Flore LAURENT, KEDGE graduate, appointed Director of...
- CLASS OF: 2014
- POSITION: Sales Manager, Asia Pacific
- COMPANY: Skyways Technics
- LENGTH OF EXPATRIATION: Four and a half years
Hello Rémy! Please start off by giving us a quick introduction.
My name is Rémy Lepretre, and I graduated from the Kedge Business Engineering programme at Kedge Toulon in 2014. I’m currently a Sales Manager with Skyways Technics in Malaysia.
What does your job consist of? What are your duties?
Our job is to sell aircraft maintenance, more specifically on RTA (Regional Transport Aircraft), which is a propeller plane that is widely used in Asia. Its biggest market is here. We offer a customised service to our customers. We sell them both spare parts and maintenance to help them maintain their aircraft. The support begins by analysing their needs in order to make an appropriate proposal
My main duty is making sure that the sales goals for the year are met, which is done by ensuring that every salesperson grows well and creates a good relationship with our customers. About 70% of my job consists of managing accounts, and the remaining 30% consists of managing my client portfolio. I help my clients evolve, and create and sell new products.
Finally, I have to deal with the daily demands of spare parts, making sure we have the parts in stock and manage sales.
Can you describe your education at KEDGE? What programme did you follow?
I attended at KEDGE for my L3 at the Toulon campus in basic education. I then took business engineering and earned my master as through a work-study partnership with Airbus Helicopter in Marignane.
How did KEDGE help you develop and achieve your goals?
The ability to do a work-study so I could earn my master's degree while working at Airbus and therefore be where I am today. My years of learning were very beneficial because I learned a lot. Those years gave me a business mind-set. My background in sales and business development allowed me to see the different processes used by several companies and learn how to position myself in respect to others.
How long have you lived abroad?
I’ve lived in Malaysia for four and a half years now!
What were your reasons for moving to Kuala Lumpur?
I had two options with Airbus Hélicoptère: one in South Africa and one in Malaysia. I didn’t know anything about Malaysia and didn’t even know where to find it on a map. The offer seemed to be interesting here, and my interview went very well, so off I went!
On a professional level, what are the cultural differences between France and Malaysia?
There are many more opportunities for professional development in Malaysia. When you work for a French or European business in Malaysia, it is a subsidiary of the company. The subsidiaries here are much more robust than the head office, and there are fewer people so positions of responsibility are more accessible! You also get to meet all the big bosses when they come visit the subsidiaries. This allows to have discussions with them and propose projects – the type of things that you can’t do in the same position in France.
What did you find most surprising about the country?
A surprising thing about Kuala Lumpur is that it is a very multi-cultural city. The people are very open-minded. Even though it is a Muslim country, you can practice whatever religion you want. You’re won't be judged.
I’ll also add that it’s very easy to travel. A two-hour plane ride from Kuala Lumpur and you'll find yourself in a magnificent destination. It’s great!
What are your future plans?
My plan is to leave Malaysia in two or three years to be closer to France, but without going back there. I’d like to continue to evolve professionally. I’d like to change countries, discover new things, and be able to apply everything I’ve learned here. I’ve learned an enormous amount regarding sales and the different ways to sell, and I think that even though the cultures are different, you can apply the same techniques in Europe or elsewhere. I think you mustn’t have plans that are too specific, you have to live with the opportunities you get.
Is there another country where you’d like to live, and why?
Australia. The people are adorable, welcoming, and the way of life is agreeable. That country has a French mentality, but much more relaxed. The climate is great and it’s a country where you really feel good!
If you had to do it all over again, what would change?
I would not change anything. I am very happy where I am for my age.
What advice would you give to a student or new graduate who’d like to try such an adventure?
I will advise those students who are completing their studies through apprenticeships to target companies with subsidiaries abroad. Trying gives you a lot of opportunities. Secondly, register on the VIE website. It’s difficult to find one, but you have to try. You have to target three or four countries and not restrict yourself to one because you run the risk that doesn’t work out. If it doesn’t work, you can does not work, it is possible to leave everything behind and try to find work on the location. I know people for whom it worked. It’s a very brave thing to do, but it works in 80% of cases!
Interview conducted in Kuala Lumpur by Emma and Manon students of Pro-Act KEDGE Alumni Travel.