Entrepreneurs - Two Kedgers are the originators of...
CLASS OF: 2010
POSITION: Project Finance Manager
COMPANY: Scatec Solar
LENGTH OF TIME LIVING ABROAD: Seven and a half years, five of which were in Kuala Lumpur
Hello Mathieu! To start off, please give us a quick introduction.
My name is Mathieu Lorber. I come from Paris, which is where I spent my entire childhood. I started at KEDGE in 2006 and then quickly left to go abroad. I did my first internship in Hong Kong, and after that I lived abroad several other times, particularly in New York and Romania where I did my VIE. After that, I returned to Paris where I was a consultant for two years with EY. I’ve now been in Malaysia for five years working for a Norwegian company that deals with solar energy.
What does your job entail? What are your duties?
Scatec Solar is a solar energy company. We construct solar farms that sell the energy generated to the network. My job is to find financing for our projects. These projects are valued between 50 and 300 million dollars. I recently secured financing with BNP. I’ve brought a bit of the “French Touch” to the projects. I started working there when the company didn’t have a presence in Malaysia. We now have two offices and there are 25 of us. It kind of has the feeling of a start-up, while being a well-established company at the same time. Our headquarters are located in Oslo, and there are around 300 employees working throughout the world.
Tell us about your time at KEDGE? What did you study?
I started at KEDGE in 2006 after two years of prep school. I had general courses the first year and then I specialised in finance. I also was a member of an association called ACCEDE, where I was responsible for market studies. I didn’t do a gap year. Instead I left for an eight-month internship in Hong Kong as an end-of-studies internship. And after that, in 2010, I graduated!
How did KEDGE help you develop and reach your goals?
First of all, my specialisation in finance gave me the necessary background skills, which I use in my job every day. Then there’s the networking side, which is important. Even though I’m far away, I’m still in contact with all my friends from ACCEDE. I’ve gotten to know other alumni from the school who live in Kuala Lumpur through the Alumni network and on LinkedIn. Otherwise, my participation in the association prepared me to deal with a company’s problems, which gives me skills need to be able to be structured, professional, and have the sense of relational. The trading course was also interesting and gave me a good foundation in negotiation, which I do every day. Kedge has good teachers and a good programme that readies us for the job market.
How long have you been an expatriate?
I’ve been in Malaysia for five years now, but an expatriate for seven and a half years in total when you count my time in New-York, Hong-Kong, and Romania. I’ve worked more in other countries than I have in France. It’s interesting because I’m able to compare how countries that are more or less developed work and function.
Interview de Mathieu Lorber
🌏 KUALA LUMPUR : 1 jour, 1 kedgeur 🌏 Voici la septième et dernière vidéo de diplômé de notre projet en Malaisie. Nous avons rencontré Mathieu Lorber. Après avoir été à Hong Kong et à New York, il est maintenant Project Finance Manager chez Scatec Solar. L'interview complète de Mathieu est en ligne sur le site de Kedge Business School Alumni : https://www.kedgebs-alumni.com/fr/diplome/news/tete-a-tete-avec-mathieu-lorber-un-kedgeur-installe-a-kuala-lumpu-depuis-5-ans-835Publiée par Kedge Alumni Travel sur Vendredi 26 avril 2019
What were your reasons for moving to Kuala Lumpur?
I had already lived abroad in Hong Kong, and got the chance to discover Southeast Asia a bit. Obviously, I took advantage of the ability to travel and got a taste of the region. Every country is different, but never-the-less have the Asian culture which makes them resemble one another. I find it very interesting to be able to discover cultures that are different from our own.
I was in Paris before I came here, and I told myself that the market in France was sufficiently mature and, being that I was in the energy infrastructure sector, I preferred to work in a developing country where there are lots more things to improve.
When I left France, I didn’t tell myself that I absolutely had to go to Malaysia. I had looked into going to Thailand, Indonesia, or Singapore. Finally, I told myself that Malaysia was a good compromise between a country that is somewhat developed and a developing country. It also allowed me to have an experience where I had the comfort I needed as a Frenchman, and at the same time to have the exoticism and expat life that I sought for adventure’s sake.
Professionally, what cultural differences have you noted between France and Malaysia?
Studies in Malaysia are less advanced.. In general, Malaysians stop their education when they get their Bachelor and therefore have less of an education. They are less structured and much rougher in general. It's interesting how the ways of working the different cultures have. Everyone has their ideas about how to do things, so you have to be very open-minded to succeed in working with everyone! We mustn’t try to impose our own methodology otherwise it will not work.
What surprised you most about this country?
Resistance to the climate! I am more resistant to heat as a Frenchman than the Malaysians are. They need their air conditioning to get through life!
What are your future plans?
I'm going back to France in a week. I’ll stay in the same company as it has a small office in Paris. I will still be in charge of financing projects, but the regions I work with will change. I'll be covering North Africa, West Africa, and a little bit of the Middle East.
Is there another country in which you would like to live and why?
I’ve planned to return to France for the next three years. After that, I might go to America. I already know the United States and I would like to return there, but I’d also like to discover South America. I am adventurous enough and I like to discover different cultures. I think the best thing is for me to be there and go around discovering more things!
If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently?
I regret not attending a partner university to study while I was at KEDGE and not having seized the opportunity to do an exchange. But I’ve had many experiences living abroad behind me, and consider each experience as a stepping stone to get to the next. You have to know how to build a coherent path and how to sell yourself so you can take the next opportunity that comes up.
On a more personal note, I could have forged more relationships with locals here in Malaysia. We French mostly stayed in our own community. Maybe I missed something at that level.
What advice would you give to a student or recent graduate who might consider trying such an adventure?
The most important thing is not to be afraid to leave, and not be fixed on a destination. We don’t always get a contracted in the country that was our first choice, but afterwards we realise that we like the one we got. It is important to be open to the experience. You have to know how to get the opportunities and grab them!
Interview conducted in Kuala Lumpur by Emma and Manon, KEDGE Alumni Travel Pro-Act students.
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