EM Normandie, a great place to start
I chose the HEC Entrepreneurs programme at ESC Le Havre. The training offered a solid grounding and a thorough understanding of the business world. Most of all, after the wonderful years I spent there, it gave me a choice between creating my own business or joining a company. The atmosphere was really positive and made me keen to join clubs and societies as soon as I could. I took part in the Bureau des étudiants (Student Union) campaigns, and for two years I was part of the team that welcomed new candidates.
I was also Vice-President of the Association Havraise des Jeunes Amateurs de Vin. It was a great experience, and I met lots of wonderful people. It also gave me practical experience!
During my year out, I worked for the Michel Cluizel chocolate company. It’s a Normandy family business, and I distributed their products in the USA for a year - it was an adventure, and really shaped my future!
Using time abroad to learn to work differently
I’ve been working for Michael Page-Page Personnel for 8 years. A UK-based recruitment company with a presence in 35 countries, it was just what I was looking for in a company when I left business school: a meritocratic organisation with room for promotion, and the opportunity to work internationally.
I began as a consultant in France, and I now lead a team of twelve in Lausanne. As well as management, I have to seek out new clients, organise recruitment campaigns, conduct interviews and negotiate contracts... It’s very absorbing work, but it is very rich! When I came here, I learnt that there was another way of working. Swiss business culture is a little less aggressive and their overall approach is a lot more human. Decision-making is sometimes slower, but much more thought over and definitive. Sometimes it’s difficult to convince people, but you know they will consider things methodically and seriously. You need to be on your toes intellectually to get anywhere here! I chose to move countries in order to keep learning and to challenge myself to adapt. It isn’t always easy and the first few months were quite hard! I had to find my bearings again and accept different ways of doing things. Now I’m a real convert!
Alumni EM Normandie: living our values
The power of a network is in effective connections, and a thriving programme of themed evenings, business drinks and lectures allows us to learn from each other and share our experiences. We’re so lucky that our network is going from strength to strength! I try to invest in it myself - I’m always handing out my contacts, giving advice and so on. It’s a way to keep in touch with the business school and to live up to its values.
Charlotte's advice :
" Always choose the path that gives you the most useful qualifications, and don’t forget that a good command of foreign languages can really make a difference in the business world! "