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Alumni Story | Quentin CAILLAULT: Always A Future-Proof Learner

Quentin CAILLAULT SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA 2017 Intake Global Head SCM Automotive (OEM | Tier1) ABB Robotics

In 2002, Quentin CAILLAULT travelled from France to Taiwan, China on an exchange programme and studied geopolitics at Fu Jen Catholic University. As a result, he began to get in touch with Chinese culture and history, learned some Chinese, and even entertained thoughts of working in China. At that time, China was experiencing an economic boom and the vast market was full of opportunities.


Quentin, who loves challenges, chose to go to Shanghai to start his career in the supply chain field. For more than twenty years, he has been deeply involved in SCM (supply chain management), while insisting on learning and self-improvement. In 2019, as Outstanding Participant, Quentin obtained his MBA degree from KEDGE Business School. Recently, he has also been officially promoted to Global Head SCM Automotive (OEM|Tier1) at ABB Robotics, a global Fortune 500 company.

From a green hand to a seasoned practitioner in SCM

Back to his college days in France, Quentin obtained successively a bachelor’s degree of laws and a master’s degree of political science. But in order to explore his career path in China, he chose to work as commodity purchaser for a British company, also in charge of the establishment and daily operation of its Shanghai office. For Quentin, who had no study experience in business at that time, let alone knowledge in procurement, everything was unfamiliar, and he had to learn from scratch, all by himself.


Due to the limited size of the team, Quentin held several positions with a working scope covering raw materials procurement, logistics, transportation, management of suppliers, communication with product and marketing teams, as well as audit and quality control. After three years of practice, he built a solid knowledge of supply chain management, and also developed a growing interest in this field often considered key to corporate operations.


In 2007, Quentin joined Chicago Pneumatic/Desoutter and began to take charge of the procurement of a wider range of products. The business scope also expanded from Asia to the world. Unlike the previous company, Chicago Pneumatics/Desoutter part of the Atlas Copco Group, as an internationally established enterprise, helped Quentin to understand more standardized and systematic supply chain management.

In 2017, he entered ABB Robotics, a Fortune 500 company, as Control System Solution Supply Chain Manager. There, he was further introduced to the importance of the holistic perspective in supply chain management. In view of the value chain, only when all parts of the supply chain work in synergy could the company achieve resource optimization and profit maximization. So for supply chain managers, it is imperative to have a systematic business learning and understand the full picture of the company’s operations.


As a result, in the same year, Quentin applied for the SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA Programme, seeking opportunities for change and self-improvement.

Choose an MBA that responds to your needs

When looking for MBA programmes, Quentin was quickly attracted by the Global MBA co-delivered by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and KEDGE Business School and submitted his application. In addition to his recognition of the French background, he also found that the programme responded perfectly to his needs in various aspects:


- International Faculty:

the faculty is made up of professors from different countries with a wealth of business experience. For someone like Quentin, who works in an international company, such an international faculty could help him gain a broader global business vision and master business tools that are more suitable and effective on international business occasions.


- Diversity of participants:

MBA participants come from various industries (healthcare, automotive, FMCG, manufacturing, finance, etc.), and almost every industry involves supply chain management. Having exchanges with these people of top management could help him enrich his knowledge in supply chain and learn about the latest supply chain practices.      


- Systematic and comprehensive courses:

Just as in supply chain management, a slight move in one part may affect the situation as a whole. The systematic and comprehensive courses delivered by the programme could equip the participants with a holistic view to better understand what is happening inside and outside the company.


- Flexibility and convenience:

the courses are delivered on the Xuhui campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which is not far from where he lives, and the transportation is quite convenient. Besides, the monthly 3-day course and the highly flexible curriculum could provide more choices for professionals, who are often asked to take unexpected business trips.

A practical and inspiring MBA programme

In 2019, Quentin obtained his MBA degree and won the Outstanding Participant Award. Looking back on the two years of study, Quentin believes that the MBA has offered him with confidence, working methodologies and many practical tools, which led him to subsequent career advancement.

