So here we are, already onto our final issue for this school year.
Before we break up for what we hope will be a relaxing, nurturing, sunshiny summer for you all, let’s take a moment to delve into a topic so dear to Audencia: hybrid skills.
Featuring within the pages of this 17th edition: dual skills, multi-skilling, enhanced and responsible hybridisation, getting acquainted with our first ever management-engineering class year, and more. We’ll give you the lowdown on everything there is to know and then some. Whether you choose to discover the many topics featured here from the comfort of your sofa or else poolside, check out this latest issue without delay.
Speaking on behalf of the entire Alumni team, with the release of every new issue we remain super proud to bring you such wonderful stories from across the network, featuring so many of your inspiring achievements. Also, with more and more of you reading The Mag (a huge thank you for this!), we hope you’ll enjoy reading it just as much as we have compiling it.
And, as this is your magazine, should you have any story ideas that are important to you, don’t hesitate to submit and share them with us! We guarantee we’ll take a close look at them all, simply write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
By the way, Audencia Alumni has just launched its new LinkedIn page, so feel free to subscribe!
Wishing you all a truly awesome summer.
Amandine Luce, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
In a world undergoing fast-paced shifts, it is no longer enough to merely master one area of specialised expertise and the hard skills that come with it. For the past decade, the notion of skills hybridisation has been gaining ground in both academia and the business world. But what exactly does all this entail?
From dual skills, to multi-skilling, engineer-manager profiles and more…, there are so many terms to convey the hybridisation of skills which has, for a great many years now, been a practice here at Audencia, actively involved in decompartmentalising the teaching of hard skills. Yet, in a broader sense, when it comes to articulating hybridisation, this must also encompass the hard skills – soft skills duo.
“Within the framework of the Audencia – Centrale – ENSA Alliance and its collaboration with the RH&M Group (training and development providers for HR professionals and management executives), some 70 HR managers took part in a think-tank on this subject”, explains Françoise Marcus, Director of the Corporate and Alumni Relations Department, who was herself involved in the publication, released in 2017 under n°9 of the school’s Future-oriented Report.
Entitled “Skills Hybridisation: a key process for shaping tomorrow?”, this publication cites the American psychologist Howard Gardner and his theory relating to eight different types of intelligence, some of which are cognitive-based and others to do with relationships, and also takes emotions into account. For the psychiatrist Serge Tisseron, a hybrid type “is a person capable of simultaneously combining at least two to three different forms of intelligence.”
“By developing a number of increasingly innovative partnerships with other academies which go beyond the field of management, both in France and worldwide, I am referring to the new transatlantic partnership established with the New York Film academy, the School is supporting students to simultaneously develop several types of intelligence (both hard and soft skills) enabling them to reach their full potential and adapt to our complex world”, Françoise Marcus explains.
This is exactly what businesses are expecting nowadays, adds Agnès Marchand, Head of the Audencia Career Center:
“Being an expert in your field is all well and good but it isn’t enough. Businesses need people who see the bigger picture on the strength of their soft skills: their adaptability to change and agility when faced with the unexpected, their cross-cutting approach with regard to the realities of the company, their ability to work as part of a team, as well as their emotional intelligence”.
Just as the Career Center helps students to enhance the transdisciplinary nature of their training, it also supports them in finding their own special characteristics. In other words, by underlining the synergy of their hard skills and their soft skills and putting this notion of skills hybridisation into action, as it were.
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
© Philippe Cauneau - Audencia
Nicolas Arnaud, Director of Programmes at Audencia, examines the characteristics of Audencia’s powerful and differentiating benchmark, namely responsible and increased hybridisation, a central part of its new ECOS 2025 strategic plan.
The second focus of the strategic plan refers to “generalised and increased hybridisation”, so why is this?
We’ve been talking about hybridisation for the past 15 years here at Audencia. This notion of interdisciplinarity is the bedrock of the Centrale – Audencia – Ensa Alliance, but equally a number of our double-degree programmes we’ve built up over time. What has been – and remains – a powerful and differentiating benchmark has now become a mainstay, and is very much part of our DNA.
Today, we need to dig deeper, spurred on by three major challenges:
How will this concept take shape?
We have founded Gaïa, the very first school ever to be launched by a business school, which is entirely dedicated to positive-impact training in managerial strategies and practices. Henceforth, 100% of our students receiving training will follow part of their course learning all about the complexities of these subjects, covering ecological and social transition as well as getting to grips with the professional implications for their own training pathways.
We are also stepping up the incorporation of a technological dimension to our programmes, still from a responsible standpoint, chiefly with the establishment of a common core curriculum of DATA, technologies and Artificial Intelligence on the Grande Ecole Programme in 2022. But here again, we are no longer merely focusing on programmes in an academic sense, but seeking to fully incorporate this notion of interdisciplinarity by working directly inside the ecosystems with our corporate partners. Over the coming years, we wish to go so far as the complete co-branding of programmes alongside large corporations specialising in technology and data.
