Flore LAURENT, KEDGE graduate, appointed Director of...
- CLASS OF: 2018
- POSITION: Commercial and Marketing Director
- BUSINESS: Nathalie Gourmet Studio
- LENGTH OF LIFE ABROAD: 8 months
Hello Antony! To begin with, please give us a quick introduction.
My name is Antony de Roquefeuil and I’m 23 years old. I was at KEDGE from 2016-2018, and I was a work-study programme in Bordeaux for 24 months. Currently I’m the Commercial and Marketing Director with Nathalie Gourmet Studio, a prestigious catering company in Malaysia.
Interview d'Antony De Roquefeuil
🌏 KUALA LUMPUR : 1 jour, 1 kedgeur 🌏 Voici la troisième vidéo de diplômé de notre projet. Nous avons rencontré Antony de Roquefeuil, jeune diplômé expatrié en Malaisie. L'interview complète d'Antony est en ligne sur le site de @Kedge Business School Alumni : https://www.kedgebs-alumni.com/fr/diplome/news/rencontre-avec-anthony-de-roquefeuil-expatrie-a-kuala-lumpur-826Publiée par Kedge Alumni Travel sur Jeudi 18 avril 2019
🌏 KUALA LUMPUR: 1 day, 1 kedger 🌏 Here is the video of the third alumni of our project. We met Antony de Roquefeuil, a young graduate working in Malaysia. The complete interview can be found on the @Kedge Business School Alumni website: https://www.kedgebs-alumni.com/fr/diplome/news/rencontre-avec-anthony-de-roquefeuil-expatrie-a-kuala-lumpur-826, Posted by Kedge Alumni Travel on 18 April 2019
What does your job consist of? What are your duties?
I handle two sides of the business. The marketing/communications sides consists of trying to promote Nathalie Gourmet Studio’s image in Malaysia, mainly in Kuala Lumpur. As the company already has a very strong reputation, we are focusing on customer loyalty and promoting the many events we hold, both as a caterer as well as for our gourmet restaurant. The other side is more business-oriented, with a comprehensive strategic aspect to increase turnover and profits. In particular, we want to increase the value and number of requests, have a higher conversion rate, and find key partnerships to position ourselves at major events in the country. To achieve our goals, we have a fairly large team of 35 people (kitchen, service, administrative, and business). I have four people under me, which is a super motivating managerial aspect for me!
Describe your educational background at KEDGE? What course did you follow?
I started off working as a commercial and development manager as part of a two-year work-study programme at a training centre for industry trades in Bordeaux to earn my DUT in Marketing-Techniques. To improve my English, I decided to get a Bachelor in International Business in Ireland, and then finished with a Master at KEDGE Bordeaux. An alternating work-study routine the obvious the way to go for me and Kedge offered a very attractive business rhythm. I worked as a business developer and commercial trainer throughout western France for a company that imports high-end home appliances. At KEDGE, since a work-study is already a specialisation, you don’t specialise to much with a particular programme. We simply have to make strategic choices, so I focused on negotiation and commercial management. I also attended a partner university in San Sebastián, not far from Bordeaux, for four and a half months. That gave me a chance to experience an international environment with many students from all over the world in addition to studying in San Sebastian. Nothing could be better!
How did KEDGE help you develop and attain your goals?
KEDGE has helped me in the sense that the rhythm offered and the training provided in the form of an alternating work-study manner is very advantageous for companies. The pace, with all the distance courses, Pro-act, and other things, was very intense you’re forced to have a certain rigor in the way you organise your work. I only spent four months at KEDGE, but I learned a lot at some courses such as public speaking, risk management, or the business” game” in negotiations. Although it requires a lot of effort, finishing your thesis is in itself a beautiful memory, "a source of humour in business negotiations”. I still use about two-thirds of the skills I learned.
How long have you lived abroad?
I’ve been an expat for eight months now, since September 2018. It's still very new, but it promises to be a good career abroad. When you get the taste of living in a foreign country, it’s kind of like a virus.
Why did you decide to move to Kuala Lumpur?
