Aurélien Meunier decided to pursue a full-time MBA at France’s EMLYON Business School to stay relevant in a changing workplace.
After completing his MBA with a specialization in entrepreneurship, he became general manager at Legrand in East Africa. Legrand – a global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures – identified Aurélien as the strongest candidate to lead the company into East Africa and set up a new subsidiary.
Utilizing what he’s learned on his MBA, he’s taken full advantage of an intrapreneur role within the company, and helped them establish a presence across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
BusinessBecause caught up with Aurélien to find out more.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
I had been following a steady career path at Legrand as a sales rep and was promoted after three years to a sales manager. However, I realized that the business environment was changing, but what about me?
I was still using the same selling techniques, marketing tools and management style. At that moment, I felt a need for more knowledge and self-development. I realized that my way of managing my career was very passive.
I was giving the best I had to show what I was capable of and reach the next step, but I wasn’t creating opportunities. I was waiting for an offer to come. This was not at all in tune with my personality and I decided to change it. Doing an MBA appeared to be the solution I was looking for.
Why did you choose EMLYON?
Three elements helped me choose EMLYON. First was the entrepreneurial spirit of the program. I had the feeling that learning more about been an entrepreneur was key to success and today I’m 100 % convinced of that.
I was also highly drawn by the international dimension of the program. All of my career up until then had been in France and I needed to bring an international dimension to my resume. Choosing the EMLYON MBA and joining a very diverse cohort was the best way to do this.
Finally, when I presented my application to the EMLYON team, I received accurate advice and strong support. This is a very important dimension when you have to take such an important decision.
How did the job at Legrand come about?
Building a subsidiary abroad requires specific knowledge and mind-set. Although candidates are always numerous for that kind of position, the management was looking for a specific profile and someone with a strong entrepreneurial nature and competencies.
The EMLYON brand and the quality of the international MBA were recognized by Legrand’s directors. My degree and my specialization in new venture were definitely an asset. It also appears that the very decision to do an international MBA was valued itself. The fact that I stepped out of my comfort zone and decide to invest in my career was highly appreciated. In the end, is there any better proof of an entrepreneurial mind-set?
How else have you profited from your EMLYON MBA experience?
There is no doubt that the tools and technics we learned are invaluable for decision making and help me a lot. Dealing with business development, international logistics, legal structure and financial issues all at the same time requires knowledge and know how.
This being said, I’m convinced that the value of the EMLYON program is in self-development and the experience gained by working with international team members on challenging projects. As an example, I worked for a month on a project for Club Med with MBA teammates from Morocco, Salvador, Canada, China and Mexico. During this, you learn how to deal with different cultures and nationalities.
You also learn your own assets and pitfalls when it comes to decision making and leadership. Thinking about it now, these experiences are probably the part of the program that helps me the most on a daily basis.