So, we’re going way beyond dual skills…
This takes us beyond plain interdisciplinarity! It’s fundamentally about instilling new responses, changing mindsets to imagine the world in all its complexity but also the individuals we ourselves are. For example, we are going global by opening up new academic opportunities, outside of management, notably with the New York Film Academy to offer students a different way to flourish.
This is a response to the expectations of students and organisations who will eventually go on to employ them. It’s our way of being a better school for the world.
Florence Alix-Gravellier, Editor
© Philippe Cauneau - Audencia
We catch up with three women who were part of the first management-engineering class year.
Develop a dual skill in management to improve one’s job prospects as an engineer… Karine Polycarpe, Chloé Lecarpentier and Laura Boisseleau all made the same choice. Along with seven other women, they were the first to pursue a combined course between Audencia and an engineering school. Now at the age of 35, what have they gone on to achieve since graduating in 2010?
“During my engineering studies at the Ecole des Mines in Douai, I carried out my first internship in an industrial environment. It was a real revelation!” recalls Laura Boisseleau, who went on to pursue an 18-month double degree at Audencia. Her goal: “to aim for a managerial position working in a factory.”
Fast-forward eleven years and it is mission accomplished! Now living in French department of the Sarthe, since 2017 she has been working as the production director for a firm specialised in industrial joinery. Laura has been honing in on this passion for industry since the very start of her career. Once graduated, she went on to be hired by PSA in Mulhouse, becoming their production manager. Three years later, she joined an SME that was part of a leading international group in the animal nutrition sector. She would become the managing director of the factory for a period of two years. She subsequently held the same position in a firm based in the Vendée region of France, involved in the production of aperitif snacks.
Chloé Lecarpentier’s career path has taken her towards energy transition. After a spell at the INSA in Rennes and Audencia, she landed her first job in a company based in Lyon as their project manager in charge of photovoltaic systems, before branching off into product development and team management. Seven years later, in 2017, she moved to the Drôme in Southeast France, where she started a new chapter: “from renewable energies in the private sector to energy sobriety in the public sector.” She then got a foot in the door at a local authority (Valence Romans Agglo) which supports homeowners in the energy renovation of their homes. Since January, she has been managing a team of five staff.
As for Karine Polycarpe, she has been fulfilling her international ambitions… Following an internship in the United States (with the Accor hotel chain) and then a term spent in India, within the framework of her double degree programme with Audencia and the Ecole Centrale de Nantes, she opted to take a VIE (International Business Volunteering), with a view to challenging herself. A French firm manufacturing electric cables was planning to open a subsidiary in Bombay. This 23-year-old got the project underway. She had the opportunity to live out “a real-life entrepreneurial experience”, despite encountering difficulties asserting herself in an industrial workplace and spend three years in a country with a different culture. Alongside her husband, who had himself been transferred to Singapore, she jetted off for Asia. After a year’s experience with a local startup (involving the Internet of Things) in charge of their business development, five years ago she joined an American firm that provides electrical protection for buildings. Her role is to boost sales. A mission she has continued in Hong Kong for the last two years.
Florence Falvy, Editor
In recognition for his achievements as HR Transformation and Communications Director at Crédit Agricole Technologies and Services, Marc Do Van Tuan (GE 95) won the 2020 Digital HRD award issued by the National Association of HRD. Currently Deputy CEO at Crédit Agricole Group Infrastructure Platform, he looks back on this distinction which crowns a vast digital transformation project in human resources.
Could you give us some background on the extensive digital transformation project you carried out at Crédit Agricole, specifically in the field of HR?
Marc Do Van Tuan: In the banking sector, customer relationships have been dramatically revisited since the emergence of digital technology. As the market leader and the tenth biggest bank in the world, we endeavour to hold onto the positives of being in close proximity to our clients via our network of branches, but equally provide our entire range of services remotely, thereby delivering the best digital customer experience possible. In other words, by embracing the digital trend whilst still remaining a benchmark when it comes to our branch of networks. To make a difference, the digital transformation of our services must indeed be enhanced by human responsibility. This constitutes the main focus of our strategy. This is what we are aiming for with our IT work.
How did you go about achieving this?
Marc Do Van Tuan: By using Agile software methodology, developed for the IT sector in the US back in the early 2000s, we managed to set up a new business model to amalgamate its main functions and make the staff working closest to the customer aware of their responsibilities. The Agile method brings about a high degree of transversality in working practices, that is to say by promoting the advanced hybridisation of professions. In terms of HR, in the absence of an inspiring Agile model to draw upon, transformation was the result of a fruitful collaboration that was continually tested and adjusted. It involved bringing all teams, comprising some 1,600 staff, on board with Agile culture!
How might the effects of skills hybridisation manifest itself in practice?
