Official EDUNIVERSAL Reporter

First name: Chausseray & Jiang
Last name: Marion & Meiyu Hélène

# 5 LFC Contest | 'At EM Lyon, we learn how to think' : meet Anne-Sophie, EM Lyon almost but not exactly alumnus (by Meiyu Hélène)

23/08/2013 13:48:45

Let me guess, you are wondering ‘why does she put this intriguing title to her article?’ That’s for me to know and you to find out (I really like it when they say that in movies, don’t you?). So before you read the interview and start thinking that I’m indeed a bit crazy, let me introduce you to Anne-Sophie first. Anne-Sophie is one of the former presidents of my Public Speaking Club and contrary to a lot of students that went to ‘Classe Préparatoire’, she used to study at the University before getting into EM Lyon Business School. 



So first, tell us more about yourself.

I got my Baccalauréat ES (Economics & Social Sciences) in 2004 and then followed a Business and Corporate Law Curriculum at the University. After my master, I passed the exams to get into EM Lyon Business School in 2009.

What are you currently doing?

I’ve been doing a VIE* in Belgium for a year now. I work as a business development manager for a consulting company and am in charge of the Innovation &Marketing expertise. My job is to go meet the clients, establish their needs and accompany them on different missions, mostly on marketing scopes.

*Note : The VIE, the International Internship Programme, is a French international corporate placement programme for young professionals between the age of 18 and 28 who are European Union nationals. Becoming a VIE means going abroad to carry out a remunerated professional assignment for 6 to 24 months whilst benefiting from protective public law coverage.

Do you get the feeling that higher education in France is somehow different from other countries’ education system?

I get to meet a lot of expatriates in Belgium, from France but also people from Italy, Spain or Germany and the higher education in France is indeed specific when it comes to Grandes Ecoles, Classes préparatoires and national competitive exams. I noticed that my colleagues in Belgium that share the same age and profession as me, all graduated from university rather than Business Schools.

What is the impact of EM Lyon Business School on your career?   

The company I currently work for is French so I was in fact hired by the head office in France. The recruitment was therefore based on « Grandes Ecoles » rankings (Top 10) for Business Schools or Engineering Schools because it’s also an IT-focused company. However in Belgium, people don’t care that much about your diploma compared to France, they would more likely ask you questions about what you did and what are your skills, especially when you already have two or three years professional experience.

In your opinion, what is the added-value of our school?

Before getting into EM Lyon, I worked 6 months for (a French ecommerce company that pioneered the model of online flash sales) and I chose EM Lyon because the school offers the possibility to do new internships and you can alternate the academic and experiential requirements to suit your plans, this is really flexible. So I really got, let’s say … almost like a tailored specialization because I took classes depending on what goal I had set for myself and what interested me. I also appreciate the fact that EM Lyon has an Asian Campus in Shanghai or even exchange programs with a lot of universities. And yeah, it was really great to get the opportunity to do a 6-month internship after my first year and then come back to school. During those 6 months, I was a sales manager for a company in Paris and when I got back to school, I realized for instance that I needed to take Human resources courses based on my previous experience, to be more comfortable in my future career. In other words, it’s a good way to adjust things.

Many students promote the practical knowledge that came from their internships/jobs over the theoretical courses they took during their studies. As an alumnus, do you think differently of the value of theoretical knowledge on your career path?

I wouldn’t say that I learned nothing at school because it’s not the case. Before EM Lyon, I was following courses that allow you to become a legal expert and we had to learn a lot of things by heart. I had a different experience at EM Lyon, also because I did not take technical courses such as Corporate Finance or things like that. However, I learned Business and Corporate understanding and ways of thinking. At EM Lyon, we learn how to think properly and eventually how to be a good manager. You learn how to think, to listen to people and how to ask the good questions.

Do you still feel that you are part of the EM Lyon student community spirit?

I’m not officially an alumnus yet so yeah you can say that (laugh). Actually I am bit late with the master dissertation we have to do at the end of our studies to officially graduate because I began to work a year ago. I’m really committed to my job so I hardly find the time to write it. I still hear a lot about EM Lyon thanks to Verbat’EM, a student club I still really care about and I also keep in touch with some teachers. So yeah I still feel that I am part of the EM Lyon student community spirit because I know what is going on at the school, what the teachers publish, etc. It’s also cool to have access to EM Lyon Alumni network and good to see how people can take really different career paths.

How do you picture EM Lyon in the next few years?

I think that in the next few years, EM Lyon will continue to improve its international environment by opening new campuses abroad. Plus, I have a lot of friends that are engineers so I believe that the Yin Yang Project is a very good initiative and can give us greater openness. I hope that the project will come true because it would be a great strength compared to the other top business schools in France and we have to seize the opportunity to work with Centrale Lyon, a top French engineering school that is just 10 minutes far from our school. I think I would have liked to take some courses at Centrale Lyon because I’m currently working in the IT sector and I would have a better understanding if I had the opportunity to do so. It can thus become a great asset for EM Lyon to offer such a partnership.

Would you have some advices for the students?

Finish you Master dissertation! (Laugh)

What do you think of Malcolm Forbes’s quote « Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one »?

It’s related to what I told you earlier. After finishing my studies at EM Lyon, my head wasn’t full of theoretical concepts that I learned by heart. I am more under the impression that I acquired a way of thinking so you can say that I have a ‘fully developed mind rather than a head full of facts’ (Montaigne). Thanks to EM Lyon, you know how to talk to different levels of representatives because in a firm, you get to talk with people from RH, Sales, Legal or Marketing department. The objective is to be able to speak with those persons with a minimum degree of comprehension and above all, to have the intellectual deftness to understand and be understood by people you are talking to. So I think this quote says everything about what we learn at EM, that is: a critical thinking.

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