My name is John Rouxel and in this podcast I go back over the reasons that led me to join EM Normandie (Sup Europe at the time) in 1999. You will discover how and why I took over the family business as a general insurance agent to satisfy a need for independence.
What course of study did you follow?
To be completely transparent, I had a vocation to become a naval aviator from a very young age. I had focused my entire teenage and student life around this project. I had no plan B because I thought I would succeed and go all the way.
I passed all the tests and entered the initiation to flying school in 1994. I was selected among the "happy few" to join Escadrille 51S in Rochefort. Joining EM Normandie, Sup Europe at the time, was not at all topical at that time.
However, I was caught up with ankylosing spondylitis, which is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints, my legs. With all the sports training we had every day, I started to have difficulty keeping up with the others. Despite this, I went through with my training but unfortunately the Navy asked me to resign, especially as there were budget cuts from the Ministry of Defence.
My ambition was always to be a pilot but I was well aware that it could not be in the Navy. I was forced to resign in 1995. At that time I was wondering what was going to happen.
Bouncing back from an injury
I had two choices after this experience: either I dwelt on this injury, regretting the past and choosing a "car park" job that would simply allow me to live. Or I could make the most of this extremely powerful experience. Indeed, it is not given to everyone to join the Navy and be part of the future nuclear strike force of his country. This experience built me up mentally and psychologically and fuelled my ambitions.
I categorically refused the idea of a parking job and living with the pain of the past. I chose to use this experience as a strength and to bounce back by building a new project. It was at this point that EM Normandie appeared in my life.
It was the woman I was to marry a little later who advised me to join this school, which seemed to correspond to my ambitions and my state of mind. I met its director who decided to trust me. This is how I was able to join EM Normandie for 4 years, the curriculum at the time.
The entrance to EM Normandie
My father had a serious heart attack. At that time he was a general agent and had created his own business in the insurance field. He then suggested that my brother and I take over the business. I asked myself a lot of questions about my background. In accepting this offer, I wondered whether I would miss out on other opportunities.
And then after thinking about it, I realised that this project met a desire for independence and a need to do something for myself. In my career, I have held several management positions where I have proposed ideas that were not always followed up. I also brought in new clients. And when I left these companies, I wanted to work 'my way' and have my name stamped on the façade. I was at a crossroads in my life where I wanted to give free rein to this desire for autonomy.
Right from the start, at EM Normandie we are taught to take charge of our lives. We were trained very quickly in entrepreneurship and prepared for the professional world. At the end of the 4 years of training, we would all have a different degree because we would have chosen our own experiences, our associations, our expatriations, our internships... At the end of the course, each one of us would have a degree and would be in a position to take charge of his or her life.
When the opportunity arose to set up my own business, I did not do it because it was a family affair but above all because it fulfilled the desire for independence that I had never lost since Sup Europe. That's when I threw myself into the deep end.
The desire for independence
I knew almost nothing about insurance, but I decided to apply to take over the business. Taking over a family business is not as easy as you might think. You have to be able to buy the portfolio from the principal company, in this case MMA. My father sold his portfolio to the company and then I bought it back in partnership with my brother.
For this purchase, I had to pass tests to show my abilities. These companies are all the more vigilant when it is the children of the current manager who take over an agency. You really have to show what you can do. If I hadn't had my business school degree, I wouldn't have been able to get this portfolio. Without EM Normandie, I wouldn't be where I am today.
At the time of this takeover, the links I had with Sup Europe had naturally weakened over time. I had kept few contacts. And I rediscovered EM Normandie when my daughter was looking for guidance after High School. As I was very close to her and knew how it worked, I suggested that she join the school. I noticed that it had evolved a lot, and in the right direction. We went to the Open House together and she loved it from the first visit!
The following year, she confirmed this impression by returning to the Open Days. On Parcoursup, we put EM Normandie at the top of our list. We had to take the entrance exam remotely because of Covid and prepare for the orals. In April-May, we received the acceptance answer. I am very happy to see my daughter live this experience. She is having a great time in what she is doing.
We share a lot together about what she is experiencing and about the people who were already at Sup Europe when I was studying there. It's a really nice feeling.