Marc Do Van Tuan: Throughout companies, there are often many talents that are unable to operate outside a particular field. The question we should be asking ourselves is: what might encourage staff to step outside a given role, and free up their talents? By promoting transversality and encouraging departments and staff to be autonomous, skills hybridisation is naturally called upon. But beware: the right to make mistakes is an inherent part of Agile methodology. In other words, hybridisation is a matter of trust. This may seem counterintuitive but having the right to make mistakes actually liberates skills and can prove of service to the business provided it knows how to learn from its mistakes.
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
Diversity: this is the first word that springs to mind when describing the exceptional mosaic of career paths taken by graduates of Audencia. To mark its 120th anniversary, the school launched its Iconic Alumni project, a collection of ten annual career stories encapsulating this diversity.
What is the common link between the composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, Sorachna Honn, the founder of one of Cambodia’s first commercial banks, Vincent Roux, an AI entrepreneur, and Estelle Nze Minko, a professional handball player and entrepreneur, GE 67, IMM 08, GE 04 and SCOM 15 respectively? Well, all four of them have been students of Audencia, some more recently than others. What’s more, all four have been selected to feature in our series of emblematic alumni portraits, published in April and available both online and in printed version, an initial annual salute to what promises to become a true collection of inspiring career stories.
“The main focus of the Iconic Alumni project is to generate a wide range of emblematic career stories,” explains Françoise Marcus, Director of the Corporate and Alumni Relations Department. “It’s not about glorifying success, a somewhat relative notion, but rather self-realisation. This may be in entrepreneurship or finance, as well as in sport or culture, for example.”
Headed up by Katie Francois, from the School’s alumni team, and written by Katia Herault (GE 01), the Iconic Alumni project shines a spotlight on profiles from across all academic programmes and nationalities, based all over the globe.
“While the diploma is just one aspect of a much larger set of factors that go towards determining an alumni’s career path, this portrait gallery shows that the school enables graduates to hold the keys to managing both a professional career and a personal commitment head-on, and even combine the two together,” Matthieu Bonnamy adds, Head of the Alumni Center at Audencia.
Everyone stands to find food for thought, be they students, applicants, alumni, associates, parents, or faculty staff etc. Iconic Alumni caters to the entire Audencia ecosystem.
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
© Philippe Cauneau - Audencia
Blockchain technology is becoming increasingly prevalent. This is especially true at Audencia and here’s how.
Audencia is continuing to build on the range of services it provides for alumni. Ever keen to harness the benefits of new technologies, the School has adopted Blockchain as a means of downloading its degree certificates directly online, via a custom URL, in an ultra-reliable and safe way. Therefore, this forge-proof document can be published on both alumni CVs and their professional social networks. In just one click, individuals interested in their profile can instantly verify the true qualifications of the degree holder. For the time being, this service is exclusively available to alumni enrolled on the Bachelor, SciencesCom and Grande Ecole programmes over the last ten-year period. Future class years will also be able to benefit from this service provision. Ultimately, depending on the success of the initiative and how popular it becomes, Audencia is planning to roll this out across all academic programmes.
A digital bodyguard
Featuring among this group of alumni we find Matthieu Boutard (GE 12). Indeed, new technologies hold no secrets for him. This 33-year-old social entrepreneur, who has worked for both Groupon and Google, heads up ESS Bodyguard in Nice which employs a staff of 22.
Its mission? To prevent cyberbullying on social networks thanks to a free-of-charge, ad-free mobile app that is available on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch and Facebook. In 2017, Charles Cohen came up with this “practical and preventive” solution that uses technology to detect hateful content in real time (i.e., containing racist, homophobic and sexist comments, as well as psychological harassment and other insulting remarks) on the Internet.
This process takes place in three stages.
“Artificial intelligence makes it possible to reformulate what is written and pick up on any potentially hateful words. Next, contrary to the existing solutions that rely on the filtering of keywords, this technology analyses the context surrounding the message and looks beyond that to identify who is being targeted.”
Once filtered, the offensive content is then hidden or removed.
Bodyguard currently safeguards 55,000 users across the globe: from politicians to journalists, YouTubers, professional athletes as well as individuals posting on social networks.
As of January 2021, thanks to a paid API, businesses can also access this digital bodyguard. The startup comprises around a dozen clients (in media, gaming stakeholders, sports clubs etc.).
“Each month, we sift through roughly 10 million abusive comments. We have observed a real surge in hate-motivated comments related to the economic context and the current health crisis. People are lashing out on the social networks”, explains Matthieu Boutard, who is intent on turning Bodyguard into “a benchmark for protecting against toxic content on the international stage”.
Florence Falvy, Editor
Exams, building work, events, conferences, and more. Over recent months, it’s certainly been a hive of activity around the Audencia campus.
It’s exam time again!
Across all programmes, spring is the season for Audencia’s entrance exams, and in the orals for admission to the School’s flagship Grande Ecole Programme, taking place from 25 May to 13 July.
As is the case every year, Audencia is once again calling on alumni to take part in these tests by becoming jury members. For this upcoming session, applicants are being welcomed in person, and will be taken on a journey of the school, with our Around the World in 80 Days theme.