Among all the courses, Quentin mentioned “information system”, an elective course at that time. He said that in his current work, he still uses the tools taught in that course as toolbox to support process development towards digitalization in supply chain and cross functionally. In the recent past promotion interview, the communication, strategic approach, the financial approach and negotiation skills learned from the MBA programme also helped him seize the opportunity for promotion.


Through the MBA experience, Quentin also made some friends and working partners. The participants come from all sorts of industries and are all leading figures in their own industries. Through discussions, they are willing to give different opinions and judgments based on their industry perspectives. Thus, to work with them is quite eye-opening, inspiring, and sometimes challenging. But it is exactly the enthusiastic and competitive environment that encourages you to grow.

Last but not the least, the professors also left him a deep impression. For example, Professor Yahia ZOUBIR, who teaches geopolitics, is very knowledgeable and convincing with his objective and neutral views that truly have a global foothold. And Professor Ian THOMAS, the tutor of his graduation SBP (Strategic Business Project), who held senior management positions in various industries (medicine, automotive, semiconductor, etc.). On his courses on change management, he shared a great number of business cases to support his persuasive point of views. In the current global business world deeply affected by the pandemic, their courses are extremely enlightening and valuable as references.

Supply chain is like a living animal

Working in the supply chain field for nearly 20 years, Quentin has witnessed the development of supply chain management. In his eyes, the supply chain is like a living animal. To tame it, you must understand its habits, pay attention to its moves, monitor the conditions of different parts of the body, and supervise the changes occurred in its surroundings. The global supply chain crisis after the Covid-19 outbreak is a good example and the supply chain resilience/performance balance always fluctuate.


To look in a positive way, there are also opportunities in the crisis. Companies able and willing to make changes and adapt themselves to the new situation will finally survive and even make breakthroughs. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the overall business volume of ABB robotics has kept growing. The main reason is that the pandemic forced many manual businesses to seek transformation in automation, and the market demand has increased sharply for automated goods and services. ABB Robotics is at the core of this transformation and is involved in many automation fields, such as electric vehicles, multi-purpose robots, medical supplies (such as covid-19 PCR test kit), and components of electronics.


As Global Head SCM Automotive (OEM|Tier1) in ABB Robotics, Quentin said that after the pandemic, the global electric vehicle market has developed more rapidly, especially in the China market, where the overall demand has far exceeded that of traditional fuel vehicles. The increase in demand has also attracted more entrants, making the competition fiercer. To excel in the competition, companies need to ensure the stability of the supply chain. Therefore, Quentin and his team have carried out more rigorous real-time monitoring and alert mechanism on raw material supply, logistics, transportation, customer demand and other sectors, in order to be agile and efficient enough when changes come.

Future career plans and advice for MBA newcomers

Speaking of his future career plans, Quentin expressed his will to stay in Shanghai and seek vertical and horizontal development in the supply chain field. He believes that in the promising China market, ABB Robotics would still be a good place for him to grow. As a department leader, he still has a lot to learn about the supply chain in the automotive industry. And after the pandemic, he hopes to fly to more countries so that he can have access to the latest researches and practices of the end-to-end value chain management in this industry.

Outside of work, Quentin is a fan of sports. He is a senior marathon runner and a member of Ma Sai Ma La Club (Marathon Club) of KEDGE Business School. Since the Tokyo International Marathon in 2014, he has completed 10 international marathon competitions and achieved a personal best of 3 hours. Quentin believes that sports support relaxation and reflection and is essential in his work/life balance. During the pandemic, doing some exercises can also help him release stress and adjust his state of mind.

Regarding the MBA study, Quentin said that it was a very correct decision for him to enroll in the SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA as it has become a major cause for his personal and professional improvements. For those hesitating to apply for the programme, Quentin’s suggestion is that if you look for a comprehensive upgrading in your career development, an MBA is definitely a good choice. Go back to school and step out of your daily routine. It’s time to try something new and do something worthwhile. Self-investment is always the best investment.


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