Given that I already had four years of work experience, after I got my master's degree I had several permanent job opportunities in several large companies, often in sector manager positions, but I wanted to discover something different! This was a chance to discover a new culture and a new work environment. I’ve had the chance to work with people from all over Asia. I learn something every day!
On a professional level, what cultural differences do you see between France and Malaysia?
In Malaysia there are three major cultures; Chinese, Malay, and Indian. Business conducted with the Chinese is mainly with those how have considerable responsibility. It is quite complicated to do business with them - they want everything right away, at the best prices and there is very little form of politeness in making contact. Some traditions are to be respected, for example you don’t his or her business card with your left hand, nor do you put in into his or her pocket directly. We hold it with both hands when offering it, and receive his or hers with both hands. You must read the title of his company or organisation and show some sort of admiration. Then the Malays and the Indians, who have less important responsibilities, want to avoid any conflicts and problems at all costs. They never want anything negative or any disagreements in their actions and associations. If you ask for something that is not doable or is complicated, they will tell you that it is possible and do it, but in the end the result will often be disappointing. They avoid conflict at all costs by avoiding making decisions that could put them in a bad position. Of course, this is a generality!
What surprised you most about this country?
When I came from France, Malaysia was one of the countries in Asia that is least known about. I didn’t really know where to go before I left. People don’t realise it is actually two big islands, and expect to find a small underdeveloped Asian country with images of rice paddies. Then when you get here, you find yourself in the middle of an absolutely huge megalopolis where there is a lot of economic activity. There is a big contrast between the extravagantly wealthy - particularly the Chinese, who own luxury cars, extraordinary apartments, and who are very good customers in bars or restaurants – and the poverty that you see on a daily basis.
What also surprised me is the transport. I take the subway every day and I have never seen a train as clean as these are, nor has one ever been late!
And in general people are extremely kind and honest, it's a super safe country!
What are your future plans?
I plan to continue in commercial positions and have managerial responsibilities. The more I advance in my career, the more I want to have managerial responsibilities. My goal is to learn from experienced managers so that later I’ll be able to help my staff develop. I think the best challenge for a manager is to help their teams develop their skills. As I was in the alternating work-study programme, I had the chance to work with people who helped me progress professionally. I would like to know that in a few years I’ll have students or new graduates that I can help progress as much as possible. An international aspect is also very attractive to me, and there are great opportunities.
Is there any other country in which you would have liked to live and why?
I did not know any continent other than Europe very well. I decided to start with Asia because it is an area I did not know at all. It's a little trendy right now as a travel destination, and I thought that working and living here would be a good way to discover it, both personally and professionally. I’m also very attracted to Africa, because it is also the new world economic zone. Countries are developing enormously. For example, in a few years Nigeria will be the most populous country in the world. It will be one of the great powers of tomorrow. I think there are great opportunities and absolutely incredible cultures to discover there.
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🎓 Afterwork à Kuala Lumpur 🎓 Retour sur notre première soirée des diplômés de @kedgebs qui a eu lieu mardi 9 avril à KL. Nous avons pu les rencontrer et échanger avec eux autour d’un repas convivial dans un restaurant français @chezgastonkl 🥖 . . . . #kualalumpur #afterwork #chezgastonkl #kedge #kedgebs #diner #voyage #roadtrip
If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
I would not change anything. I’ve always known what I wanted to do, my studies went really well, I learned a lot in two different companies I worked in, and I spent a year in Ireland where I enjoyed myself both culturally and in my training. The position I currently have, and the universe and the environment in which I’m in, is great to start a career. I have nothing other to do than take advantage of the chance to learn and continue to work.
What advice would you give to a student or recent graduate who would consider attempting a similar experience?
Honestly, it's really very daring to “go for it". Don’t waste any time. Don’t wait to get a job, you can meet people and get one on the spot. From my personal case and the knowledge that I have, I know that you can find a job in a few weeks from here. It proves your motivation, it's a good training experience, then it's also now or never.
Interview conducted in Kuala Lumpur by Emma and Manon, Pro-act KEDGE Alumni Travel students.
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