On board this Air France San Francisco – Paris flight, we find the six winners of the very first Audencia Foundation CES – Silicon Valley Learning Expedition, which was entirely spearheaded, funded and organised by graduates. They are running through the shared highlights of their action-packed trip which proved to be one full of emotions, encounters and discoveries. Indeed, this trip stands to have a profound long-lasting effect on each of their personal journeys.
Arriving late evening on the eve of the event, they are thrown straight in. The immensity of the CES packs quite a punch: 35,000 exhibitors, spread out over several convention centres, several kilometres apart. This visit must clearly be well-prepared: this is no time to be improvising, otherwise you end up wasting more time racing from one place to another than you do discovering the latest tech trends.
Guided around by Michaël Thoby (ExecMBA 13, Emotic), seasoned CES goer, the party makes a beeline for FrenchTech where it meets up with Pierre Régnier (GE 16) and Johnny Smith (GE 17) from Vel’co, who let them in on their impressions of being young graduate entrepreneurs. Vel’co is doing well and growing fast, serving as a reminder to the students that as long as you have the right project, it is indeed possible to launch your company straight after graduation.
The day is punctuated with encounters with entrepreneurs who have a range of differing profiles. Even more than the projects themselves, with anything from the connected shoe to the virtual reality headset, what really strikes a chord is getting to hear about their inspiring career paths and personal stories.
With Friday morning there is a change of scene, as they head towards the Las Vegas Convention Center, on the hunt for the huge stands where the tech giants are exhibiting. On the programme can be found 8K televisions, robots, drones, connected cars and more besides, as well as all the latest breakthrough technologies in goods, mobility, health to provide a better or easier life.
Yet, sniffing out the latest trends around a trade show, albeit on such a mind-blowing scale, still leaves you wanting more: the inventions need to be seen in a real-world context, to convince them all that they too can be part of this movement.
Now off to the Bay Area, accompanied by Lucie Gouanelle (GE 98), ambassador of the local chapter, to meet up with the Tech and Web giants, like Facebook, and the start-up ecosystem. At Plug&Play, the accelerator behind the launch of PayPal, as well as the startupper Jordi Torras (EuroMBA 04, Inbenta), VC (Venture Capital) Vincent Diallo (GE 02, BleuCapital) or even the trend scout Matthieu Soulé (GE 10, BNP Paribas Workshop), with each encounter there emerges a myriad of varying points of view – good as well as bad – about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur in the Valley.
Undoubtedly, this is a pragmatic way of illustrating the essential value held dear by the Audencia Alumni network: intergenerational transmission. Testament to this is the strong personal bond forged between students Romain, Camille, Fiona, Xi, Chloé, Niels, and the graduates Michaël Thoby, Lucie Gouanelle and François Macé, who participated in making this project such a success.
What are the main showstoppers in innovation at the CES 2019?
This question was put to several of the event’s experts on the showroom floor of the Las Vegas Conference Center, but we didn’t manage to get a straight answer. It’s fair to say that those following the world of tech throughout the year gradually see new trends as they emerge; they get a nose for “sniffing out” the next big thing. This explains why some only attend the trade show every other year.
Robots have been around for several years now, as is the case for drones and connected objects (IoT). Real change can be seen in their applications and new uses, and their tailoring to meet consumer needs which were formerly seldom expressed or hitherto unknown. Probably the most iconic example must be the autonomous car. Today, we are not interested in finding out if self-driving cars will one day become a reality, however we do want to know just how autonomous they’ll be and when their new development phases will be reached.
Switching tack: robots. They are designed to serve humans and have a myriad of applications in healthcare and compliance with medical treatment or the provision of care for elderly, sick or disabled people.
Many of the main innovations being showcased in Las Vegas are subjacent, embedded in products or projects without being on open display. Hence, Artificial Intelligence: this has been talked about for a long time, however, with a global market estimated to reach 37 billion dollars by 2025, things are now ramping up. Nevertheless, experts agree that good AI is AI you don’t see. The same goes for Blockchain or 5G, they remain topics of discussion but ones where we are yet to see any real breakthroughs in our everyday lives.
