots of fond memories for everyone to take away. I’d definitely come back to do it all again!”
Jean-Lin Dubus (Exec-MBA 09): “Thanks for putting this amazing event on for us. I’m so glad I got to attend. Hope to be seeing you back here for another one in the next 10 years.”
Muriel Fermeli (GE 94): “A massive thank you to everyone involved in this wonderful inter-class initiative. We’ve had such a brilliant time, everything was wonderful, what a huge success! You’ve really spoilt us and we are very touched by how attentive you’ve been. Looking forward to meeting up for another edition.”
Anny Moreau (GE 69): “Thanks for having us. A great atmosphere, excellent dining experience and super 1979 class year! If you invite me back in five years’ time, then you can count me in.”
Calling our 2015, 2010, and 2005 class years and friends, remember to save the date for next year: block 10 October, 2020 in your diaries!
Amandine Luce, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
There are only 100 days to go until the launch of the second edition of Audencia Around The World, a whole host of events together with a massive digital campaign, all aimed at putting Audencia’s worldwide alumni communities firmly on the map and boosting the engagement and drive of our alumni.
The principle is simple and was first rolled out in 2019 by teams here at Audencia and brought to life with the support of 56 alumni volunteers: an eight-day extravaganza, following in the footsteps of Jules Verne, with a whistle-stop world tour of Audencia Alumni, featuring a series of daring, convivial and inspiring gatherings, helping alumni from across a wide range of career paths, formats and academic courses to come together.
The end result: an enriching week of discovery, a great turn out with over 450 participants at one of the 31 events organised across the globe, 308 alumni successfully reconnected to the network, 3 new communities set up (in Seoul, Chengdu and Algiers), 6 new ambassadors, as well as 35 faculty and staff attending events. What’s more, at the end of this journey, we are immensely proud to report that over 90 testimonials have now been compiled in our souvenir roadbook, with unprecedented levels of involvement from the Audencia alumni community on social media.
So, the message is loud and clear: Audencia Around The World is back again. Today, the wheels are being set in motion to pull off what promises to be an equally ambitious and far-reaching 2020 edition with all our alumni volunteers getting behind the campaign, organising a local event, rolling out initiatives in their communities and taking part, in one way or another, in this project which has been specifically designed to boost alumni presence and forge links between graduates right across our Audencia programmes all over the globe.
Audencia Around The World 2020 is:
In 2019, Liming Meng (MSCPM 19) from Helsinki missed the event but hopes to put her city on the map in 2020. If like her, you would like to become part of this adventure, then please contact Katie Francois by email: email@example.com
Florence Alix-Gravellier, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Heading westbound for the Frogs Cup, a charitable regatta organised by the French American Yacht Club in New-York. On 6 October, five Audencia exchange students, currently studying at Pace University, set off on this race, navigating their way around some truly legendary skyscrapers. The entire crew was made up of Audencians, each of them novices with limited experience, however they managed to put in a creditable performance. There was a warm, friendly atmosphere as they competed and, at the end of the race, the team won the prize for the crew with the most women crew members!
At the end of the regatta, there was some quality mingling time for our Audencia students and alumni settled in New York, a time led by Hervé-Pierre Beauchesne (GE 99). This time for social exchange and counsel was greatly appreciated by our students and budding sailors: Thomas, Aymeric, Alizée, Clothilde and Alix.
Change of scenery as we head for Australia
There have recently been two new gatherings of French Aussie Drinks: one held on 31 October in Sydney and the other on 14 November in Melbourne. What’s it all about? The idea is to hold monthly gatherings over a few bevvies, aimed at bringing together our French-speaking “Business” community based in Australia. These informal meet-ups make it much easier for them to get to know one another and forge links with the Franco-Australian business world, in a fun and casual setting.
These events are free of charge and open to all our French Grandes Ecoles alumni who all receive a warm welcome, as do graduates from the universities of Melbourne, The Swinburne University of Technology and La Trobe University.
We’d like to thank our ambassadors based in Australia for putting on these gatherings for our Audencians:
Save the date on the last Thursday of every month!
And finally, back to Nantes
For the past eight years, the last Friday in November has become sacred for our Audencia Bachelor alumni and this year has proved no exception. On 29 November, over 200 EGC, IPAC, EAC and Audencia Bachelor alumni joined together on the programme’s premises, to attend their Welcome Back gathering. This annual meet-up, designed exclusively for graduates of this programme, has become THE place to be for reunions, catch-ups and social get-togethers. You’re sure to have a great time and there’s always a friendly atmosphere to be enjoyed by all!