As always, the spirit of goodwill and listening to others will prevail, as one of our applicants, Claire, shared last year, during an interview for Le Figaro:
"I don’t know if I passed, but I really enjoyed my time with the panel. They weren’t trying to destabilise me at all.”
Inauguration of the “TREEG”
June also marks the completion of the construction work being carried out to revamp the school forecourt, culminating in the installation of the “TREEG”, a monumental work of art designed by the artist Pascale Marthine Tayou. The arrival of this creation on our Audencia Atlantic Campus symbolises Audencia’s historic commitment to engagement and inclusion, supporting culture and the arts in their broadest sense. The “TREEG”, bearing the eggs of knowledge, symbolises the living, moving and boundless dimension of knowledge. This particularly resonates with Audencia which remains firmly geared towards the hybridisation of knowledge. This work of art will be inaugurated on 25 June with a select group of representatives in attendance.
Generation Equality: Audencia is getting behind the movement
In collaboration with the Open Diplomacy Institute and other actors in higher education, Audencia is co-organising the #OurGenerationEquality Grand Tour, a new national initiative in support of women’s rights. It is preparing the UN’s Women’s summit, to be hosted in France from 30 June to 2 July, 2021. Audencia remains committed to issues related to gender equality, in particular through its Positive Impact Chair, and took part in the proceedings on Friday 16 April, notably in the company of Sarah El Hairy, the Secretary of State for Youth and Engagement, Olivia Grégoire, the Secretary of State to the Minister of the Economy, as well as Delphine O, Ambassador and General Secretary of the Generation Equality Forum.
Isegoria Conferences: starring a former French President
On 1 April this year, the Isegoria series of talks, organised by the student association of the School, welcomed François Hollande as their guest speaker. The former French President made particular reference to his foundation, "La France s’engage", which seeks to promote actions to support social innovation. He also spoke about his latest book “The Lessons of Power” and assessed how they might prove useful in decoding the major issues of our time.
Jordi Soude (SCOM 07), Editor
Here at Audencia, as elsewhere, the current health crisis is forcing us to reinvent ourselves. How can we interact informally, exchange tips and share knowledge when we haven’t been able to meet in-person for such a long time?
With Around the World, Audencia’s now traditional annual round-the-world trip from one alumni community to another, like many gatherings organised by Audencia Careers and Audencia Alumni, over recent months moving events online has occurred quite naturally, with a lighter but ever-engaging programme to meet the needs of graduates amidst such difficult times.
“We want to look forward and offer agile formats, with a return to offline activities just as soon as is feasibly possible,” explains Matthieu Bonnamy, Head of the school’s Alumni Center.
“Even under the current health constraints, we are seriously funny,” continues Antoine Lambert (GE 06) from La Belle Boîte who is collaborating with Audencia Alumni for an interactive webinar tackling sexism in the workplace. This issue concerns all Audencia alumni communities and the hosts of La Belle Boîte are expecting a large turnout on 8 June (Register on Together).
There will be quizzes and video clips, with collaborative exchanges to help you get to grips with the legislation, identify any red-flag situations and learn how to adopt appropriate behaviour when a breach is flagged up, or when testifying as a witness.
“We work at the core of our culture to stop it being sexist, make it move with the times, render it more contemporary, and more egalitarian,” Antoine Lambert explains during the video clip presenting one of the workshops which is seeking to move things on using humour and determination.
Florence Alix-Gravellier, Editor
This is a two-way perspective with Anne Villate, Head of recruitment for the Executive MBA programme, and participants of the course who have gone on to co-opt other employees from within their company. They share their viewpoints.
The first Executive MBA class year was established in 2006. Since then, some 400 individuals have followed this “generalist course [72 days spread out over 18 months] aimed at working professionals (80%), those shifting roles, and those wishing to build their own business (20%)”, explains Anne Villate in charge of recruitment for the programme. Their goal: “to move more towards strategic missions.” Among the course attendees features a group of several co-workers from the same company.
Co-opting: a real asset
Among them: Anthony Guillouët, Head of Direct Domestic at DB Schenker (Montaigu) and the first of the employees from there to have followed this programme, back in 2016.
“At the time, I was branch director and was looking to build up my skills, and in so doing, provide greater staff support, be able to interpret weak signals and thereby develop winning strategies… In the main, to feel better equipped to move in a highly competitive road haulage market.”
Since then, under his guidance, two further co-workers have gone down the same path. One of them, the sales planning director, enrolled onto the 2019-2020 class year. The second, who is head of international development and LTL/FTL operations is currently a student on the Executive MBA.
Also sharing his experience is Gildas Perrot, Head of LGP Consulting in Nantes, who was a member of the 2011-2012 class year.