To get to grips with the vast array of solutions and ideas presented in Las Vegas, experts at Emotic have put together their own CES guidebook, grouping the innovations into five main categories:
Early that morning, as Jordi Torras (EuroMBA 04) welcomes us into the Inbenta offices, outside it is pouring down with rain over Foster City, on the entry point into Silicon Valley. Looking slightly drawn, with coffee in hand, he begins by telling us how he’s just got back from a trip to Barcelona, his home city and the place where his entrepreneurial adventure had all started.
Jordi communicates in a simple and straightforward manner, common to that of US-Americans, coupled with the warmth of the Latins. He takes great pleasure in sharing his story with the students and this is palpable. He is not guarded when it comes to talking about his career path, the challenges he’s faced or his achievements. In just a few minutes, he gets straight to the point by telling it as it is for an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.
IT expert by training, Jordi began his entrepreneurial career back in 1997 when, alongside his brother, he founded SBD, an IT consultancy business, based in Barcelona. In 2004, he sold off SBD to Alten and graduated from the EuroMBA, an exclusive two-year training programme for international executive managers, associating six EU institutions one of which is Audencia.
Feeling ready for a new entrepreneurial venture, Jordi initially thought about setting up a new consultancy business. However, challenged by persistent requests from his customers, he decided to put new technologies, including Artificial Intelligence and automatic natural language processing, to the service of customer relations. In 2010, alongside a team of experts in language, software systems and customer relations, he launched a version of Beta from his search engine with a chatbot built into it, making Inbenta the sole provider on the market offering this 2-in-1 solution.
In 2012, after making it to California after winning a Plug&Play challenge, he found it hard to adjust to his new life.
“I was totally miserable during my first year here. I didn’t manage to get any business at all. It didn’t take me long to lose all of my benefits at Plug&Play due to the crisis and I thought about heading back to Europe. However, I was kept afloat by the income from the Inbenta operation in Spain and Brazil, so I gave myself two more years to make it. This payed off: in 2014, my luck came in as I was making a pitch at Plug&Play, I landed my first roundtable, to the tune of 2 million euros” he explains.
However, the entrepreneurial adventure was never known for being all plain sailing, and so in 2017, Jordi had to reinvent his business model to take things to the next level. He went from a personalised platform, which was time-consuming and required human resources to cater for each customer’s needs, to a catalogue of products which were rapid and simple to roll out. In parallel, the business underwent a bout of several tough months due to some HR issues and a violent attack on Inbenta’s IT systems, however this didn’t stop it from continuing to grow in line with the founder’s plans.
Jordi remains enthusiastic and upbeat but is keeping a watchful eye on proceedings at the start of 2019 and looks on with some degree of gravity. Remaining philosophical, he hopes that the year “won’t bring with it too many disasters” and that it will be a year when all their hard work pays off, in turn bringing stability for Inbenta and the team in 2020.
Voice assistants, social media, on-the-go options and much more besides. How is this new consumer usage set to push the media forward?
Helping us gain a clearer understanding of the subject are Benoît Régent (GE 93), Director of the Change Forecasting department at Dentsu Consulting France and Florent Peiffer (SciencesCom 02), who founded YouBlive in 2017, a production company providing 100% live streaming.
Audience fragmentation, business models in crisis and the like… According to Benoît Régent, media survival is all going to hinge on omni-channelling.
“We will no longer think in terms of media materials but rather ‘media brand’: radio is presently available in video format and the press is continuing to develop audio podcasts. If the media wants to go the distance, then it will need to secure the loyalty of its audiences, supporting them right across their range of available materials, including voice assistants.”
And when it comes to TV, over the coming years, targeted advertising stands to be the hard-hitter: “Technically speaking, the geo-targeting of sets in a given region is already possible. Further down the line, subject to the necessary legislation, we stand to see local advertising making its way onto our screens during our viewing time.”
What’s more, taking things one step further, "the telly of tomorrow, contrary to popular belief, will not be YouTube. We may not necessarily always want to remain active when it comes to our choice of programmes, so the idea here would be to set up a personalised flow, according to one’s interests and the time of day. This flow would draw from the pool of existing content, be that the press, radio or TV for example. All that remains would be to sort out issues related to legislation and the redistribution of advertising revenue.”
As for Florent Peiffer, he has dedicated himself to live broadcasting through his production company YouBlive, set up following his departure from iTélé, now CNews, in 2017.