Géraldine Lance, Editor and Amandine Luce, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Careful you don’t get hooked! With adventures to be had, the chance of broadening your mind and the challenge of continuously having to adapt. Once you’ve had your first taste of an international experience, it’s not always easy to turn the page. Not unless you make a good job of preparing your return to native ground.
Spinning the globe from Thailand to the United States and from China to Germany, Jérôme Beilvert (MBA 10) has clocked up 12 years’ experience abroad since 2001, when he graduated from the engineering school ICAM (Institut Catholique des Arts et Métiers) in Nantes. His first real experience of faraway lands dates back to 2007, to a time when he was made head of industrial leadership Asia for the Guy Degrenne company. Based in Bangkok, he came to realise just how fulfilling the life of an expat can be, both in terms of the way it broadens one’s outlook on the world and also the way it can make you more self-aware.
On returning home to France in 2009, to pursue an MBA at Audencia, he headed straight back out after graduation. No matter where he ended up, albeit Atlanta, Shanghai or Frankfurt for a range of diverse firms such as Gravotech (an industrial brand), Autajon (in luxury packaging), or Fayat (in construction), something inside continued to spur him on to find a way of fitting into the various cultures:
“Heading out to work in China,” he shares, “is akin to taking part in a 100m race wearing skis. You stick out and have no grasp of the language. You are constantly on high alert, in a kind of permanent state of second-guessing yourself, at the same time trying your best to make progress. You no longer have the option of resting on your laurels, so this creates a kind of positive sense of tension, where you have to be open to others and differences.”
His trips back to France have opened his eyes to just how difficult it can prove to fit back in, both socially and professionally.
“It can be difficult to share your experience with others when you return to France. You have to find different things to connect over which are different to how you would do things abroad. But the most important aspect to consider when you come back, is the job itself. If you come back for a position where the business activity is mainly limited to France, then that can prove really challenging. Working abroad is an art form. Having to leave that behind can lead to a sense of frustration. If you have to return, then it can only be for a job with an international focus.”
Jérôme would like to try his hand at becoming an entrepreneur and is currently considering taking over a French business. Naturally, this would be on the proviso that the business has the potential to be taken global! So Jérôme, would you say you’re hooked?
“You may be right! When you live overseas, you get to develop parts of your brain which govern things such as interpersonal connections, interest in different cultures, and continuous dynamics. Not easy turning your back on all that!”
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
Embracing international mobility during one’s career requires a huge leap of faith, combining excitement, ambition, a longing to live elsewhere, a taste for risk, a fear of failure, difficulties, and countless other conflicting emotions. Yet, with internationals now comprising 40% of Audencia’s student population, and with more and more alumni opting to take their career global, expatriation has now become an option that merits careful consideration at some point along one’s career path.
So, who better than Luis Maceda (MBA 18), originally from Mexico and currently based in San Francisco, to join us to share his own first-hand experience on the subject?
Where has your professional journey taken you thus far?
Luis Maceda: Well, I grew up and studied accounting in Mexico, before landing my first job working at PwC in Mexico, where I was mostly responsible for auditing insurance companies, investment funds and brokers. The contact I had with them spurred me on to specialise in corporate finance and then to take the plunge and enrol on an MBA in an international setting. The idea I had in mind was to improve my soft skills by pitting myself against other customs and other markets.
So, why the decision to move to San Francisco?
Luis Maceda: I love change and the idea of trying out new places, along with everything that comes with this: the culture, the customs, the food, the language, and so on. Leaving Mexico to study at Audencia in France already took me out of my comfort zone and I truly loved this experience. I simply wanted to do it all over again, this time heading for the United States, a country that offers some great opportunities in both training and business.
How exactly did this opportunity come about?
Luis Maceda: The network proved key. I personally made several attempts at landing myself a job working for one of the Big 4, with a personal preference for PwC, which I was already familiar with. However, it just didn’t work out because the recruiters are flooded with an influx of CVs. So, I adopted a more methodical networking approach, by contacting the right people at the right time, and drawing on the contacts I’d built up along my career path. In the end, that’s what worked for me.
Do you think you’ve managed to fit in well?
Luis Maceda: Compared to what I’d experienced before, I still find there are huge differences in terms of the work environment and how professionals interact with each other. Even so, given time, I’m sure things will work out just fine. Actually, my top tip for those aiming to head out would be to put just as much effort into planning your departure as you do to moving in. You really need to think about exactly where you’d like to move to: is it really the right destination for you? Pay a visit, or several visits, to the town, but also take your time choosing somewhere to live and don’t rush things. For the time being, I’m staying at an Airbnb until I decide where I want to stay.