“I was increasingly in a position where I had to interact with corporate managers and was encountering issues related to strategy. Therefore, there was a need for me to build up my skill set. What’s more, my firm was also experiencing growth at the time. That’s why we needed to step up with respect to leadership.” He says: “I found this training with people from all different backgrounds tremendously enriching. Furthermore, the demanding work pace allows you to gain in intellectual agility.”
Three years ago, he too co-opted a fellow worker.
“As a member of the Management Board, she had the potential to be a good leader. I encouraged her to follow this programme, with a view to making her way up to becoming a partner. This was a way for her to position herself within the company whilst legitimising her role in the eyes of the other team members.”
Having a number of Exec MBA graduates within the same company is a valuable asset, claims Anthony Guillouët:
“This enables you to have a better approach, become more efficient, impact your mid-term corporate strategic policy, and give substance to what you’re doing…”
Gildas Perrot is totally on the same page:
“It provides a common frame of reference, forge a collective vision, and more. This certainly has an impact on corporate dynamics.”
For more information about the Executive MBA programme, contact Anne Villate: email@example.com
Florence Falvy, Editor
Celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Culture & Management Club’s Innovation Award
The Culture & Management Club, today bringing together 8 prestigious schools including Audencia as of 2016, is celebrating five years of its Innovation Award. On this occasion, the distinguished Club held a virtual event on 18 May, gathering together all of the prize winners since its creation:
“Each, year, between 5 and 7 startups or businesses are recognised with our sector-specific award,” explains Pierre Reinisch (GE 13), Audencia ambassador within the Club.
“There’s everything from cinema, to publishing, live shows and more. This year, due to the health crisis, there will be no handing out of awards but we’ll be using the event as an opportunity to announce the changes we’re bringing in, with, from 2022, some cross-cutting categories including global reach, the diversification of economic models and capital raising. It’s important to highlight that this award affords a high degree of visibility to prize winners in the cultural sector. It often paves the way towards them receiving further accolades.”
MS MOS alumni honoured in a podcast series
A project spearheaded by Etienne Cassagne (GE 09), the Specialised Master in the Management of Sports Organisations is launching a series of podcasts seeking to get alumni to tell their stories:
“It was Gaspard Normani, himself a graduate, who came up with the original idea when he was just starting out in podcast production,” Etienne explains. “We are producing one podcast per month in the run-up to summer and then we’ll make it into more of an educational project with the students at the start of the school year.”
The first two episodes were a chance for Thibault Leflot (MOS 06 and Head of communications for a company specialised in e-sport) and Guillaume Imbaud (Sales Manager at Eventeam) to share their respective career journeys and their different takes on their own professions.
“Inside Audencia” at the Mediacampus
Calling all alumni interested in communication and responsible news, as well as all things media, and experimenting with new teaching methods. On 6 July at 12.45 p.m. you are invited to join us for our all-new and exclusive TV broadcast “Audencia en immersion” (“Inside Audencia”). This virtual meeting, live from the Mediacampus, will give you a behind-the-scenes look at this unique and hybrid hub, home to Audencia SciencesCom, TéléNantes, as well as a communications agency, a TV production set and a radio studio.
Thanks to the stories shared during guest appearances on the show, you’ll discover the dynamics, the companies and the projects that together make up this rich and productive ecosystem. The show will be in the company of Sylvie Chancelier, Head of Audencia SciencesCom and Estelle Prusker, Professor and Mediacampus Manager.
Jordi Soude (SCOM 07), Editor
The third edition of Audencia Around the World, our annual event that shines a spotlight on our alumni communities around the world, took place from 25 March to 1 April this year.
The 2021 Audencian around-the-world trip included a total of 30 gatherings, 20 of which were hosted online as well as 10 in-person events in countries where this was permitted, and spanned 23 countries over a period of 8 days. Some 450 of those who had signed up for the events participated in this 2021 phygital edition that was delivered entirely in English.
“I was contacted to help in the preparations and thought helping to set up an event like this would be a good challenge to set myself,” Pauline Dugnach explains. “We had just under a week to put together a rather unusual type of event: a remote wine tasting experience hosted in a restaurant in Geneva.”
This gave Pauline a hands-on opportunity to discover just why the alumni network is so important:
“I quickly got in touch with Mélina, an Audencia graduate who works in the marketing department of the Hilton in Geneva. She was co-organiser of the event and was on site to help facilitate communication with the resident sommelier Vincent Debergé, who played host to this virtual wine tasting from his restaurant, ‘Chez Bacchus.’ The thinking behind this gathering was to take alumni on a virtual journey around a few of the top Swiss wine-growing regions and be guided by an expert giving presentations and putting on tasting sessions of four renowned grape varieties. There were around fifteen guests in attendance from Geneva, Paris and Nantes etc. My role was to liaise between the different teams at Audencia in Nantes and the participants: one of my contributions was coming up with a good way of filming the sommelier: From what angle? Where in the restaurant? For me, this was my first real opportunity to get to know the Alumni network. I now realise that Audencia really is one big family.”