“The channels have moved away from live broadcasts in recent years, apart from when it comes to major sporting events or news channel platforms. There is however great scope for live blogging.”
To this end, the structure provides media and companies with the design, production and both live programme and interactive multi-live delivery for social media.
“This can be anything from debates to business conventions, and we are also branching into unprecedented territory: we will soon be breaking new ground with the production of a live drama which should soon be showing at cinemas” explains Florent Peiffer.
Popularizing this system should make the news a great deal more transparent: in bringing in more and more points of view regarding any given event, this in turn raises interest, making any attempt at manipulation much tougher.”
Jordi Soude (SciencesCom 07), Editor
A new academic year often brings along major innovation! Here at Audencia, this change has come with the launch of two new programmes for September 2019.
Firstly, there is the Specialised Master in Energy Transition Management. Audencia has designed this Bac+6 master in collaboration with three other schools in the Nantes area, namely Centrale Nantes, ENSA Nantes and the Nantes Atlantique School of Design.
In the words of André Sobczak, course director:
“This Specialised Master will enable future graduates to build a meaningful career, by training them to have the necessary skills required in the building of new business models. These will strengthen economic performance and will at the same time aid in tackling climate change. It is estimated that by 2050, some 900,000 jobs will have been created due to energy transition. Our programme is designed to meet this need.”
During their year of training, the students will work on innovative projects headed up by businesses and public authorities. They will benefit from expert guidance and will also gain from networking with some of the key actors in energy transition, such as the WWF which is one of the partners backing this specialised master. At the end of their studies, they will be equipped with all the necessary tools required to become agile managers within the energy industry.
Another new development for the start of this New Year, is the Specialised Master in Music Industry Management.
“In the midst of streaming, the development of live broadcasts, changing trends in economic models and funding, ‘diagonal’ concentration, globalisation and changing cultural practices, new skills are required to meet major upheavals in the music industry. This is the driving force behind the first Specialised Master dedicated to this sector, set up by Audencia in partnership with Campus M,” explains Carole Le Rendu, professor at Audencia and academic director of the programme.
Under the name of Specialised Master in Music Industry Management, it will enable students to grasp the various activities related to music production and broadcasting, in terms of recording and live broadcasts, for various venues and festivals. The additional advantage of this programme lies in its top-level teaching staff and panel of professional experts, including Jean-Pierre Roland, Director of the Eurockéennes of Belfort Festival, Philippe Chantepie, Inspector General for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Culture and digital economy expert, as well as Sophie Guénebaut, Director at LABA, specialised in the setting up of creative industry projects in Europe.
For enrolment onto these programmes, applicants must be qualified to either Bac+5 level or Bac+4 with 3 years of professional experience.
Géraldine Lance, Editor
Benjamin Binot (GE 02), CEO France - Benelux at Procter & Gamble, wished to pass the keys to his success onto students here at Audencia. He has therefore agreed to become the patron of the Grande Ecole 2021 class year. This is the first time ever that an Audencia graduate has assumed the role of Class Year Patron.
Career Path Highlights
Benjamin Binot started his career with Procter & Gamble, the world leader in health and beauty products, by working in the finance division of the company’s French subsidiary. He then went on to hold high-level posts in sales, marketing and finance in various different countries. Since January 2018, he has held the position of Vice-President at Procter & Gamble for France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Procter & Gamble has forged a long-standing special relationship with Audencia, in terms of pedagogy and recruitment. Benjamin Binot explains this close bond:
“Audencia and Procter & Gamble share the same vision which is people-centred, skill-building and career enhancing. The school’s educational objectives, known for being highly committed to the hybridization of skills, are in perfect sync with our expectations. It trains students to think outside the established box enabling them to be innovative, come up with unprecedented solutions and push towards the continuous improvement of our processes in preparation for tomorrow’s ever-transforming green and digital world.”
A desire to pass on his knowledge
On Wednesday 5 December, he met with his 807 godchildren from 18 different nationalities. He himself graduated from the GE Programme some 16 years ago and will now be supporting the current second year students from now until their graduation in three years’ time.
During his public address, speaking directly to the students, Benjamin Binot delivered a truthful yet pragmatic speech:
“Success should be handled in steps. The bar should be set quite high, but not too high either. You should learn to take risks, but also accept that failure is all part of the process, it’s one of the possible outcomes when taking risks. Yet, you stand to learn more through failure.
