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How This Executive MBA Is Navigating Changes In France’s Renewable Energy Industry

Nicolas Fernandez chose EMLYON Business School's Executive MBA to bolster his business knowledge for a changing industry

Wed Nov 22 2017

Nicolas Fernandez once founded two companies at the same time.

With a passion for renewable energy, he started up a company distributing material for solar panels and, simultaneously, created a consulting company—NFTC Consulting, which he's still running today—to give technical assistance to installers.

Nicolas had a strong engineering background. But he soon realized he needed a better understanding of how to run a business.

Following an Executive MBA at France’s EMLYON Business School, Nicolas has been able to guide his consulting company with a clearer business strategy. He’s also taken on a new full-time job as associate director, responsible for engineers at ERRO energy—a renewable energy services firm based in Lyon.

France’s renewable energy industry is changing, with more competition and shrinking margins giving little room for error. Nicolas believes there’s never been a better time for businesses to support their employees in developing the business skills they need to grow.

How have you profited from your Executive MBA experience?

The MBA has been one of the most transformative experiences of my professional career.

The environment of entrepreneurs that I was part of during the EMBA helped me better understand the different roles in a team and how important diversity is to create innovation. I’m sure that this ultimately helped me get a job at ERRO.

Certainly, the skills I developed during the MBA are useful for the company. The EMBA helps me in my daily work to offer good financial support to our clients and to manage our own business.

How has your EMBA helped you develop your consultancy?

Almost every part of the EMLYON EMBA was really helpful for my consulting firm, and the knowledge acquired on finance and negotiation was vital. I was able to renegotiate my contracts with my suppliers with a win-win outcome, but also to better understand the financial stakes of my company and the need of good strategy.

What I truly appreciated from the EMBA was the teamwork and the holistic approach to every subject. For example, the lessons on human resources started with personal development and self-questioning: what kind of manager are we and how do we interact with the environment around us?

Why did you decide to pursue an EMBA at EMLYON?

I’d co-founded a company distributing solar material and in parallel created the technical office NFTC Consulting offering technical assistance to installers and investors in Belgium and Germany. With a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and a technical profile, I had little experience managing a company and made mistakes with strategy and understanding of the market.

In order to complete my missing skills, I sought an EMBA. EMLYON had a good reputation in France and a good ranking. I applied and met Cécile Esquenet, head of EMBA recruitment. We discussed the EMBA, my plans and my motivations and, in the end, I found their approach very convincing.

What advice do you have for anyone considering an MBA?

An MBA or EMBA will give you access to new opportunities and a new business network. For many engineers and experienced managers, it’s an important step to grow into their organizations or to access to new opportunities.

During the intense training, you are challenged by incredible colleagues and teachers. Working as a cohesive team under real pressure, you learn many things about yourself and how you are at work. If you decide to pursue an MBA, get 100% involved!