As for Cécile Griffon, she herself took part in the “Columbia” gathering:
“I always keep a watchful eye on what’s on at Audencia. As I have a keen interest in all things Latin America and Columbia, I signed up to this event.”
This is how she got to know three alumni in particular: two Columbians and one Frenchman who had spent twenty years working over there.
“I’d love to head off to Columbia to work there and our conversations have certainly made me all the more determined. Meeting these people will undoubtedly prove useful when the project starts to take shape. They have all given me their contact details so that I can get in touch if needs be. That’s the power of the alumni network!”
Jordi Soude (SCOM 07), Editor
After graduating from Audencia SciencesCom in 2018, Jeanne Leroy (formerly Audren) chose to head off on a round-the-world trip, before eventually settling in Vietnam, more precisely in Hoi An, a coastal city situated thirty kilometres from Da Nang. This is her tale.
“On 10 March 2018, together with Charles, my then boyfriend now husband, we set off on a journey that would take us from South America to Australia and then on to New Zealand and Asia.”
These destinations gave Jeanne the chance to get into voluntary work.
“In Ecuador, I took care of welcoming tourists at an eco-resort and also helped out with the communications for their social network.”
In Vietnam, where the couple eventually decided to settle after their 18-month peregrination, the young woman committed herself to animal welfare, by becoming the manager of a cat shelter.
“We took kittens in and found people to adopt them and our primary task was to alert the population to cat and dog trafficking, animals whose meat is still considered a delicacy in some parts of the country.”
From vegan tapas to digital marketing
Subsequent to this initial experience in the country, Jeanne decided to go down a completely different track by setting up her own restaurant.
“It’s really quite simple to start a business here. There’s very little red tape and you can be up and running relatively quickly.”
By a stroke of luck, the first person she met in Hoi An had set up his own snack bar, mainly catering for expats – French, English, Americans, Australians etc.
“He wanted to sell his business on and asked if I’d be interested in taking it over. I put my own personal stamp on it by turning it into a vegan tapas bar.” This experience only lasted several months or so: “The health crisis put an end to this venture: many expats left the country and the tourists were no longer allowed to travel here.”
Yet, Jeanne once again bounced back and joined Metiseko, a ready-to-wear fashion brand founded 10 years ago by a Franco-Vietnamese creator. For the past four years, she has held the post of digital marketing manager, a role which is all the more important during these strange Covid times:
“The sales in our boutiques, which are heavily reliant on tourism, have fallen dramatically. E-commerce will put the brand back on top and I intend to help bring this about!”
As to any potential return to France, it’s not really on the cards for the time being: “we’re truly in an extraordinary place here,” Jeanne explains. “To be fair, it probably has a lot to do with the weather. I think I’ll be staying in Vietnam for the next two to three years.”
Jordi Soude (SCOM 07), Editor
Exceptional times call for exceptional measures. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the Audencia Foundation has launched its new Solidarity Fundraiser to help support students in difficulty.
In the spring of 2020, the first round of the Solidarity Fundraiser collected a total of €65,800 – exceeding the original target of €60,000 – directly benefitting 160 students who were eligible for this support. This year, our second round is endeavouring to raise the bar higher still by setting a fundraising total of €70,000.
Four weeks after the launch of the donation campaign, it’s quite clear that this solidarity drive is creating quite a buzz and is resonating with donors: €43,000, nigh on 65% of the target, has already been collected. This speed of charitable giving is unprecedented.
“It is all the more encouraging as this year, we are observing a great many first-time donors amongst our alumni, a clear demonstration that the message is getting through and that the network is adept at rallying support in times of crisis to help students facing financial hardship,” enthuses Karyn Mikkelsen-Tillet, Development Manager of the Audencia Foundation.
As was the case last year, the 2021 Solidarity Fund seeks to support students of Audencia who have lost the very job that helped cover their living costs (a monthly average of €600), to support those whose families are experiencing sudden financial difficulties and are not eligible to receive government benefits, and to provide a response to the growing number of students having to take out a loan, including our international students who find themselves in a precarious economic situation.
“It’s our turn to come alongside the new generation, especially during these times of pandemic.” declares Marie-Françoise Marie-Nelly (GE 78), Country Director for Southern Africa at The World Bank.
“As a graduate of Audencia and having myself been in receipt of their support, I would like to give something back by supporting students in need,” adds Olivier Briche (GE 04), Market Manager at Sobem-Scame.
The School is also playing its part, as Laurent Métral, Group HR Director at Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale and President of Audencia explains:
“More than ever before, Audencia wants to show its solidarity and support to students in what is now a period of extreme hardship for many of them. To step up to the plate, Audencia has made a contribution of €25,000 to the Solidarity Fund. Please stand with us in solidarity and support the cause!”
To donate and find out about claiming tax deduction on your charitable donation >
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
As of early April, the Audencia Foundation website now includes a Frequently Asked Questions feature to answer your questions regarding the Foundation, set up by the School 12 years ago.