Listen to what you really want deep down, don’t conform to the perfect model but rather go your own way.
And live a life of passion, this makes you a better person! Audencia is a school that watched me grow, I’d like to thank both the school and faculty. Here I stand addressing you all as your class year patron, today I am delighted and proud to be the patron championing you!”
Benjamin Binot will be sure to pass on the expertise he acquired while working in various posts for the US corporation and also bestow his valuable guidance on the students.
Amandine Luce, on behalf of Audencia Alumni Team
A new set-up as part of the Pôle Image Magelis, an exclusive partnership with the Morbihan CCI, seeking to promote skills within the region, the establishment of an international agribusiness institute and the list goes on. Audencia is certainly starting the new year off in style!
With its special focus on contributing to the development of creative initiatives and innovation within the region, Audencia has teamed up with the Pôle Image Magelis. This economic development centre, in the image and digital audio-visual sectors, works on a large scale (12 schools, 100 companies and associations specialised in this sector, 40 animation and video game studios) and is the leader in its field. So, what’s on offer? Unprecedented dual-competence training courses enabling students to combine both their technical know-how from an array of image-related and audio-visual production trades, whilst honing their management and leadership skills. So, from next September onwards, first year students on the Grande Ecole Programme at Audencia will be able to follow a new “animated film” programme which will be headed up by a team of experts from EMCA (a school specialising in the animated film professions). It should be noted that other courses may be established between now and the autumn of 2019 or in spring 2020 in collaboration with other schools belonging to the Pôle Image Magelis. Please also note that “animated film” and “audiovisual production and multimedia production management” specialisations will be available at the Angouleme campus from September 2020.
Working together to promote and support
Another venture underway is alongside the Morbihan CCI. Through this exclusive partnership, signed in November 2018 for a three-year period, the two institutions are pooling their resources and know-how and setting up training courses which will lead to top-level degree programmes aimed at senior executives from SME/ISEs as well as managers in domains currently undergoing widespread transformations, such as logistics or supply chain. In parallel, both partners are focussing on providing support for companies in the area with regards to issues related to economic differentiation and competitiveness.
For this reason, Audencia helped in the setting up of CIGA (Collaborative Institute of Global Agribusiness). So, what exactly does this institute seek to achieve? It aims to provide the necessary expertise in order to empower and boost agrifood talent in the area, a sector that is currently undergoing profound changes. The CIGA will also be publishing an annual barometer and carrying out its own research initiatives. So, keep watching this space!
Florence Falvy, Editor
Since 2012, eight salaried staff members at Audencia have been in charge of developing the Audencia Alumni network and are assigned with the mission of:
With some 26 000 graduates, in France and across the world, as well as the need for direct alumni-to-alumni communication, Audencia Alumni also relies on its alumni volunteers for this protean undertaking:
“The network is an opportunity which helps you grow. It brings with it a wealth of career paths, professions and different characters. ‘Stronger together’, says it all really as there’s no better way of summing up the network’s impact”.
All your contributions make a difference, whether they be one-off actions or long-standing commitments. So, if you too would like to take an active part in the development of the network and your school, if you have an idea, something you’d like to get off the ground, or a suggestion to put forward, then we’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch with the team at: email@example.com
*List of communities currently seeking an ambassador:
Florence Alix-Gravellier, on behalf of Audencia Alumni Team
From 15 March onwards, Audencia is heading out across the world, with its course set for China where it will be inaugurating the all new “Audencia Around the World” event. On the programme: an 8-day whistle-stop tour across the globe, meeting up with some of our 3,400 alumni currently working overseas. That is to say, no fewer than fifteen celebratory events. So, here’s to a great trip!
For Jules Verne, the author from Nantes, Around the World in 80 Days has to be his most famous book. So, as a nod to this literary reference, Audencia has decided to take inspiration from his extraordinary voyages to christen this new event celebrating all things global: “Audencia Around The World”, with its accompanying slogan, “An alumni journey in 8 days”. So, what’s the idea behind the event? To bring alumni communities together, these chapters which are present right across the world, from Dublin to Singapore, and from Abidjan to Shanghai and Sydney, not forgetting London of course. What better way to build bridges between each country and our Audencia alumni currently working outside France? Today, there are 33 chapters spanning 26 countries.
