Testimonies - EMBA
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I am the third generation owner of Lucky Group, a family business that has been running successfully for the last 50 years. As well as being a senior manager at my company, I am also part of the team that oversees the group’s business operations.
Lucky Group is an integrated metal recycling company - we buy metal recyclables that are generated from the construction and demolition industry, as well as from industrial surplus and production scrap and then recycle them in our facilities around the world. The recycled metals and raw materials we produce are sold in over 40 countries around the world in industries such as automobile, aviation, electromechanics, construction materials and telecommunications. It is a unique and successful green business model.
I wanted to follow an Executive MBA for both professional and personal reasons. I graduated from the University of Waterloo in Canada 15 years ago and an Executive MBA was my next academic goal. I wanted to challenge myself and think outside the box - away from my family business. I also wished to improve my communication skills and gain knowledge from different industries to adapt and implement them to our group factories, operations, warehouses and offices.
I specifically chose the one-week modular format as it suited me personally in terms of meeting other professional and personal commitments. The best part of the EMBA program at HEC Paris is that it is flexible and interchangeable. I am glad that I chose this format because during the weeks between modules I had the time to absorb all the information and apply it in practical business situations.
I chose the major in Entrepreneurship and Innovation because it was very much in line with my career goals. The study of concepts such as Design Thinking, Disciplined Entrepreneurship and Blue Ocean Strategy was very relevant to my family business. It is 50 years old and we do not want to become dinosaurs, incapable of adapting to rapidly changing economic and political environments. We need to adapt to new technologies, ways of thinking and working. Therefore, it was very important for me to learn these entrepreneurial and innovative skills and implement them in my business to improve our efficiency, processes and systems. An added advantage of this major was the opportunity to study in Paris and Boston. I really wanted to visit the main campus in Jouy-en-Josas so that I could re-experience the campus lifestyle. Babson College is the world’s number one entrepreneurship university and renowned in the family business network. Therefore, the chance to study there for part of my major was an amazing opportunity for me.
I would not be able to choose just one favorite memory out of the many that I have had during these 16 months. It felt nice being back in a school environment after 15 years. Also, making lifelong friends throughout the program is an aspect that I will continue to cherish. Finally, there have been many opportunities to travel. I have greatly enjoyed attending classes in Paris, Boston, and Shanghai, which led to subsequent chances to explore beautiful places such as Hangzhou (China), Versailles (France), and Cambridge (USA). In addition, HEC Paris provided amazing opportunities for media interviews, participating on panel discussions, and mentoring colleagues in the new cohort of HEC Paris participants.
For the international mobility option of the EMBA, I chose Shanghai. The main motivation for choosing this city was the possibility to follow modules in operations management and information systems. China is internationally renowned as an expert in operations management. I therefore had to take the opportunity to study these two subjects in the heart of China. Our group also has a liaison office in Shanghai, which also gave me the chance to meet up with the team and clients based there.
My capstone focuses on a live project that my company is implementing to set up an aluminum plant in Doha, Qatar. This project requires careful planning and analysis so it really goes hand in hand with my EMBA. I am able to apply the concepts that I have explored during the program directly on this project, which has given me the chance to develop practical insights. After I complete my final leadership module, I will go to Paris for my graduation. Between August and September of this year, I will focus on submitting my capstone project, using all of my new knowledge to launch the factory in 2020. Once both of these projects have been successfully completed, I will take on further senior management responsibilities in my company and I will be able to implement more projects in the global group of the business.
I would say that doing my EMBA has provided me with toolkits, frameworks and life skills that are helping me run my business. I have learnt many new skills, how to communicate, mentor and lead my team more effectively. I have a very strong network thanks to my EMBA program, if I need a good vendor or consultant for example, I can just pick up the phone. My crisis management has improved - when a crisis occurs, instead of panicking, I am now able to manage the crisis and see it as a source of opportunity.
The program develops the participant as a learner but also an active agent, encouraging self-reflection and self-management strategies, all of which have enabled me to understand myself better as a person and as a leader. Being part of a group of such talented people who are all willing to help me on my journey and share their experiences with me, is both enriching and rewarding.
All my experiences of travelling and living abroad gave me the confidence to actively contribute in this class of highly capable people. It gave me great satisfaction that I did not only gain from the EMBA but I was able to make a positive contribution to the program and HEC Paris family.