Nicolas Arnaud, the director of Audencia programmes, unveils the school’s new shift towards the provision of training courses in the luxury sector, with a specific focus on the French “art de vivre”.
At the start of the next 2020 academic year, Audencia is launching a new master in Cognac and Spirit management. What can you tell us about this?
Nicolas Arnaud: It is a joint initiative with the Charente university centre and together we are developing a new international master to cover spirits and cognac in particular. This region of France is dubbed Spirit Valley and with good reason, as over 50% of the world’s production of premium spirits can be found here. This ecosystem has generated over 12,000 jobs and 1,000 businesses! What’s more, Audencia is interested in providing training which is more and more immersive. This is where the idea of setting up this master in Cognac itself originally stems from. It will be in English with a view to international recruitment. We are aiming for a first-year intake of between 20 and 25 students. This relocation of the school in situ, is a first for us.
French luxury items are selling like hot cakes abroad. How is this new master planning to take this on board?
Nicolas Arnaud: Ultimately, we’ll see if we can take this programme global, not in terms of recruitment but in terms of where it could be established. Given the buoyant nature of the Chinese market for luxury goods, we could look to reproducing this at Shenzhen Audencia Business School, for example. The idea would be to export to China, and elsewhere, the know-how which Audencia is currently gaining in the luxury sector. Shenzhen, Macao and Hong Kong: according to studies, this is where GDP per capita stands to be the highest in the world in ten years’ time.
Why is the school going down this route?
Nicolas Arnaud: Luxury and the French “art de vivre” resonates with people right across the globe. Furthermore, around 8% of Audencia graduates currently work in the luxury sector, in marketing, management control, human resources or other areas. Out of 27,000 graduates, that makes for a significant number! We’ve wasted no time while waiting for the Cognac and Spirit management course to begin. We have already set up a luxury module as part of the first year Grande Ecole programme, including lessons on luxury, covering philosophy and anthropology. The school needs graduates from this sector to support this new positioning. Their businesses should be aware that the school is committed to providing innovative courses in this area, and that henceforth it will be training students with the necessary appetite and skills required to work in the luxury industry.
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
Fresh out of business school and already embarking on a career in the luxury sector. So, what is the driving force behind this decision? What’s their take on this particular market? Here to share their stories are Marie-Caroline Gaumerais (GE 19) and Alice Poupard (MDC 19 – Specialised Master in Marketing Design and Creation).
Marie-Caroline Gaumerais initially earned her stripes working for IWC, the prestigious Swiss watchmaking brand, before joining Cartier in Paris for her end-of-study internship, whereupon she applied for a position on the French VIE programme to work for the same jeweller but this time in New York.
“After extensive interviews, I managed to land myself this highly sought-after job,” explains Marie-Caroline. VIE is the ‘French International Internship programme’ and this status is particularly sought after as it constitutes a French contract – which has more benefits than those given to American employees – and it is increasingly rare to acquire, even though there are still just as many applicants seeking these overseas placements.”
In her own words, Alice Poupard has a background in law but changed career path when she pursued a double diploma (Master in Marketing Design and Creation) at Audencia and the Ecole Centrale. She carried out the final work placement for her studies at Chanel’s head office in Paris.
For both these young women, getting into the luxury sector really was a no-brainer.
“Watchmaking is a passion I have shared with my father for quite some time now,” explains Marie-Caroline. Therefore, I already knew the luxury sector from a customer’s perspective. If I could offer a word of advice to young people seeking to work in this industry: make sure you’re getting into it for the right reasons, otherwise you stand to be disappointed. Don’t expect to be crossing paths with stars every day or handling millions of dollars. You must have a real passion for this profession.”
The fashion and luxury industry has also enabled Alice to be living the dream.
“I took out a subscription to Vogue when I was younger. I had my heart set on being part of this world.”
Despite a somewhat deflating first taste of this industry, she went on to find reassurance that she’d made the right choice when she stepped into the offices of the French luxury brand.
“I find the atmosphere at Chanel is a perfect fit for me: it’s very calm, welcoming and homely and more besides. The culture is one of discretion which is in stark contrast to some of the other brands.”
Marie-Caroline, currently working in the prestigious setting of the company store located on 5th Avenue until February 2021, will not have the luxury of remaining on American soil after this experience due to visa restrictions.
“I think I’ll carry on pursuing an international career, maybe even with the same group, which has a great many business facilities worldwide.”
As for Alice, currently moving in the world of the CRM Europe team for fashion, watchmaking and jewellery, the future will inevitably go hand in hand with fashion and luxury, an industry which has indeed proven to be the perfect fit.
Jordi Soude (Scom 07), Editor
French luxury is resonating with people the world over. France continues to dominate the luxury market. Why is that? Here to share their insights are Fany Gardes, one of our Audencia SciencesCom undergraduates, and Guillaume Rué de Bernadac (GE 12), who has set up his very own etiquette school in China.
When it comes to luxury, France can pride itself on having a heritage of international renown, as substantiated by Fany Gardes. This all became apparent to this 22-year-old undergraduate specialising in brand communication, during a “very Parisian” brand launch while on her three-month internship in Casablanca.
