Laurence Keke is a former nuclear industry project manager with a PhD in computer science. She decided to pursue a full-time MBA at EMLYON Business School to take a career switch.
For Laurence, EMLYON offered the perfect combination of international experience, education and lifestyle. With a small cohort of 30 MBA students, Laurence received a personalized experience which allowed her to hone her skills and build her network while taking care of her four-year-old son.
Keen to work in renewable energy in Africa, she landed the perfect consulting project during her MBA – working for General Electric in the solar energy field. Laurence completed her MBA studies in June, and she already has job interviews lined up.
What are your career plans for after the EMLYON MBA?
I am interested in a business development position in the solar industry, specifically for mini-grids in Africa. There are a lot of challenges, such as lack of finance which forces companies to create innovative business models to succeed.
I’m also interested by management positions and the accountability of a profit center. I enjoyed my finance and management accounting courses and would love to put in practice the tools I learned.
How did you profit from your MBA consulting project experience with GE?
We helped GE analyze the Africa market and identify the best country, Tanzania, for a pilot project and of containerized solar hybrid power systems they have created for developing countries.
This project enabled me to acquire, in just a few months, lots of knowledge and experience of the mini-grid sector in Africa. I’ve also been able to develop my network. I graduated in June and I have some interviews lined up with companies in the sector.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at EMLYON?
I wanted to switch industries and my career track with the idea of going back in Africa some day and, why not, launch my own venture. The MBA program was a great complement to my technical background.
Before my decision to pursue the MBA program, I was already thinking of leaving Paris and moving to Lyon or Nantes for work. EMLYON soon became an obvious choice because they are among the top five programs in France and the price-to-quality ratio of its MBA is great.
I also appreciated the small size of the cohort as for me it means less competition and more accessibility of the teachers, as well as the diversity of the cohort, there were 16 different nationalities in my class.
Lyon is also a great city for family life. I have a four-year-old child and thought it would be easier for me to pursue my MBA while taking care of my son in this city.
What advice would you give to anyone considering an MBA?
I spent an amazing year doing my MBA. It was tough, especially because of my personal situation with a small child, even with the great support of my husband. My advice to anyone considering undertaking an MBA is that you have to be ready to work hard not because the courses are complex, but because everything goes fast.
You should be open-minded and learn from your peers. The quality of an MBA program has much to do with the sharing of experiences from all the participants.
Last, but not the least, you should learn to let go. You don’t have enough time to refine every assignment and make them all perfect. During the MBA, you learn that you can improve your decisions in certain situations and minimize risk by making sure you are using the most relevant data at the time.