Grenoble MBA Helps French Engineer In Silicon Valley
David Axelrad says that French MBA degrees are well-respected in US firms
STMicroelectronics engineer Daid Axelrad has used the Grenoble Ecole de Management MBA to propel him from France to the cutting edge of Silicon Valley.
David has a background in telecommunications and microelectronics. He has an MS from elite engineering school ENSIMAG and a Phd from Leti. The 31-year-old Frenchman decided that after six years of experience in industry he should do an MBA, so he joined the part-time MBA at Grenoble Graduate School of Business (a school within Grenoble Ecole de Management).
Grenoble is highly renowned in France. It is one of the top French and European business schools and the only one in the heart of the tech hub known as the Silicon Alps. “Grenoble is a high-tech city where companies, universities and research laboratories unified and created a unique cluster named Minalogic.
"In this context, Grenoble decided to make ‘Management of Technology and Innovation’ one of the pillars of its program, allowing tomorrow's managers to master its challenges, better integrate them into the strategic objectives of businesses and create value through technology.”
His passion for technology meant that the specialization in Technology and Innovation Management was an obvious choice. “I love discovering and wish to never stop learning,” he says.
David has been working for STMicroelectronics (ST) since 2006. The global independent semiconductor company is headquartered in Geneva, counts more than 50,000 employees worldwide and is a leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications, including automotive, computer and communications infrastructure, energy and healthcare.
In 2006 David was hired by ST as an analog engineer for high-speed communications. “My job was located in France with tight connections with Italian design teams. In 2008, after gaining strong technical knowledge and exposure, I proposed to my management a career plan that included an MBA along with a managerial path. ST accepted, sponsored me and I got on board with GGSB.”
With his eye always on a managerial position with responsibilities in a dynamic technological environment, Silicon Valley remained at the forefront of his ambitions. “I thus proposed to study new business opportunities for ST in networking and cloud computing.
"My research focused on both technical and business aspects with emphasis on American market leaders.” David successfully uncovered new opportunities and gained strong exposure both internally and with US customers for ST. So ST offered him a role in Santa Clara, the heart of the Silicon Valley. "This new position allows me to capitalize on both my technical experience and my business skills.”
I wondered whether his French MBA was valued by American employers: “The French MBA is quite well known worldwide and is gaining recognition and exposure year after year. Managers abroad also recognize the level of the French education system which is known to be very high.”
In 2001 David had interned for MEMSCAP in the San Francisco Bay Area and for the University of California at Santa Cruz the following year. And it was not just the appeal of learning a new job, but of experiencing the Californian lifestyle and sunshine that motivated him!
David says that these early experiences in America were key in the eyes of his future manager: “It's a guarantee that I am familiar with the highly intensive working environment that characterizes the Bay area.”
America is the land of technological opportunity at the moment but who knows where the future will take David. However he predicts it is likely to be Brazil or somewhere in Africa. All he can be totally sure of is that his MBA at Grenoble “is the best value for money you can find in France and probably in Europe. Our professors were top of class professors teaching in the best European universities.
"In addition, the class was amazingly multi-cultural with more than 22 nationalities out of 46 students. I strongly believe that a French MBA in America brings diversity to management thinking and reactions to business problems. Diversity is key to look at a problem from a different angle and uncover new business opportunities.”
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