“Over there, ubiquitous French brands are considered the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to luxury! They are seen as a hallmark of prestige”, explains this fan of fashion who would certainly never want to be described as a “fashionista”.
The sociology of fashion is really her thing, and she has a keen interest in haute couture. Indeed “luxury is the very essence of fashion.” She goes on to say that:
“In around 50 years, France has successfully managed to corner the entire luxury market”, citing the French luxury group LVMH in particular, which has recently acquired the American Tiffany brand.
What’s more, luxury à la française is inevitably dressed up with a generous serving of Parisian chic.
“Paris is shining as brightly as ever in the luxury sector”, she claims.
Furthermore, according to Fany, the Paris myth, this gilded temple to femininity, sensuality and all things chic, is still fantasized about the world over. So much for worn-out clichés!
An ideal offering
In the eyes of our Chinese consumers, French-style luxury certainly manages to hit the spot. All the more reason for Guillaume Rué de Bernadac to open his own etiquette school in Shanghai, aka the “Académie de Bernadac”. Indeed, this made perfect sense when it came to him playing the French tricolour card.
“China views the French trademark as being synonymous with a certain guarantee of luxury.”
Thus, since 2014, the academy has been instilling its rules of etiquette to individuals and professionals alike, while catering for a predominantly female clientele.
“French-style luxury epitomises elegance, romanticism and femininity”, he explains.
Consumers put their explicit trust in it, he testifies. At the age of 32, Guillaume is providing, in his own words, a particular take on luxury: “it is the projection of a dream”, that is to say “projecting oneself into the person we aspire to becoming." In this way, the luxury offering will be used to reflect some of our aspirational values. “For example, a luxury car can be used to embody success, power, strength or even speed.” He is seeking to “provide an ideal offering.” His promise: “To turn you into a 21st century woman, who is modern and elegant and knows how to behave, adapt and remain well turned out whatever situation she finds herself in.”
Florence Falvy, Editor
The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world. Yet, the luxury sector has long credited itself on bearing the eco-label, guaranteeing us products of ultra-high performance and outstanding quality: second-to-none sustainability, well preserved know-how and raw-material supply chains under constant scrutiny. Investigative journalism has been there and done that, covering issues like collective consciousness and consumer expectations, albeit in a satirical way. In an era of ultra-transparency, gone are the days of allowing someone to have a free hand without a thorough questioning of how things are done.
“In actual fact, what exactly are we really talking about here?” questions Florence Touzé, holder of the CSR Chair at Audencia. The global impact of an entire industry: the trajectory right from the sourcing of raw materials to delivering the finished product, sometimes clocking up tens of thousands of kilometres, using toxic products during the manufacturing process, causing the destruction of ancestral know-how and jobs, and so forth.”
The appraisal of a sector’s eco-friendly performance is based on a set of criteria that is at times counterintuitive.
“Take the example of animal suffering,” Florence continues. Nowadays, it’s unthinkable to bring out bags made of crocodile skins and one day natural fur will also disappear. Yet, are substitute products entirely neutral? The polyurethane used to make vegan shoes leaves me wondering.”
There are many complex issues at stake here. The international dimension of the luxury goods industry is a truly important issue when the production sites, product processing and sale of goods are not subject to the same rules with varying levels of ecological awareness. This ostentatious and transient culture calls us to reflect on an industry’s real capacity to adopt measures which are more in tune with today’s society.
“Nothing is ever going to be perfect. Nevertheless, I believe that we are making real headway on the subject. The major players are really stepping up to the plate and communicating a lot. Proof of this is the announcement of Fashion Act during the G7 in Biarritz. You can either view it merely as a publicity stunt, or an initiative aimed at mobilising an entire industry on the fundamental issues on which consumers have now adopted a somewhat uncompromising stance. Today, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find somewhere to hide.” Florence concludes.
This can be illustrated by some fine initiatives, such as the emergence of a second-hand and swap market, a whole new take on the retailer’s role (Galeries Lafayette) as well as the creation of Viji, “the Yuka of fashion.”
Florence Alix-Gravellier, Editor
For the second year in a row, Audencia organised the “Career Connections Week” event, held in Nantes from 20 to 23 January. The goal: to bring students from the Grand Ecole programme, businesses and alumni together. On this special occasion, over 40 alumni made their way back to the school to share their stories. Amongst them was Gustave de Campigneulles, who jumped at the chance of attending the event! Indeed, in his view it is important for alumni to get involved and come back to the school whenever the opportunity comes their way.
Gustave de Campigneulles (GE 14), works for Google in Zurich (Switzerland) developing Google Maps in Africa. Nonetheless, he decided to fly all the way back to Nantes to be part of the event.
“Audencia is far more than its contribution to academia, it’s also a very fine community. For the past five years, I’ve been ploughing my efforts into my professional career but now I’m back here helping out because it’s important to invest in the school network. The community helps you grow as it fosters exchanges and discussions. All the more so as Audencia manages to link us up with some truly inspiring people who are endowed with some valuable know-how and experience”, testifies the thirty-year-old.