“The idea came to us back in February, during a workshop bringing together alumni ambassadors,” explains Karyn Mikkelsen-Tillet, Head of development for the Audencia Foundation. “The Foundation was one of the topics we discussed. We realised it was lacking visibility among graduates. It’s not a case of them being reluctant to donate and get behind the Foundation’s projects, but rather that far too many don’t even know it exists!”
Moreover, alumni who are aware that the Foundation exists don’t necessarily know what it actually does. Hence, the thinking behind the FAQ feature, to answer questions that crop up the most among alumni and make the Foundation more visible across the entire network.
What does the Audencia Foundation do? Where does the funding come from? Does my donation go straight to students in need? How is the Foundation helping students during the Covid crisis? You’ll find short and precise answers to all of these questions.
For instance, you may be wondering why the Foundation needs your support at all considering you’ve already paid your school fees. The answer is unequivocal:
“Financial changes in higher education and competition, both in France and on the international stage, have prompted the Grandes Ecoles to reinvent their economic model. Some 20 years ago, 25% of our budget came from public funding. Today, this figure stands at 0%. The loss in public subsidies, reforms in apprenticeship tax, and the need for investment to meet international accreditation standards are compelling reasons for the Grandes Ecoles to raise their school fees. The knock-on effect of this increase is a tendency towards the self-censorship of students from disadvantaged backgrounds who, as things stand, are not always eligible to meet the necessary criteria to qualify for a grant.”
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
Some 20 years after its creation, the Centrale – Audencia – Ensa Incubator continues to reinvent itself. It is continuously moving onwards and upwards, catering to the needs of entrepreneurs born out of this Nantes ecosystem or else wishing to return.
Year on year, ten or so new projects carried by students, alumni or faculty from among the three schools of the Alliance, join the rising stars being nurtured within the Incubator, following in the footsteps of InVirtus Technologies, which is now flying with its own wings.
“We quite naturally approached the Centrale – Audencia – Ensa Incubator at the start of our entrepreneurial venture,” explains Frédéric Belhache (GE 88). “As former students, it was a real pleasure for us to get back on the campus where we’d spent our student years and meet up with the faculty again, who are just as close as ever to the corporate world, with lecturers who are experts in their field, concentrated in and around agile infrastructures.”
Three years on finds InVirtus Technologies and its tracking solutions for assets and production orders in a strong position, having completed a second round of funding at the start of 2020 to the tune of €750,000, exhibited at the top specialised trade fairs, forged both technical partnerships (with The European Space Agency, LS2N and more) and joined forces with leading business partners.
“The fast-paced exchanges between the teams at the Incubator, the variety of topics covered there and the access it opens up to an extensive network of associates, all proved of huge benefit to us when developing our project. What’s more, thanks to the incubation period, we were given valuable guidance on completing our CTI and PTI applications for support, we went on to become Réseau Entreprendre and Atlanpole award winners.
Over the past two years, we have developed an innovative Asset Tracking solution called "plug & play”, which is a durable, all-purpose solution that covers the entire planet. In short, it’s the solution to all of your advanced tracking needs.
Then, in parallel to a steady recruitment drive, we launched our marketing campaign in Europe. We are gearing up for another round of capital raising at the end of 2021, seeking to strengthen our international profile and step up our R&D investment and development.
Now, I would definitely recommend that all Audencians, including those who have moved away from the school, come and witness everything that’s happening here at the Incubator and get themselves fully involved with Audencia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
In September, the Incubator is set to welcome a new cohort of entrepreneurial projects, an altogether tremendous opportunity not to be missed: you can now submit your application. The deadline for direct online submissions is on 23 June. The winners will be announced on 7 July 2021.
If you’d like to discover – or maybe even help fund – the entrepreneurial projects, take part in our next Demo Day, where our incubated startups get to pitch to investors in the region.
Florence Alix-Gravellier, Editor
Christelle Assen (MS SMED 20), Caroline Rey (GE 13) and Nicolas Gumy (BACHELOR 18) share something in common: they are all Audencia AUDACE award winners within the “Acceleration” category. This trio of entrepreneurially-driven alumni share their stories…
Three Audencia alumni talents
To begin with: 43 projects, 8 of which came under the “Acceleration” category. In the end, the third edition of the AUDACE Contest singled out three business projects. And there’s a new addition to this year’s contest: the special “coup de coeur” prize.
“I was so very moved,” recalls 28-year-old prize winner Christelle Assen (MS SMED 20).
As a nod to her passion for fashion and her Cameroonian origins, she came up with Mikono, an online marketplace providing greater exposure for African designers seeking to go global.
Still on the subject of ready-to-wear fashion, let’s get acquainted with Caroline Rey (GE 13), who was awarded the jury prize. To fill a gap in the market, in collaboration with a friend she launched a clothing brand specialising in 100% ethical women’s workwear. Its name: 17H10. The concept?