We’ve come full circle!
In this way, Audencia Around the World will be following in the footsteps of Jules Verne. There will however be one slight difference! In fact, this journey is set to start in Chengdu, in China, on 15 of next March, before a stopover on Chinese soil this time in Shenzhen, on 22 March. That tots up to a round-the-world trip in just 8 days, and it’s one which you’ll be able to follow every step of the way.
In total, no fewer than 15 celebratory events will be hosted over four continents during the week. In each city, ambassadors will assume the role of organising the celebrations, on their preferred day, with the support of Audencia who will be providing them with a kit containing accessories etc. All events will also feature a joint communications campaign. So then, remember the name: Audencia Around the World. After all, this event might just be hitting the headlines again sometime soon.
Florence Falvy, Editor
December is the time of year when families and friends get together in the spirit of the holidays. In Audencia’s alumni network around the world, things were no different in the run-up to the festive season. It is a time to sit back and take stock of the year that is ending but also to think about the one ahead, to enjoy existing friendships but also make new ones.
Pre-Christmas celebrations kicked off in Munich with the traditional Christmas market gathering, followed by a warming raclette in Amsterdam (a craze that has caught on in faraway chapters such as Beijing!). San Francisco hosted a quiet gathering with the aim of preparing the logistics for the upcoming the learning trip in January and Ho Chi Minh City enjoyed a full-on “alumnight” organised by France Alumni.
Ambassador Eva Jean (GE 04) in New York organised a French-themed dinner at the aptly named “Excuse my French” restaurant in Lower East Side Manhattan. The evening was a resounding success with 30 alumni participating. For several alumni, it was an opportunity to reconnect with the network after a gap of several years. Stephanie (GE 91) declared: “The event was great. Kudos to Eva for finding the perfect venue. Let me know if I can help you in NY.” The French-themed venue continued for London alumni who piled in to a packed Brasserie Zédel in the heart of London’s Soho on a Thursday evening.
Nushad Merchant (IMM 16), Audencia’s Alumni Relations in Paris, orchestrated the end of year celebrations on 18 December at Molitor, the iconic 1930s swimming baths on the western outskirts of Paris, fully renovated and converted into a 5-star hotel that reopened in 2014. The open-air poolside gathering of more than 60 alumni from all programmes was the opportunity for staff, members of the bureau, ambassadors and alumni to catch up on school news and future projects.
“It was my first alumni event as a member of staff,” says Nushad, “I was delighted to be able to connect with alumni in Paris, talk about the Audencia Foundation and present the ‘cuvée de promo’ initiative to participants”, he concludes.
Katie Francois, on behalf of Audencia Alumni Team
At the age of 25, this graduate, fresh out of Audencia, got her first taste of cooperation while in Morocco alongside her husband, a medical doctor, and this experience gave Christine Brunier (GE 80) the desire to take things a step further by devoting herself to serving others.
“Our experience in Morocco proved life-changing,” Christine tells us. “Our eldest son was born out there,” she says “and we always promised ourselves that we would one day pick up the adventure where we left off.”
In fact, it was in September 2010 that Christine and Xavier would head out to Cameroon with the DCC (the French Catholic Delegation for Cooperation). Their mission: to take care of a bush hospital and a leper village.
This second assignment took two years to come to fruition in collaboration with their partner, the Ad Lucem Foundation, and its implementation coincided with a period in their lives when the couple had time to invest all their energy. “Our youngest son was finishing his studies and our mothers were both in good health,” Christine explains. Xavier handed over his GP practice in the Nantes area, Christine resigned from her post as alumni relations coordinator (Réseaudencia at that time) and they sold their family home and told the children they were leaving.
“The news didn’t come as any surprise to them; they were aware of our desire to achieve something concrete,” says Christine.
With the support of associations in and around Nantes, they managed to head out with a container of medical supplies.
“Xavier had more equipment in his GP surgery in Nantes than they had in the entire hospital,” Christine tells us.
Out in the sticks, with no water or electricity and a bush hospital to get back on its feet
Nden, the village where the hospital can be found, is located in South-East Yaounde in a tropical forest. The nearest village is a 30-minute trail away. Their first assignment was to get the hospital – left derelict – up and running again. Xavier, a French GP, found himself taking on the role of surgeon, midwife and gynaecologist in Nden. Christine ran the hospital pharmacy, the leper village and the cocoa plantation.