Interacting with undergraduates is also a great way for him to maintain regular contact with the school and keep up to speed with how the programmes are moving on.
Exchanging and sharing
So, over this two-day period, Gustave got to speak to students a great deal, particularly on the subject of going global. “We spoke about the aim of their upcoming summer internships. I gave them some guidance as to how to go about finding one.” Another subject up for discussion: their Audencia development path. “What exactly is it and how does it stand to benefit them?”
The workshops were a great opportunity for him to share his experience with those at the school.
“I also shared some insider knowledge of the digital world.” His top tip: “The most important thing is to remain humble enough to be able to constantly keep yourself in check. Being self-aware is all about making the right choices which match up with your own values and to live a life in keeping with your aspirations.”
For Gustave, “Career Connections Week” was also the time for him to cross paths with a number of former classmates, some of whom he’d lost touch with.
“It’s interesting to see where life has taken us all. It was also the chance to brush shoulders with other more senior alumni. They are from different generations, with very different school experiences and different careers. It’s so enriching!”
This all goes to show why Gustave is more than happy to come back and do it all over again.
Florence Falvy, Editor
The ranking season is upon us! As is the case every year, students and alumni from France’s Grandes Ecoles are once again being called upon by reporters and pollsters. Tamim Elbasha, Director of quality, accreditations & rankings, joins us to explain why these matters should never be disregarded.
The Grande Ecole rankings are all over mainstream media and the specialised press. Who are the instigators behind them?
Tamim Elbasha: Audencia indeed features in twenty or so of the rankings which contacts both students and graduates alike. They have to answer a certain number of questions to do with their professional experience and career development, for instance. Le Parisien, le Figaro, le Point and l’Étudiant bring out their rankings every year, as do some prestigious and international newspapers such as the Financial Times or The Economist, etc. There is also the Grande Ecole Conference which year-on-year appraises the professional integration of graduates. These questionnaires have course-specific targets.
Why is it so important to respond to these surveys?
Tamim Elbasha: Filling in these questionnaires means you are actively taking part in a virtuous circle. The greater the number of student responses, the more accurate the data, resulting in a more credible ranking for us. Equally, we can showcase the quality of the occupational status of our graduates. Consequently, graduates from these top-ranking schools become more sought after. The rate also has a direct impact on how trustworthy businesses find these rankings to be. It’s important to note that the questionnaires are anonymous and that the data remains strictly confidential.
You are in charge of accreditations here at Audencia. Have you noticed a correlation between these rankings and the accreditations?
Tamim Elbasha: For Audencia, our annual international accreditation update will take place between March and July 2020. This is for AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB. There is an indirect link between the rankings and these accreditations but it genuinely does exist. The accreditation bodies may seek to find out by how much graduate salaries are increasing, which is a criterion appraised in some of the rankings. Furthermore, EQUIS pays close attention to the school’s vocational focus, as it does the school’s links with the corporate world and alumni. Yet, primarily, the alumni response rate remains a true reflection of the commitment they have to their former school.
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
"Developing the alumni network is a strategic axis here at the School", underlines Françoise Marcus, Head of Alumni and Corporate Relations.
A huge round of applause for Audencia! The School has been cited as a reference model for its alumni relations management, in the recent publication “L’expérience Alumni, regards franco-américain” (The Alumni experience, a Franco-American perspective) released in January 2020 and co-written by Bernard Belloc and Gilles Bousquet, two higher-education specialists in France and the USA. Its overall approach, built up over time, has proved appealing due to the high quality of its ongoing research into both alumni and the school itself. This represents a proud moment indeed for Audencia which, as early back as the noughties, was making its alumni relations a top strategic priority.
Few sectors currently benefit from being such diverse and caring stakeholders!
“Every establishment for higher education should be striving to enhance its brand awareness, strengthen its relations and economic standing in the business world and foster partnerships etc.,” explains Françoise Marcus, who was called upon to take part in the compilation of this book (1).
She therefore wished to bring to the fore one of the School’s key assets, namely its alumni network. For the past 20 years, various initiatives have been introduced, aiming to step up opportunities for face-to-face interaction with alumni members, ever committed to fostering the two-way principle of “give and take”: the development of career coaching, putting on inspiring events, championing a platform to connect alumni not just to each other but also to current students, fostering student involvement in the 130 community programmes, whether regional, national or interest-specific. This offering will be further enhanced in 2020.
Indeed, alumni are all too happy to share their career stories with students, putting themselves forward as ambassadors abroad and helping to enhance the international reach of the School and its network. In much the same vein, alumni involvement is proving extremely positive for the School, with the president of the Audencia Alumni Association now on the governing board at the School and on the Executive Committee of the Audencia Foundation (established in 2009), as well as the various other strategic committees (teaching, international). Alumni have also played a major role helping to compile our Audencia 2020 strategic plan. The School frequently presents alumni portraits where alumni share their stories, such as the book entitled Paroles de dirigeants (Words from Leaders) which is handed out to students. Please note that a new edition is currently in the pipeline.
