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A 2016 graduate from KEDGE’s Global Executive MBA programme, Jérôme Pilet looks back on his career path, the training he received at KEDGE, and what, in retrospect, it enabled him to achieve in his career. He’s had an inspiring career resulting from a successful step back and training.
Hello Jérôme. Thank you for agreeing to speak to me. You are now the Managing Director at Compagnie Médocaine des Grands Crus. Before you attended KEDGE’s Global Executive MBA programme in 2014, you were Export Director at the same company. Would you give us a brief description of those positions?
When I began pursuing a Global Executive MBA at KEDGE, I was in charge of the Continental Europe and Japan markets at Compagnie Médocaine des Grands Crus, which is one of the major fine wine wholesalers at la Place de Bordeaux. I managed one commercial exporter and two assistants.
In 2014, you decided to attend courses at KEDGE Business School, in its Global Executive MBA programme. What were the reasons behind this choice? Did you feel a need to grow, to deepen your skills, or did you want to get a specialisation?
I decided to get an MBA from KEDGE in order to get out of my comfort zone, broaden my skills, and to go from an expert on the export of fine wines to potentially becoming the director of an SME (around 30 people). I wanted to nourish myself intellectually by meeting people from outside my sector and updating my toolbox with all the new management and strategy techniques.
What direct benefits do you think you’ve gotten from the programme? Did they let you access new professional opportunities in the short- and/or medium-term?
The experience let me take a step back and look at what people are doing elsewhere rather than always going for optimal business efficiency. The EMBA helped me better understand all aspects of a business (purchasing, finance, human resources, etc) and encouraged me to always act with a managerial and strategic vision for the medium-term and in the overall interest of the company.
“For me, this MBA was an accelerator. In six years, I went from being the Manager for Continental Europe and Japan to Export Director for Europe and Asia (2016), then Assistant Managing Director (2019), and finally Managing Director (July 2020) ”
This training gave me the tools, skills, and confidence necessary to take on this strategic position.
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How did your Executive MBA go? What are the two main experiences/memories that have stuck with you? With hindsight, would you do it again?
I got this Executive MBA while continuing to work full time, and while I was getting gradually-expanding areas of responsibility within my company, particularly with the takeover of the Asian region. Between preparing for the courses and the time spent attending classes and seminars, as well as the numerous trips I had to take as part of my job, those two years were extremely busy.
I was able to handle my packed schedule thanks to the support provided by my family and team, the ripple effect between my MBA classmates, and the excellent atmosphere of the programme itself.
I have many good memories of the course, but especially of the exciting and enthusiastic individuals who presented on different topics (geostrategy, corporate strategy, branding strategies, change management...), as well as the many enriching discussions with fellow students who came from a wide variety of backgrounds.
I was very pleased with the experience and recommend it.
The business environment is increasingly changing and requires a constant effort to acquire and update one’s knowledge and skills. Do you feel that your employees have specific needs? Which type of profile would you recommend get an Executive MBA? How can an Executive MBA play a part in personal and career development?
I would recommend an Executive MBA to people who are curious, open-minded, who are already specialists in a particular field but who are ready to broaden their field of expertise and make profound changes. The personal coaching offered as part of KEDGE's MBA programme gives us the ability to better understand our weaknesses and strengths and therefore the chance to work on areas that need improvement. This personal work is essential for (hopefully) progressing in one's career.
"This MBA has changed me and has helped change the way others look at me."