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Interview with KEDGE Alumnus Paulo Dos Santos, now Team Leader at KLB Group

KEDGE officially signed a partnership with KLB Group - an expert in support services. This gave us the opportunity to speak with Paulo Dos Santos, a graduate of the school and an employee at KLB Group.

Hello Paulo. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. To begin with, would you briefly introduce yourself and tell us about your studies at KEDGE?

Hello. Thank you for giving me the chance to talk about my career path in general and, specifically, my time at the KLB Group. I graduated from KEDGE Business School's Master in International Purchasing & Innovation Management (MAI) programme, in 2005. In that programme, I acquired the knowledge and skills that were essential to my successful career. After I got my Master, I was then able to work for leading companies in both France and abroad on indirect and direct purchasing accounts. 


The MAI was a tremendous stepping-stone for me because of the quality of its courses, its excellent teaching staff, and its professional lecturers who are recognised in their field. They gave me the ability to acquire best practices, as well as to cultivate a strategic vision of the procurement industry. A strong point of the MAI is also its reputation both in France and internationally. It was partly due to its reputation that I was able to go work for companies such as Toyota, Barclays, and Société Générale, and consulting firms such as Proxima, Grant Thornton, and, now, the KLB Group. Finally, because of the MAI Alumni network, I’ve been able to discuss purchasing issues with other graduates from the very beginning of my career.

You are currently working as a Team Leader at the KLB Group. Would you tell us about your job, your responsibilities, and challenges it brings?

Correct. I’ve advanced to the position of Team Leader at the KLB Group. In this position, I’m responsible for carrying out a large part of IT procurement projects. 


My first job was working for MAIF as an IT purchasing manager. My main responsibility was identifying and implementing ways to optimise its software purchases by streamlining the use of their application solutions. This was a structuring issue, both in terms of the amount of cost involved in terms of the critical nature of the solutions involved. 


I then went to work for BNP Paribas in its software purchasing department to lead a project on migrating the bank's main software to a dedicated cloud server. I also assisted in negotiations on the software purchases to prepare for the upcoming sale of its subsidiary, Bank of the West. There, I was able to put my project management skills to use on these two strategic and technically complex projects in this matrix organisation.


As Team Leader at KLB, I'm responsible for supervising others and am therefore tasked with supporting them in their professional development. This involves helping them improve their performance so that they can reach their professional goals.

Many KEDGE graduates currently work for your company. Why do you think that the KLB Group attracts so many of our graduates?

Founded in 1995, KLB Group was a pioneer in the field and is now well-established in the field of operational purchasing consulting in both France and abroad. The services we offer meet the ambitions of new recruits who want to acquire and expand their purchasing skills and knowledge so that they can bring value to the group's major clients. In addition to the recognition of the KLB Group brand, it's also the quality of the Group's management and its positive managerial approach that attracts and retains talent over the long term. I'm now in my third year here at KLB Group and I’ve always been able to work autonomously and independently. At the same time, I've been recognised and rewarded for my efforts and the satisfaction of my clients.

The KLB Group and KEDGE have just signed a new partnership to strengthen their work together. In your opinion, what does your company offer our students and graduates (opportunities, business sector, etc.)?

I think KLB Group is a very appealing company for KEDGE students and graduates because, as I said before, they can carry out assignments for large international groups. Recent graduates can then gain valuable experience from the beginning of their careers because they are exposed to different areas of the purchasing industry, (IT, Telecom, Professional Services, Marketing, etc.) as well as diverse sectors. 


With this experience, new recruits can quickly build their careers, either by specialising in a particular purchasing category or business sector or by opting for a more generalist profile. Because the KLB Group is very keen to retain its talents, it offers them assignments that are in line with their career plans. Going to work here also means that they can quickly build their networks, with both other KLB employees and the clients they work with. One of KLB Group's current goals is to give recruits access to a knowledge base so that they can increase their skills on new areas or respond quickly to purchasing issues raised by clients.


Finally, it is possible to quickly advance within the KLB Group. I joined the company as a Senior Consultant before I became a Team Leader and, at the end of the year, I will be moving to the CSO Business Unit to carry out more strategic projects (performance plan, purchasing platform management, etc.).

To finish our interview, what advice would you give to our graduates and students who are interested in working for the KLB Group?

I think that the most important quality they need to demonstrate is being customer-oriented. Reaching the Group's growth targets predominantly rests on the satisfaction of its customers. In order for clients to consider our staff to be trusted advisors, they need to build relationships with our customers by providing them with value over the various phases of the purchasing process. This is a very exciting time for KLB Group. The company is in the process of implementing a very ambitious strategy that should allow it to double its workforce by 2026. If anyone is interested in joining a company that is rapidly expanding and taking advantage of the opportunities that it will bring, KLB Group is definitely a choice to consider!


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