So, the results are well and truly out there for all to see.
“In 2019, a total 1,100 alumni became involved in helping the School, as opposed to 700 in 2017,” declares a very proud Françoise Marcus.
This signifies a genuine commitment which is nurtured from their first day here at Audencia, when each student becomes a member of the network.
(1) Françoise Marcus drafted the chapter on “Graduate orientation: a strategic priority, Audencia case study.”
Florence Falvy, Editor
Laurène Michon (Bachelor 14) is the senior product manager for shoes and jewellery at Paco Rabanne, and she has now become the ambassador of the newly formed alumni club for the luxury goods sector, set up at the end of 2019. What a perfect opportunity for us to take a look back over her already rich career.
After studying at Audencia, Laurène pursued a specialised master in product manager marketing at the IAE business school in Paris, taking time out for a gap year in which she discovered Australia and New Zealand. Her first job – senior product manager – would be at J.M. Weston, the famous French brand of luxury shoes, then working for Heyraud (still in footwear) where she would spend one and a half years as their “collection manager.”
For nearly a year now, Laurène has been working for one of the iconic French fashion brands: Paco Rabanne.
“I’m their senior product manager for shoes and jewellery. Funnily enough, throughout my career I’ve always remained in the same product line – shoes – but for brands which are worlds apart: Weston, it’s an handmade take on luxury items, with their own special type of know-how; at Heyraud, I was more into the retail world with their own outlets and their name above the door. Paco Rabanne, now that’s a whole different set up, a world of fashion, governed by its fashion week calendar.”
The orchestra conductor
For Laurène, business is a race against the clock:
“We bring out four collections a year and two of them are showcased in fashion shows. Each time, the brand has a fresh new narrative and brings out products which are new to the market. Everything has to be ready on the day. My role, as product manager: to work with the design studio designing the new collection of accessories and then coordinate all the participants – a lot of craftspeople – who add their own special touches to this collection, from the design to the setting up on the day we present our collection to the public. My role is akin to being the conductor of an orchestra.”
Laurène doesn’t have to observe a routine, as “obviously, nothing ever goes completely according to plan,” she tells us. “We rely on so many intermediaries so of course even a minor issue can throw a spanner in the works. Nevertheless, getting to work with all these designers is so enriching.”
Jordi Soude (Scom 07), Editor
Launched at the start of 2017, Audencia’s collaborative website for our students and alumni has just got itself a new facelift, with the aim of making the whole experience more user-friendly: clear navigation, together with straightforward access to data and services, thanks to the inclusion of our Career Center at the very heart of the site, are the two main changes we’ve introduced for you.
Since 23 January, Together has been displaying its new colours with pride. Right from the Homepage, the whole feel of the site has been transformed with our new animated carousel, allowing you to view key news items and events at a glance. The menus and access paths to the core functionality of the tool have also been revamped, as have the forums and chat rooms. Our goal is simple: to offer a space that is more attuned to the needs of Audencia’s students and alumni.
Together is a straightforward tool for all alumni to use, whatever past or present contact they have had with the network. The community is here to support you every step of the way on your career path and throughout your own personal journey, with our three main priorities:
To reach these aspirations, a single search engine makes looking through the directory much simpler now. If they wish, alumni can now choose to display their personal contact details on their profile in order to facilitate interaction. Meanwhile, the notification system has been upgraded to make InMail messages more visible and eye-catching.
The incorporation of the Career Center is also a core part of our all-new Together and generates a true sense of belonging to the network from the first few days spent here at Audencia. As for alumni, they can have ongoing access to their professional development services, book various services online and make contact with careers consultants.
So, this new version is a great opportunity for our 13,000 active members of the Together community (students, alumni and faculty staff from Audencia) to update their profile and reconnect our Audencians to their circle to enhance the outreach of Audencia Alumni.
Florence Alix-Gravellier, Editor
A new manager for the Audencia alumni team
2019 has been rich in content for Audencia graduates. 2020 is heading in the same direction and began with the appointment of Matthieu Bonnamy as Head of the Alumni team. As an Audencia Bachelor alumnus from the class of 2008, Matthieu has been involved in the life of the school for the past 8 years.
"I have a strong attachment to the school and have always been convinced of the importance of a dynamic network," says the former vice-president of Audencia Bachelor Network.
"Audencia’s Alumni Center represents a real added value for Audencia, through the organisation of high-profile events and the development of its service offer. These elements are key in differentiating ourselves from other schools. After graduating from Audencia, I went on to obtain a master’s degree from another French business school, so I am aware of this challenge and the need to create proximity with our graduates as soon as possible. To achieve this, the Audencia Alumni team has prepared a busy agenda for the coming year.”
A festive start to the year
January 2020 has been a month of celebrations! Firstly, in Nantes, where 60 alumni gathered together for a wine tasting evening reception. Marie Lieubeau (GE 11) enabled them to get acquainted with Muscadet wines from her family’s vineyard. The history of the Famille Lieubeau dates back to 1816 to Joseph Grégoire Lieubeau. Marie is now at the helm of this business which has been in the family for six generations.