There was a big culture shock so we had to adapt. Patients would arrive at the hospital with their pots and pans to cook with.
“We were moved on a daily basis by their utter poverty. It’s tough finding yourself with nothing to give when you come face to face with real destitution,” Christine explains.
They couldn’t even count on having access to water. They received support from France but also from Cameroon. At that time, the defence minister was a native from one of Nden’s neighbouring villages. A humanitarian association came to install photovoltaic panels: “We managed to get water and electricity after four months,” Christine recollects.
“When you get back to France, you are a changed person”
Christine and Xavier both felt they had shared a great deal and passed a lot on throughout the two years they spent in Nden. As well as leaving behind a hospital fit for purpose, they were involved with raising preventative awareness in the surrounding villages during their times of sharing with the inhabitants. More than eight years after their return to France, Christine and Xavier have continued to give meaning to the work they carry out. Today, Christine works just a stone’s throw from Audencia’s Atlantic Campus as mission head for the Pastoral Care of Migrants. Xavier, as well as his role as permanent deacon for the diocese of Nantes, is the coordinating physician for ADAPEI (local organisations of friends and parents of disabled children).
Katie Francois, on behalf of Audencia Alumni Team
From Paris to Sydney, stopping off at San Francisco, this is your golden opportunity to meet up with three Audencia graduates for an inside look into their overseas experience working for the Google giant.
Almost 20% of Audencia graduates work in all four corners of the globe. Valérie Pisupati (GE 95) is one of them. Around a year ago, she joined one of the technical giants in Silicon Valley, Google Mountain View, to work in sourcing and procurement as part of the Consumer Hardware division. It provided her with the opportunity to “experience different cultures and working methods”. She does, however, admit that working abroad may cause you to experience somewhat of “a culture shock” and may require you to get over some language barriers. Samer Afzal (MBA 17) would go along with this view. Originally from India, she too works for Google but has been based in Paris since August 2018. So, what does her work involve? Coordinating sales operations for the marketing platform. Some 17,000 kilometres from here, as the crow flies, we now meet Matthieu Boutard (GE 12). He has been learning the ropes at Google for six years now, with four of them spent in Sydney (Australia) steering Google.org Impact Challenge, an initiative that supports associations, foundations and ground-breaking social enterprises. This experience came about following various internships in Bangladesh, the US and Eastern Europe. These opportunities stirred in him “a keen interest in learning from others as well as from different cultures”. For him, there is just one snag: when abroad, climbing the corporate ladder can at times prove to be a slower process.
Respect is one of the core values
When asked about their company’s core values, all three were in agreement and came up with the same word: “respect”. Matthieu went on to say that Google displays a certain amount of flexibility.
“For example, I was lucky enough to be awarded three months paternity leave.”
Samer confirms this: “Talent is highly regarded, rewarded and appreciated. Google makes every effort to make the employee feel special.”
For Valérie, this is a great way to foster mutual support between co-workers.
Each shares their own top tip
Are you also interested in building an international career like our three Audencia graduates? “It may be tough but it isn’t impossible!” says Samer Afzal. His advice: “Be sure to network”. Would you like to apply to Google? Valérie Pisupati admits that the interview process can prove “rather tricky”. For her, it is therefore essential to be well-prepared and able to demonstrate one’s relevant skills. As for Matthieu Boutard, he lets us in on two more personal recommendations:
“Remain curious and humble.” He concludes by saying: “Active and genuine listening skills are an increasingly important quality if you’re seeking an international career.”
Florence Falvy, Editor
Right across the class-year board, more and more of you are getting behind this campaign year on year. Many thanks to you all!
On being invited to participate in the Audencia Foundation’s "Audacieux Ensemble" (daring together) collection fund, alumni showed up in large numbers to answer the call. With €70,000 raised in 2018 compared to €45,000 in 2017, there has been a marked increase in participation.
Out of the three possible channels of alumni donations, the open fund (a perennial fund providing support for the school where its needs are greatest) has come out on top, followed by the social and cultural openness grants and support for entrepreneurship.
A dedicated website (audacieux-ensemble.com) has enabled alumni to share memories together of time spent at the school and speak with students to get a grasp of the issues behind this collection. We managed to get our message across: with changes to their business model, tuition fees alone will no longer suffice if business schools are to remain innovative and able to train their students to cope with the current shifts and challenges faced by society.