“To provide a range of jackets, trousers and skirts to mix and match to suit your style and morphology,” explains this young 31-year-old entrepreneur, honoured to have received so much praise.
Finally, let’s hit the road alongside Nicolas Gumy (BACHELOR 18), winner of the audencia prize. His idea: to give a second life to old gas-fired combi vans (former EDF-type vans) and convert them into fitted-out campers that are 100% self-sufficient in electricity.
A real booster
For this 23-year-old entrepreneur, the AUDACE Contest was an opportunity to define his “Bloom Campers” business model. “It proved a real booster! he acknowledges. While his company has only just started out, their very first electric combi van will be arriving this summer, prior to the September launch of a website and the opening of their rental agency in Vannes in 2022, with a fleet of six vehicles. This concept is destined to develop into a franchise the following year throughout France.
Caroline Rey is also determined to take her business to the next level with the opening of a second store in Paris, this time located on the left bank, and a fundraising drive would certainly help her to structure the staff of six people. The 17H10 brand might even make it to the French provinces, or indeed hit the highstreets of some of the major European capitals.
As for Christelle Assen’s project, it will be moving up to the next level too at the start of the school year, when Mikono marketplace is set to go online, listing 20 to 25 creators and featuring a co-creation space into the bargain. Now that’s what I call a perfect fit!
Florence Falvy, Editor
A number of Audencia alumni have changed post over recent months. Congratulations to each and every one of them on these wonderful new appointments!
If you too would like to tell us about a recent change in post or business creation, we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us a line here at firstname.lastname@example.org
Emilie Tendron, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Discover the latest publications from in and around the Audencia network:
« Des études à l’emploi : les Grandes Ecoles se réinventent » ("From studies to employment: the Grandes Ecoles are reinventing themselves")
After a year of ongoing health crisis, Audencia is publishing a white paper on the Grandes Ecoles.
It centres around three key elements: “How to maintain high-quality teaching.”, “How best to support students and graduates.”, and “How to deliver on employability.”
This publication paints the picture of a sector which, for the last year, has remained committed to turning these challenges into opportunities and in so doing, achieve lasting metamorphosis.
« Rapport Annuel 2020 » ("2020 Annual Report")
Christophe Germain, the Dean of Audencia: “2020 will forever be remembered as a year of endless challenges: a year of safeguarding our health, one of ensuring educational continuity and one of fighting against isolation, thanks to a tremendous outpouring of solidarity right across our community.”
Discover the digital annual report in this dedicated video featuring a message from Christophe Germain on what has been a year like no other here at Audencia.
« Les aventures de Pénélope » (Penelope’s adventures)
In volume 1, Pénélope Bœuf (GE 07) expresses her desires, doubts and inner turmoil, all served with a huge portion of self-mockery. Her comical and incredible experiences are a cross between Pierre Richard, Bridget Jones and the heroine of the Fleabag series.
In volume 2, Pénélope, hilarious as ever, lets us in on her chaotic career path, her setbacks and her infernal quest… to find herself.
« Créer son podcast » ("Creating your own podcast")
Pénélope Bœuf (GE 07) is here once again, with this publication explaining the history of podcasts featuring a step-by-step guide on how to create one of your own!
« La petite phrase » ("One little phrase")
This book, providing numerous examples with contextualised analysis, helps uncover the most surprising aspects behind some of our most popular well-known expressions, with a refreshingly new approach to exploring this field of study. Michel Le Séac’h (SCOM 85)
« Audencia MOS : Podcast des alumni » ("Audencia MOS : Alumni Podcast")
The very first edition of our podcast taking a closer look at stakeholders in sports management has now been released!
Discover the career path of Thibault Leflot (MOS 06) and explore how the management inside an E-sport structure actually works.
« Marketing : les illusions perdues » ("Marketing: lost illusions")
Florence Touzé (Associate Professor, Communication & Culture department, Audencia) was one of the first to call into question her specialist field to prompt a positive move forward. She suggests we take it on from being a profession under fire from the critics to being a useful and constructive subject area, by leaving behind end-of-chain commercial marketing, and taking it on to the next level to become a dedicated cornerstone and strong marketing foundation.
"Civil economy and organisation towards ethical business management"
This book aims to move beyond the concepts of 'bureaucracy', 'hierarchical control' and 'performance' that classic organizational and managerial studies often focus upon. Roberta Sferrazzo, Assistant Professor, Management department, Audencia.
Are you a published alumnus/alumna? If so, we’d love to hear from you, so why not drop the team a few lines here at: email@example.com
Emilie Tendron, on behalf of the Audencia Alumni team
Thank you for reading the mag #17, the last issue of the school year! We hope you enjoyed the inspiring stories of Audencia's alumni.
By the way, don't hesitate to join the new Linked In Audencia Alumni page to keep up to date with all the network news :)
See you in September for the next edition of the mag. And until then, here's wishing you a great summer! Take care of yourself and your loved ones.
See you soon,
The Audencia Alumni teamMore info on Together