"I pursued my studies at Audencia, in finance and business before the wine bug finally caught up with me. So, alongside my brothers and my parents, I’m proud to carry on this family tradition. My grandparents extended the domain, taking it from 5 to 70 hectares, we developed it and as of 2015 all our wines are now organic. It’s quite a challenge.”
However, taking over a family business isn’t always that easy, as Frédéric Robin (GE 97) knows all too well! As a private asset manager for the CIC Ouest bank, he is also holder of the Family Entrepreneurship & Society Chair at Audencia, the sole research facility for family entrepreneurship in France. Since 2013, the Chair has been organising 11 days of sessions focussing on legitimacy: Am I in my rightful place taking over the family business? This is a fundamental question especially on this territory as 83% of companies are family-run businesses.
Continuing in the warm and festive mood but this time over in Paris, more than 80 alumni all raised a toast to 2020. They were thrilled to gather together and these evening events enable them to forge ties and get the lowdown on what’s happening at the school, for example Matthieu Bonnamy being appointed as Head of the Alumni Center. The Audencia network gets together a great deal and alumni events also prove tremendously popular.
“Last year, we put on 250 events which brought together 3,200 of our alumni. For this year 2020, we are going to continue building on this momentum!” explains Françoise Marcus, Head of Alumni and Corporate Relations.
There’s lots more to come…
2020 is set to be a stand-out year for the school when you consider the great many anniversaries we’ll be celebrating, from the School’s 120th anniversary, to 20 years of the Audencia brand, our 10-year partnership with the WWF, as well as the Foundation’s 10th anniversary. This celebratory year will comprise 120 events spread across the entire year.
Not forgetting :
Watch this space for other showstopping events soon to be revealed!
Géraldine Lance, Editor
On her return from a field trip in Dublin where, with the help of Brice Dufour (GE 11), she was promoting Audencia’s reputation amongst renowened companies (1), Patricia Munoz-King takes us through the very essence of her mission as head of international corporate development at Audencia: to facilitate the international careers of undergraduates and alumni alike.
Born in Madrid to an Irish mother and Spanish father and raised in a family of globe-trotters, prior to joining the team in Nantes, she started her career in Brussels, working on the skills of tomorrow for European institutions and international bodies. Over 10 years’ experience travelling the length and breadth of Europe and an undisputed travel gene go to making Patricia Munoz-King the perfect ambassador for international corporate relations here at Audencia.
Right from the get-go, back in May 2019 on the first day of her contract, she started as she meant to go on, flying from Paris to Shanghai. It was there that she took part in the HigherEd conference, speaking on behalf of Audencia, with one unwavering goal in mind: to source internships and job opportunities for undergraduates and alumni from across all programmes, by promoting the reputation of the School.
“Today, international students account for 35% of our students. Tomorrow, we stand to hit the 40% mark. Accreditation bodies are highly sensitive to the proportion of graduates pursuing careers outside France. This is driving the school to get mobilised and develop structures at the school in support of this phenomenon. This also constitutes a global trend. In 2019, many European schools brought in similar posts to mine” Patricia explains.
Enhancing the visibility of Audencia amongst businesses abroad, in Ireland, in Benelux and in China first and foremost, is a must. Conversely, it is also necessary to facilitate opportunities for international students seeking to pursue a career in France.
“With students from 102 different nationalities at Audencia and a wide array of academic courses, this remains a complex challenge. Whatever position we find ourselves in, working hand in hand alongside alumni is a key factor for success when it comes to the international development of the School. They are our very best ambassadors” she concludes.
What can alumni do to help? There are plenty of ways to get involved:
(1) LinkedIn, PwC, Indeed and Microsoft among others
Florence Alix-Gravellier, Editor
After a hugely successful first edition last March, bringing together 450 people, our “Audencia Around the World” event will be making a comeback this year from 11 to 20 March.
Casablanca, Copenhagen, Dubai and the list goes on. This round-the-world tour, where we’ll be checking in with our international alumni communities, is taking place in around thirty cities, spanning five continents.
“Daring formed last year’s theme, explains Katie Francois, who is running the project at Audencia. This year will be marked by the 120-year celebrations of the School, but we are leaving it up to alumni members to organise the specific activities to be held in each city.”
The aim: to showcase the different communities, support school unity, etc… even where there are just a few Audencia alumni:
“If there are two or three of us in the town, getting together could still make perfect sense, and you can always invite “friends of friends.”
Among the activities put on during our inaugural edition: a yoga evening with a digital “detox” treatment in New York, or even a beach clean-up activity in Sydney and San Francisco.
This year, Audencia’s Management Board is getting involved and heading out to the various event locations, as is Francoise Marcus, Head of alumni and corporate relations, who will be there in Geneva. In Munich, one of the school’s language professor, Uwe Supper will be in charge of the event’s activities.
“We are also counting on a good turn-out from students on the MS MCI who will be on their learning trip in London. Our communities differ a lot depending on which country they are in: last year, we had three people in Nairobi in Kenya and 70 in Hong Kong… So, for those finding themselves a little isolated in some far-flung corner of the world, we are setting up a selfie wall, so they can make their own contribution to the event.”