Best wishes Luis on this exciting new adventure of yours!
Florence Alix-Gravellier, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Philippe Cholet graduated back in 1964 and has continued to remain committed to the school in one way or another ever since, such as donating to the Audencia Foundation.
How and why have you managed to remain so committed to your school?
Philippe Cholet: There were sixty undergraduates in my class year of 1964. We all knew each other and there was a great sense of camaraderie. I kept in touch with the others for a long time, even more so than I did with the school itself that can often be overlooked once you’ve graduated. Years went by and I found myself turning back towards the school. Back in the day, I remember three students calling me up, canvassing for contributions towards the apprenticeship tax at Audencia. I jumped at the chance! More recently, my dedication to the school can be seen by my pledge to support the Foundation and I also attended the first ever Homecoming Day on 12 October, for instance.
The support you provide the Audencia Foundation with is clearly demonstrated by the living endowment, awarded to deserving students in need of support in particular for their entrepreneurial projects. What sparked your interest in entrepreneurship?
Philippe Cholet: Much of my career has been spent working for large groups but business creation has always appealed to me. When I was 26 and just starting out in my first job, at the same time I was also launching a business alongside two of my brothers. My evenings were spent setting up a shop signage company with them. A parallel professional life as it were! I then went on to set up SIGMA, a family-run venture capital holding, which currently manages 23 subsidiaries and investments including SIGMA GESTION that has raised and invested 200 million euros through FIP and FCPI funds. Our target groups are SMEs with huge potential, as well as start-ups showing great promise. In France, when you have your hands on a good project and a great team, you can make a success of it. There are opportunities aplenty if you want to expand: small venture capital companies like ours, BPI, the research tax credit, and more besides.
Do you have anything to say to graduates to encourage them to get behind students at Audencia through the Foundation?
Philippe Cholet: Giving needn’t cost much! A gift of €100 only comes to €34 after the tax rebate. Every year, I donate to a range of associations, Médecins Sans Frontières, Cancer Research, and so forth. The donations I pledge to the Audencia Foundation are especially dear to my heart, since they demonstrate the commitment I have to the school and the faith I have in the training it provides students with. It’s important to spare a thought for those in need of support, to help them and their projects reach their full potential.
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
For its year-end fundraising campaign, the Audencia Foundation is appealing to your generosity to help ensure the success of our deserving students, for whom your gift proves absolutely vital, as is the case for Amélie, Fantine, Kévin and Niels.
Amélie Dominique Goubo (FAM 18). Grant received: €2,500
“After studying in Ghana for four years and earning a diploma in agribusiness management, thanks to the support provided by the Audencia Foundation, I went on to enrol on Audencia’s Food and Agribusiness Management master’s course. This has enabled me to gain valuable skills and build myself a network for success.”
Fantine Bendano (GE 19). Grant received: €700
“I am trying to centre my studies and work experience around my passions: art, drama and culture. I headed off for Canada to take part in a marketing and communications internship at the National Arts Centre there, at the country’s foremost performing arts facility. A dream come true! There’s no way I could have taken on this unpaid internship without the support of the Audencia Foundation.”
Kévin Hamon (GE 19). Grant received: €1,600
“As a student at both an engineering university (Ecole des Mines) as well as a business school (Audencia), I have already headed up a number of entrepreneurial projects. It’s one of my passions in life! The grant I received from the Audencia Foundation has enabled me to launch “Âmes de Bretagne” (Souls of Brittany), a web series available on social media.”
Niels Rolland (GE 19). Grant received: €2,000
"The Learning Trip to the United States is one of the best things that has ever happened to me during my studies here at Audencia! There absolutely has got to be a follow-up edition and this event should become a permanent thing, with more and more students taking part year on year!”
Alongside their classmates, who have also been supported by the Audencia Foundation, it would never have been possible for Amélie, Niels, Kévin and Fantine to see their projects through to completion without the generous support of multiple donors. There is a grant towards living expenses, within the framework of social openness and student entrepreneurship, and also funding towards the learning trip to the United States: whichever fund you prefer to channel your donation towards, and however much you decide to give, your generous gift will allow them to pass the torch on to other Audencia students, in turn providing them with the support they too need on their own roads to success.
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
Opting to work from home is not incompatible with exercising an internationally-oriented professional activity. Here’s how with Tarek Alassar (IMM 14). Now a country manager, he represents a Parisian firm in multiple countries worldwide.