Thanks to your kind generosity, which remains critical in enhancing the reach of the school and the network, new projects are being set up:
On 31 December, the year-end results for our Daring together campaign came in positive. As a way of combining business with pleasure, those donating over €100 were entitled to a bottle of wine from their own class year vintage, as part of Audencia’s Millésime project.
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
After a successful first year, these free wage negotiation workshops, specifically tailored for women in the area, will be starting a new chapter. You too can become part of the adventure!
The Negotraining programme is a trailblazer, in line with Audencia’s CSR values and backed by Marlène Schiappa, the Secretary of State in charge of gender equality, who is bestowing her support to the programme. This comes amid an alarming observation: 2019 in France sees men still earning 23% more than their female counterparts, for the same work and skills.
In order to reduce this pay gap, the support of women throughout their wage negotiations is a powerful driver for change. Audencia’s CSR Chair has teamed up with women’s networks as well as public and private stakeholders from the CSR Platform in the metropolitan area of Nantes to propose a support module, free of charge, providing 3-hour group training sessions with between 15 to 20 participants. Leading these workshops are trainers, both men and women, who are experts on equality in the workplace and members of civil society. They provide women with the specific tools they need to take part in comprehensive negotiations covering salary, variable pay and flexitime.
Furthermore, students from Audencia also took advantage of this support during the Career Connections Week, a four-day intensive event where graduates, businesses and career advisors joined forces to provide students with guidance on their professional plans.
Since its launch back in September 2017, the Negotraining programme has enabled over 1,000 women in the Nantes metropolitan area to benefit from this free training. Over half went on to enter negotiations. From this group, 93% were awarded a pay rise. This marked success inspires us in taking things further, both in the area and further afield, by setting up additional workshops, checking progress throughout the year and urging more and more women to sign up so as to fight injustice and tackle the gender pay gap. So, what do we seek to achieve? To reach a figure of 5,000 women trained on wage negotiation by 2020.
Your support is crucial if we are to help Negotraining stand the test of time. We need you to make this happen. On request, your donations to the Audencia Foundation (which entitle you to tax reductions) can be channelled directly to the Negotraining Programme. Please head straight to our webpage to make a gift.
If you are a female graduate and would like to take part in one of our #Negotraining workshops in Paris, then we’d love to hear from you!
To dig deeper:
Get involved in the roundtable under the title of “The value of women’s networks and the politics of gender mix, equality and diversity: innovative practices” which will take place in Paris on 7 February. Anne-Laure Guihéneuf, the Division Head of Rn’B (Research & Business) for Audencia’s CSR Chair, will be giving her account on the Negotraining initiative. Registration
Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
As a graduate of the International Master in Management (IMM) in 2016, Vidhi Khare initially worked for 7 years in the IT sector before joining the ranks of the RATP.
You are now in charge of online distribution for RATP Dev, subsidiary of the RATP geared towards the running of transport networks other than the Paris metro system. Could you take us through two or three important milestones in your career?
Vidhi Khare: I’ve always had a keen interest in technology. My initial training as an engineer has allowed me to work in this fast-changing world especially with the onset of the digital era. I started out working in basic engineering before going on to work in software engineering. After a 7-year period in IT consultancy, I moved on more towards technology project management and resource planning as well as business data analysis. In fact, getting into the travel industry in Europe has enabled me to combine my management and IT skills.
In what way would you say RATP Dev is an innovative business?
Vidhi Khare: With its focus on delivering increasingly performant online services, its innovation is able to meet the needs and expectations of our end users. When you think of RATP or RATP Dev, what immediately springs to mind is the RER, metro, buses, tramways, Open Tour bus, etc. However, it’s more than just that. Both businesses are massively investing in innovation. Picture yourself standing in a metro station. It is now possible to know the arrival time of the next train in real time. This may not seem like much, but it requires complex technology, especially for metros operating several feet underground.
Can you give us an example of one of these innovative projects you’ve been involved with as part of RATP Dev, one which the general public might be familiar with?