There’s no doubt a great many Audencia alumni will be getting on board to share some quality time together during this international week. Let’s not forget there are an impressive 3,500 alumni across the globe!
If you’d like to find out more, please head online to the event’s dedicated website: aroundtheworld.audencia.com
Jordi Soude (Scom 07), Editor
“What an awesome experience”, “Truly inspiring”, “My head is buzzing, it has certainly shaken things up”, “I’m raring to get my business up and running now,” and the comments keep coming. This is how our students were feeling on their return from the Learning Trip. A week spent discovering the CES in Las Vegas, the greatest tech trade show in the world, before they went on to meet up with entrepreneurs and alumni from the School in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
Six Audencia students won their place on this learning trip during a special pitch session. These talented, born entrepreneurs with a passion for all things digital were selected from among 60 projects by a panel made up of alumni donors.
They are from a variety of programmes and backgrounds, Florian Bartocci (Engineer-Manager 21), Antonin Fourcade (GE 20), Mathieu Hecquet (GE 20), Nicolas Hubert (Engineer-Manager 20), Jeanne Scala Coa (Scom 21) and Estelle Thomé (GE 21) but they are all singing from the same hymn sheet: this experience has brought them on in leaps and bounds:
“Las Vegas has a real buzz to the place and in the Valley there’s a passion for entrepreneurship which has really spurred me on. You just want to come back and do the exact same thing!”
What was Antonin most struck by?
“That has to be the pitch session at Plug & Play, one of the greatest start-up accelerators in Silicon Valley. Presenting my project to professionals and getting their feedback is such a great training ground.”
“This trip was a mine of information and has fuelled my ambition!”
“In the States, failure is seen as an opportunity to bounce back. The entrepreneurs are really fired up and this is palpable wherever you go.”
Stéphane Lolicart, Karina Séverin and Guillaume Vichot, three Executive MBA students, were also part of the trip. For them, in addition to the vocational enrichment, the highlight of the trip lies in the tremendous sense of cohesion formed among the group members. Guillaume takes away a great spirit of exchange with the “younger generation.” For Stéphane, “The bonds forged with the students and Audencia faculty really appealed to me.”
Finally, we couldn’t talk about this trip without mentioning Michaël Thoby (Exec-MBA 13), our CES tour guide:
“We were given so much when we ourselves were students. This opportunity of giving something back is very important to me. I take great pleasure in accompanying these motivated students and helping them discover the best these new technologies have to offer at the CES.”
Lucie Gouanelle (GE 98) alumni ambassador in San Francisco, who opened up her address book of contacts:
“A few years ago, I needed to get back a sense of meaning to what I was doing. Give back to the community has become a no-brainer for me. I wanted to start a chapter and help students get something out of it.”
A huge thank you goes to them both, as it does to our donors who continue to generously fund this learning trip. Thanks to you, the "Audencia Touch" is shining brightly across the pond!
Please head to our social media to find out more @audencia, with the #Audencia_LEX
Amandine Luce, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni Team
Many thanks to you all!
Amélie-Dominique (FAM 18), Niels (GE 19), Camille (Bachelor 19) and Manon (Scom 19) have recently graduated from one of Audencia’s programmes: the other bond they all share is that they have all been the happy recipients of a grant to promote social and cultural diversity, at some point along their path, enabling them to live their student lives to the full.
In 2019, over 70 students at the school just like them, also benefitted from this support, with grants totalling €260,000. This clearly goes to show just how vital alumni generosity is when it comes to the success of today’s undergraduates. In effect, were it not for their support, this Scholarship Fund would not even exist, and neither would the CES – Silicon Valley Learning Trip which has just completed its second edition.
“Alumni fundraising got underway in 2016 and continues to go from strength to strength,” explains Françoise Marcus, General Delegate of the Foundation. “We have just exceeded our €100,000 mark for the funds collected from our alumni and friends of Audencia. Over and above the amounts raised, this is a clear indication that the culture of giving to one’s school is indeed taking root and that’s exactly what we have been aiming for.”
“The figures speak for themselves: the number of new donors has risen by 12% compared to the figure for 2018, contributions are up on last year too by 20%, and the number of major sponsors has doubled. Yet, the Foundation also owes these excellent 2019 results to the school’s successful end-of-year campaign: over 100 donors all put towards a fundraising pot and amassed over €28,600, smashing past the original set target”, says Karyn Mikkelsen-Tillet, Fundraising Manager of the Foundation.
“A very happy New Year to each and every one of Audencia’s students. May 2020 see you brimming with innovative ideas as you help the school shine out as brightly as ever across the world!” wishes Dominique Rives (GE 87) who himself took part in the Foundation’s campaign.
From donor to recipient, Niels Rolland got straight on board:
“The Learning Trip is one of the best things that ever happened to me during my studies at Audencia. There has absolutely got to be more of the same and what’s more, the event should become a mainstay at the school. That’s why I too have decided to make a contribution.”