Supporting the international launch, establishment and development of French companies (multinationals, start-ups, and SMEs). This is the job description of Tarek Alassar holder of an International Master in Management from Audencia. At the age of 28, he has already won his spurs by working for Alcatel-Lucent (Nokia Networks), where he was in charge of their international portfolio. He has also contributed towards the business expansion of the Pixmania e-commerce website in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Equally, he has served Dayuse and supported this French start-up (day-bookings of hotel rooms) in pursuing its international growth in the Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain), in Australia as well as the United Kingdom.
Since early 2018, he has been country manager at Legos, a company operating in the B2B telecommunications technology sector. Moreover, the international expansion of Legos to the UK, Ireland, Germany and Poland, was all carried out from Tarek’s head office in Paris, the place he calls home. Looking to 2020, his sights are set firmly on North America and Canada.
Keeping a flexible working schedule
Although Tarek may be seen making his way to the company head office, or travelling back and forth to the UK, he has equally opted to work from home once a week. As he sees it, “Each working method comes with its own benefits”. In this way, teleworking gives him a sense of “flexibility” and allows him to be more performant when it comes to some of the routine tasks he can get on with by himself: writing up contracts, organising conference calls with international customers, sending e-mails, conducting market research, and the like. Skype, Zoom, Outlook and WhatsApp are his go-to tools when working with his clients across the globe, without a thought being given to any geographical distance. Besides, Tarek believes that more businesses should be introducing teleworking for, in his eyes, this can make “a huge difference”. So, what’s in it for them? Greater productivity.
Florence Falvy, Editor
Slowly but surely, the financial professions are opening up to women. The career path of Katherine Salguero (MBA 16) bears strong witness to this. At the age of 33, this young woman of Colombian origin, has already made a successful career for herself in this field and is now an accomplished businesswoman. She brings to it her own personal touch: entrepreneurial spirit and an international mindset.
Katherine has been moving in the world of finance for the past ten years and is naturally gifted with a good head for figures. This has proved to be a key strategy for our MBA graduate.
“As a finance professional, you can understand how a company works and so help the business to grow. Despite being in a predominantly male-dominated sector, it remains a fascinating and thrilling profession”, she explains.
Her close dealings with the financial world began when she decided to launch her own business providing organic baby clothing in Columbia. She continued in the same vein while working for the Solidus Capital investment fund. However, it was during her time at Randstad, based in the Netherlands, that she decided to pursue her budding career in finance.
“In 2018, I started out as an international financial analyst for an operating company called Randstad Sourceright, in the EMEA region (an area spanning countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa).”
For the past three months, Katherine has been working as an investment analyst for the Randstad innovation fund.
“It’s a strategic corporate venture fund to fuel innovation and support Randstad’s ambition to be a leader in its field. The fund invests in HR technologies which are either on the cutting edge of technology or shaping the world of work”, she concludes.
Florence Falvy, Editor
Go France! - The guide to working in France
Written with input from HR professionals and international alumni, Go France is the result of a combined effort between Audencia’s Career Centre and the Audencia Alumni team. It aims to provide international students with professional guidelines to working in France, helpful resources and tools but also insights into life in France and the cultural context which internationals will find themselves experiencing.
New perspectives in multiple criteria decision making
This book provides comprehensive coverage of the latest research on multiple criteria research analysis (MCDA) and related areas, gathering a collection of high-quality chapters prepared by leading scholars in the field.
By covering the established streams in MCDA research and simultaneously exploring new and emerging areas of application, it offers a unique reference resource for the future development of MCDA.
Zopounidis C., Doumpos M., Rui Figueira J. & Greco S. 2019. Springer
A human-centred approach of organizational project management
In the past 30 years, projects have gone from technical product development to change management in organisations, and methods from project management to project-based management.
The consequence of this evolution is that many managers find themselves in charge of projects without having a real notion of what project management involves.
The aim of this book is to give food for thought, a general knowledge of the project mode and a method easily accessible to students following a course in project management, and instructors wishing to build a course without imposing a specific method. At a professional level, it will help project managers in charge of organizational projects not necessarily very important in size, but who would nevertheless benefit from a methodology easily applicable
Bernardin E. (2019). Lulu.com.
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Emilie Tendron, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Some fellow Audencians have changed post in recent months:
Congratulations to each and every one of you on these distinguished appointments!
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Emilie Tendron, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Thank you for reading the magazine and for your support throughout eleven issues. Thank you also for helping to make 2019 a great year.
We look forward to seeing you in 2020 (early February) for the next issue of The Mag.
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Happy Christmas and New Year to all of you,
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