Interview with Nicolas Ethevenin

Nicolas EtheveninImpossible to find a balance between work, personal life and training? Nicolas Ethevenin, pre-sales consultant and Executive MBA participant, proves otherwise. With a little motivation and organisation, he explains how following the Executive MBA is proving to be a rich and unique experience. : Can you introduce yourself briefly?

Nicolas Ethevenin. My name is Nicolas Ethevenin and I am a pre-sales consultant in the field of software, supply chain and global trade. After a relatively international expatriate childhood (several years in Egypt in particular), I continued to live abroad for my job, spending long periods over 10 years in the United States, England, Norway, Indonesia , Russia and Tunisia .. I have nevertheless recently refocused on the development of the French market with my current company, AmberRoad.

On a more personal level, I have just turned 34, and I come home every evening to my wife Claire and my eight-month old baby, Elliot.

Why did you choose this MBA instead of a more classic training?  

I will reply using my particular case, but I believe that many people can identify with me: in supply chain, we deal with sensitive issues and produce much added value: sales forecasting, planning, manufacturing, sales and operations, transportation, warehouses, omni-channel, etc. An Executive MBA enables you to remain expert in your field, while expanding both your vision and scope. In any field where opportunities are numerous/diverse, with an Executive MBA you will get a better view of them, identify and analyse them and thus be able to seize them fully.
In addition, with an Executive MBA, you get to know yourself better and enhance your professional and personal skills thanks to the elective courses offered at ESCP Europe.
The main objective is therefore to accelerate your learning curve; to see and understand things that previously you were only aware of intuitively; to obtain the ability and credibility to tackle subjects and fields in which you were not (yet) accomplished.

What type of programme did you follow and why?

I followed the itinerant track of ESCP Europe. To me it was clear: I wanted above all a top rank business school. Then, in line with my wide international experience and my enthusiasm for  globalisation in business, I wished to have a multicultural and internationally oriented education; ESCP Europe is the best placed in this domain, particularly with its 5 campuses in Europe and seminars abroad (I went to Brazil, New Orleans and New York).

I also wanted to work collaboratively and with a team spirit: out of question to come and listen to a lecture and go home to work alone; it would have felt like e-learning. At ESCP Europe the professors are very close to students and always accessible; collaboration between students is especially encouraged, even necessary, and that is a valuable source of learning. At the end of the programme, everyone has thus constituted a high-quality network.

Was it your idea or was it proposed by your company?

High quality training is necessarily demanding and transforms you over the 18 months: it remains therefore the result of a personal approach, which must be accepted and supported by your professional and personal environment. In my case, it was a personal initiative, but I received financial and logistical support (in terms of time) from my business. The return on investment for a company is very fast, since the "hard skills" (model strategy, finance, international law, etc.) and "soft skills" (based more on personal development) offered by ESCP Europe improve business professionals almost immediately.

What have been the advantages of this training?

I would say there are several kinds. Pragmatically and above all, the advantages are statistically proven, as measured by the Financial Times: ESCP Europe is ranked second worldwide for international orientation and second for career progression. Personally, I did not even have to wait for the end of the MBA for my career to take a giant leap as I am changing job and greatly increasing my salary next month (in May).

Then there are the purely professional advantages, especially thanks The 5 campuses of ESCP Europeto the core courses (or hard skills). A rather striking example is the "financial accounting" course, where you learn the analysis of company’s accounting documents to assess its income potential, growth, and financial strengths and weaknesses.

This is a subject close to my field of expertise and my daily work, in principle; but today, if I have to meet a new customer, prospect, partner or potential employer, I always start by fine-combing their accounting documents to get a good overview of the situation.

Finally, there are the more personal advantages. Firstly, you gain a lot in efficiency: between the programme, work and my young baby, I have learned to channel my energy and maximize my resources. But you also develop through the nine elective courses (soft skills) chosen from a portfolio of 31. For example, I attended a great elective course called "Unleashing professional and personal Talent with MBTI" (Myers Briggs personality type indicator). This elective enables you to explore your personality and personal characteristics; to know yourself better, identify personality traits and especially how to interact better with different personality types. The teaching in these classes is immediately applicable; and the most rewarding thing is that it proves beneficial both professionally and personally!

Can you think of any weak points?

Quite honestly, I can’t. Perhaps it is still lacking a bit in terms of international visibility (outside of France), although the "Executive MBA" brand and the Financial Times ranking help a lot. But I think it's an intentional situation: ESCP Europe has a unique international position with its 5 campuses, and this is both a marvellous idea and a great success.

How did you hear about the ESCP Europe Executive MBA?

The alumni network is very active and highly involved in the development of the school. It was a class of 2014 student who recommended the School. I had known him for a long time and I could actually see his progress thanks to the Executive MBA. From then on, I had one desire: to do the same as him. I also considered other business schools, but none presented such a valuable opportunity which also happened to correspond to my aspirations.

Globally, are you satisfied by this programme?

I was accepted early (in 2013) for a course starting in January 2014. With this long wait, I had become more and more demanding. Today, as the programme is coming to a close, I realise that ESCP Europe has far exceeded my expectations. The faculty is excellent. The programme is well organised and we are looked after exceptionally well by the staff so that we can dedicate ourselves to our studies, which is vital in view of the intensity of this part-time training.

Equally important as the classes is the recruitment and way the School is run, resulting in a strong attachment being formed between you and the other participants. You find a common denominator, an identical mindset; perhaps the unique ESCP Europe spirit connects everyone. The homework in groups means that knowledge comes as much from fellow participants as professors. The ICP project (International Consulting Project), which runs for 1 year on a specific real and applicable (and often applied) case, is carried out in groups of 5 or 6 participants. It is a good example of collaborative work: one of ESCP Europe’s major characteristics.
More pragmatically, my personal and professional entourage and I have seen a real positive change in myself: a change resulting in solid career progression.

See also: 

 Interview with Valérie Madon, Director of the Executive MBA Programme (in English)

 All the articles on ESCP Europe (in French)

Dernière mise à jour : 27 juin 2016

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