On behalf of all our students, the Audencia Foundation would like to give their heartfelt thanks to both alumni and friends of the school whose generous giving is at the very core of the intergenerational bond and sense of solidarity which enables all our Audencians to fly high.
Florence Alix-Gravellier, Editor
How do you make in-roads towards greater sustainability in the luxury market and more ethical consumption? With her Impact project, Jeanne Scala Coa, one of our second-year SciencesCom students, is aiming to raise consumer awareness.
How did you come up with the idea of the Impact project which you yourself have dubbed “the Yuka of luxury”?
Jeanne Scala Coa: The luxury industry is the second largest polluter on the planet. Along with a group of other students who were also aware of the environmental and social issues at stake here, we came up with Impact as part of one of our courses on entrepreneurship. It’s an app which aims to shine a spotlight on the ethical practices of high-end, ready-to-wear clothing. First, we looked into what is already out there on the market. Yuka, the mobile app that scans your food items to analyse their ingredients, proved our main source of inspiration. There’s also Clothparency, a digital guide that sends out best practices and provides information about certain brands. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards), the global benchmark in organic textiles also caught our attention.
So, how does Impact work?
Jeanne Scala Coa: Impact will be a B2C app which is free of charge. It will allow you to scan a Chanel bag and access its carbon footprint, from how much water and energy went into producing it to the amount of CO2 emissions that were generated during the process. We are hoping to impact patterns of behaviour. We could even look to setting up a label for brands, based on the fundamental principles of transparency, objectivity and traceability and so enable them to build consumer trust in their goods, basically differentiating them from Greenwashing which undermines their efforts with regard to CSR.
You were selected to take part in the second Learning Trip to the USA. How much of this do you think is down to your involvement in “Impact”?
Jeanne Scala Coa: We had to put forward a project somehow related to digital technology and innovation. Impact ticked all the boxes. It is an innovative project as initially we will have to collaborate with brands so they can provide us with the necessary data. That’s not going to be easy! For the second phase, the idea is to set up a data algorithm. For instance, today we know precisely how much water and energy goes into the production of a cotton T-shirt and how much pollution it generates. This standard data is common knowledge and can be used in algorithms. A lot of ground-breaking work goes into researching and developing this!
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
Hermès, Berluti, Cartier, IWC and the list goes on. Barely five years into his new vocation and Charles Dubos (GE 15) has already established a fine career for himself in the luxury industry, a sector which has long captivated his attention.
“I have always wanted to work in luxury,” says Charles, thinking back over his old memories. When I enrolled at a business school, I saw the chance of turning my passion into a career.”
For Charles, this fascination for objects of beauty can be traced back to his grandmother, a seamstress, his grandfather, a carpenter, and his father’s passion for watchmaking, who introduced him to the history behind some of these fine watches. When his father purchased his first valuable watch – a model worn by the American astronauts during the lunar missions – Charles accompanied him, as they shared the same fascination for space conquest.
“I was around twenty years old when my passion for watches really took hold,” explains Charles, who is currently the CEO’s chief of staff at IWC, the Swiss watchmaker. However, my fascination for the world of luxury goes back further than this.”
For his first work placement, Charles approached businesses working in the luxury market and landed a job at the Hermès shop in Nantes, located in Passage Pommeraye.
“I wanted to learn how to speak about luxury items in the right way. And yes, I learned a great deal during my time at Hermès, a benchmark in terms of expertise.”
Whereupon, he spent the next twelve months working at Berluti, where the student progressed in his sales technique of luxury items. Charles’ next stop was Cartier where he carried out his end-of-studies placement which saw him flourish.
Joining IWC, the Swiss watchmaker based in Schaffhausen, enabled Charles to reconnect with his first love for watches, although he also developed a genuine passion for shoes, fine leather goods and high-end ready-to-wear goods.
“Basically, what really appeals to me is the ancestral know-how and craftsmanship,” Charles adds. This matters to me. It’s a sector where we are selling the dream and bringing people joy. Luxury items are purchased for a happy occasion: a birthday, a wedding, a birth, or a promotion.”
His next mission: to create an offering designed specifically for fighter pilots. With this in mind, Charles has visited some American military bases and the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in order to collaborate with the French Rafale pilots. Moreover, for the past year and a half, he has also been working on a project to make watches for astronauts.
“This takes me right back to my two teenage passions, watches and space conquest!”
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
“It's a Match”, a novel by Aurelie Busollo (GE 08)
Hellen, a thick-skinned police detective carrying a sad secret. Andy, a law student as arrogant as he is brilliant, charming his way through life. Somya, a married psychologist's assistant with a dull routine aspiring for something more. All of them evolving few miles from each other in Northampton, UK. What happens when fate – or Tinder algorithms – throws them together and the past intersects? What to do when 'I love you a little, a lot, passionately, madly, not at all' turns into 'I like you a little, superlike you a lot, hot pick you, or simply nope'? Which couple will get their happy ending? Best beware the fire of love triangles kindled on Tinder!"It’s a Match" is an engaging romantic story of coincidences, mystery and relationships (or lack thereof) where the past and present intertwine. Swipe right through the pages for a lovely and sometimes very touching read with entertaining characters, intriguing unknowns, and witty word play.
