Written on 27 January 2020.
"Bonjour, je me considère comme un stratège. Vous souhaitez savoir pourquoi mes 2 précédentes start-ups, une licence d'ingénieur en mécanique et assistant d'une chaire stratégique à l'EDHEC me le font penser ?... ". This is part of the elevator pitch I use to introduce myself. Which is typically followed by two international internship experiences in Oman and a handful of entrepreneurial ventures defining my capabilities and interpersonal skillsets.
As the second semester of Master in Management unfolded, on January 10th, the Career Centre organised the Forum EDHEC 2020 in Paris. It gathered over 1400 students from over 90 nationalities pursuing MBA, MiM or MSc to meet 115 companies under one roof. This key event is renowned for its networking opportunities and potential internship or job offers at companies such as EY, Schneider Electric, HSBC, L'Oréal, Volkswagen, PwC among other MNCs as well as budding startups such as ManoMano, Back Market, Ignition program…
EDHEC Career Centre left no stones unturned. Its team kept us updated with the information on the visiting companies, their facts & figures, and potential job specifications. All consolidated in an online handbook accessible well in advance. Kudos to EDHEC's sustainability initiative! I used it to shortlist my preferred companies based on my interests and the company's potential offers. The Career Centre even reached out a step further. I benefited from a career consultation where I reaffirmed coherency between my career objectives, self-branding pitch, and shortlisted companies.
Once I was confident enough, I started approaching human resources and even team managers of those companies via LinkedIn with an open mind and curiosity to learn. This did not only increase my awareness of the work culture but also helped in securing a few interviews calls well before the D-day. To top it off, EDHEC proffered a wonderful opportunity of being a sponsor or "parrain" to one of the 115 companies. With some French-speaking capability and motivation, I was chosen to be the sponsor for the Volkswagen France, one of my dream companies. My mission? Welcoming the company officials, help & pilot them in settling down and ensure the smooth running of the day while being able to visit every other company's desk.
Due to the raging strikes in Paris, I decided to reach the French capital a day before the event looking at the mobility concerns. The forum flagged off at 9.00 at Espace Champerret where we were handed the map and a booklet of the companies. Within an hour, the estate was charged with budding financial analysts, potential consultants, and upcoming project managers in their business attire interacting with equally enthusiastic representatives of the firms. Subsequently fulfilling my duties as a sponsor, I took off to strike-off rows of companies in the field of strategy & consulting for industry, technology, energy & utility sector.
After a few healthy conversations and interviews and an opportunity to dine with the guests, I sprang off to meet, probably the most exciting section of the fair to me, the startup valley comprising of 28 startups. Regardless of the size, I was overwhelmed with the crowd in the valley. As an entrepreneur, I was delighted to network with the co-founders and exchange success and failure stories. The day ended at 5.00 pm with a few business cards and goodies in the pocket and a sense of satisfaction.
Today, weeks after the Forum I could take away not only a few potential internship interviews in strategy but also a sense of pride in the school and myself. With no doubt, one can formulate, prepare and attain their goals with the right amount of motivation, EDHEC's superior blended learning and Career Centre's support.
Apprentice to the job fairs and French job market my current position as an Assistant to the Foresight, Innovation & Transformation Chair of EDHEC appended a clear motive in shortlisting strategic positions.
My penchant for the French, be it their language, countryside or food stood alongside me while I pitched, networked and made new friends. Employing the superior career advice on formulating different pitches in French tapping the stronghold of my experiences raised a few eyebrows on the other side of the table too.
I am highly grateful to EDHEC and its hyper-responsive teams in making this forum function with such ease and support for us to utilise most of every second.