Vidhi Khare: In 2014, following RATP Dev’s takeover of Open Tour Paris, a sightseeing bus service, we had to tackle the following issue: how could we attract tourists who were strolling the streets of Paris? We set to work on a mobile device enabling you to book your ticket, pay for it with your credit card and then print it, all this in under a minute. Now, Open Tour Paris generates a large part of its activity via this channel that didn’t even exist a year ago.
Nushad Merchant (IMM 17) on behalf of Audencia Alumni Team and Guy-Pierre Chomette, Editor
As part of the visa renewal framework set out by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (for 2020), the governing board at Audencia SciencesCom spearheaded a pilot project back in 2017 to gain understanding on trends shaping the communication professions and to pre-empt the new labour market skills which will be at the very core of the training provided for future communication and media professionals. To this end, 18 one-on-one interviews and three focus groups were conducted with a cohort including professional associations, corporations, agencies and media businesses.
A recent appointee at the head of Audencia’s SciencesCom programme, Sylvie Chancelier draws up the key trends emerging from this study:
“It comes as no great surprise that digitalisation is at the heart of emerging trends within the professions. This is not only in terms of technology, however, as it represents a tidal wave which is set to engulf a variety of areas. Indeed, communication is subject to the acceleration of time and the proliferation of channels etc.”
In this respect, there is a need to look at the bigger picture: “We aren’t expecting the communicator to take on the role of a technician but rather that of an orchestra conductor with a very broad understanding of the issues involved, from data management to personalised messages,” explains Sylvie Chancelier. According to the study, the communicator’s skill-set now touches on other trades: human resources, marketing, sales and more besides. “The study has brought confirmation that communication is now well and truly positioned on a strategic level, we must carry on equipping our graduates to this end.” We must not lose sight of the essential cornerstones: good general knowledge, the information and communication sciences and management.
“To sum up, a communicator must be a good all-rounder who knows how to adapt and surround him/herself with the right team of experts while remaining vigilant and open to regularly challenging one’s own professional ethics.”
Jordi Soude (SciencesCom 07), Editor
The Imaginary Empire: Portugal between two globalizations is a cultural interpretation of Portuguese national identity and based on anthropology, history, geography and literary studies. Written by Guilherme Azevedo, PhD, and associate professor at Audencia since 2014, where he is deputy head of the Consulting Major, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to Portuguese studies which will appeal to both students and seasoned researchers alike.
Azevedo Guilherme. The Imaginary Empire: Portugal between two globalizations. Cambridge University Press (2018).
Sophie teaches yoga to children in Singapore from her “So Yoga” studio, with the aim of bringing pleasure, happiness, peace and relaxation to children through the medium of yoga. Sophie is also behind the launch of “Mini Yogi”, a collection of lovely colourful books, making yoga accessible, simple and fun for little yogis. The Elephant of Wisdom is the first volume in the collection and available for purchase at www.soyoga.com.sg/miniyogi, with deliveries possible all over the world.
Sophie Spoor (GE 04). The Elephant of Wisdom
Drawing on their own business world experiences, the authors of this book explain how corporate actors can overcome the challenges they face by adopting a veritable hands-on and more efficient approach than that of the written and spoken word. Illustrated with photos and diagrams, this practical guide demonstrates how to boldly and rapidly test ideas, trying them out as opposed to deliberating for too long during the planning phase. Although trusty allies, it is not always necessary to invest in a Fab Lab or hire great “tinkerers” to achieve this! Quite the contrary: the authors’ experience proves that it is more effective to bring the actual decision makers face-to-face with hands-on practice. In enabling them to rediscover the role modelling plays in management and innovation, Maquetter shows them how innovation is literally at their fingertips. Thus, in the manager’s toolkit, models help towards bridging the gap between strategy and execution.
For deliveries and further information head to: maquetter.fr
Modelling; businesses using hands-on innovation
by Nicolas Minvielle, Martin Lauquin and Olivier Wathelet
DiateIno Editions, 2019
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Emilie Tendron, on behalf of Audencia Alumni Team
Some fellow Audencians have changed post in recent months:
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Emilie Tendron, on behalf of Audencia Alumni Team
Thank you for reading the mag #6. If you liked it, let us know (we'll be happy to)! If you have any remarks and comments to improve it, let us know too, we will take them into account.
A big thank you to Michaël Thoby (ExecMBA 13) for the cover photo of the magazine, taken during the Learning Expedition, visiting Apple.
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