"Alumni" remains a somewhat alien concept amongst French universities. Yet, how much longer can these establishments afford to continue playing down the important relationship which they really should be fostering with graduates? The practices adopted at some of the major public universities in the U.S. show that their alumni involvement correlates to their graduates having a strong sense of belonging. These relations provide universities with significant human, professional and financial resources. The prevailing view in France is that the contrasting environment here is incompatible with such an influx of resources. Yet, today a number of schools and universities are undergoing some genuine transformations in terms of their alumni relations. We are offering a broader perspective, made possible thanks to the testimonies gathered from both sides of the Atlantic, provided by faculty and foundation officials and alumni themselves. This is a practical handbook for 21st century course directors, heads of department, heads of institutes, as well as for deans and university presidents.
"Le réseau des diplômés, le cas Audencia" (Alumni networks, the Audencia experience), with the participation of Françoise Marcus, Director of alumni and corporate relations at Audencia.
Are you a published alumnus and would value the opportunity of sharing your work with fellow alumni? If so, then please drop the team a few lines here at: email@example.com
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!
If you too would like to tell us about your own recent appointment or new start-up, then please drop us a line here at firstname.lastname@example.org
Emilie Tendron, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni Team
To finish on a lighter note, we gave the floor to our Audencia community: staff members, alumni, students… A vox pop feedback that allowed us to ask everyone what was his or her personal luxury, or how they define luxury.
What is luxury to you?
Nicolas Arnaud, Director of Audencia programmes:
“My idea of luxury is playing a game of “Pay Day” with my children, all huddled together around the fire on a winter’s afternoon! To me, it’s about sharing quality time together.”
Tamim Elbasha, Director of Quality, Accreditations & Rankings:
“Luxury to me is spending time with my children at the beach: sharing a picnic, playing in the sand, swimming, and the like.”
Charles Dubos (GE 15):
“Luxury to me is simply spending time with my nearest and dearest!”
Guillaume Rué de Bernadac (GE 12):
“I’m watching my waistline and don’t drink or smoke. I’m on a very strict diet but I do allow myself the luxury of indulging in afternoon tea, a British tradition which has become rather popular with the Chinese. On the menu: a pot of tea, a selection of small cakes, scones, finger sandwiches, and so forth. A guilty pleasure I like to partake in with my friends or clients.”
Fany Gardes (Audencia SciencesCom student):
"It's all about getting some ‘me time’, like taking time out for a good soak in the bath. I often treat myself to this.”
Françoise Marcus, Director of Corporate and Alumnmi Relations, Chief Delegate of Audencia Foundation:
“It’s a special moment. For instance, taking in the vastness of a landscape just as the sun is setting, in total silence, or simply enjoying great food, unusual ingredients which are new to me and take me by surprise.”
Marie-Caroline Gaumerais (GE 19):
“Getting to meet and share ideas every day with people who have fire in their belly. I learn a lot from them.”
Alice Poupard (MDC 19):
“Having my cat with me as often as I can. I’m a big fan.”
Laurène Michon (Bachelor 14):
“My 45-minute yoga session every morning.”
Jeanne Scala Coa (Audencia SciencesCom student):
“It’s spending quality time with my nieces and nephews whom I rarely get to see. They never cease to amaze me every time I see them!”
Gustave de Campigneulles (GE 14):
“Setting aside an hour of the day to focus only on myself and take time to explore the projects that mean a lot to me. No screens, no interruptions from colleagues or family and friends, ideally in a calm setting. The aim of it is to manage my energy and attention levels, all the more special as this helps me value every instant of the day, good or bad.”
So, how would you define luxury?
“It’s self-image and how you perceive yourself, in an idealised manner. It’s the man or woman we aspire to become in the eyes of others.”
“It’s the intersection of three criteria: quality, price, and image.”
"It’s something quite exceptional, not so much an object but more so an experience or an encounter.”
"Uniqueness and rarity. Whether that be an object or a moment spent".
"All the ordinary things that bring joy to the everyday: a stranger smiling at you on the underground, a ray of sunshine, etc...”
“Quality time, noble materials, comfort, being in the company of those dear to me, and so on. In short, it’s the simple things in life that bring a smile to my face.”
“It’s accessibility. Thanks to my five years’ experience setting up digital companies in Africa, I can better appreciate just how valuable it is to have access to opportunities, operational infrastructures, nature, cultural heritage, people from all different walks of life, tranquil settings and time off, etc... which are not freely accessible to everyone.”
Thank you for reading The Mag #12 and for this great start of 2020.
This year, your School celebrates its 120th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the Foundation!
On this occasion, Audencia will organise 120 events from January to October, in France and abroad. Join the Audencia Alumni community by creating your account on Together and by participating in upcoming events near you!
See you at the beginning of April for the next issue of The Mag. Do you have any ideas for future issues? Do you want to get involved in writing an article for the magazine? Do you have any other question? Drop us a line at email@example.com
See you soon!
Your Alumni team
More info on Together