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Women In Business: How I Landed A Top Management Job After An MBA In France

Géraldine Laviolette was able to find new direction with help from EMLYON Business School


By  Robert Klecha

Mon Feb 5 2018

Over 10 years, Géraldine Laviolette built a successful career holding several positions in supply chain and operations at ArcelorMittal, the world's leading steel and mining company.

To many, it would seem like everything was going smoothly, but Géraldine felt lost on her career path and as if she’d reached her peak.

Needing a new challenge, and determined to climb the corporate ladder, she decided the time was right for an MBA. She took a career break and started a one-year program at EMLYON Business School. It was through the French school’s full-time international MBA program that she rediscovered her focus.

With EMLYON’s small international MBA cohort, strong careers department, and an entrepreneurial leadership project sponsored by General Electric (GE), Géraldine was able to hone the skills needed to switch industries and land a supply chain director role with industrial engineering group, Fives Intralogistics.

“I am convinced I couldn’t have landed this position without doing the MBA,” she says.

How did the EMLYON MBA help you land a director role at Fives?

Before starting the degree, I couldn’t describe my career path. Thanks to the work with my career counsellor at EMLYON however, I understood how I could value the combination of my engineering background and business education.

I benefited from the reputation of EMLYON Business School and my choice to dedicate myself to a full-time MBA. My new employer was interested in my ability to face the challenge of stopping my career for a year, my willingness to switch industry and my orientation for finance and strategy education.

How did you profit from the entrepreneurial leadership project with GE?

The entrepreneurial leadership project was an opportunity to explore the renewable energy industry. We were challenged to develop teamwork in a short period and build a consultant approach to provide a strategic analysis of the problem exposed by the client.

It was a substantial and practical way to use the intellectual and cultural competencies we were learning on the MBA program. Although I didn’t switch to the renewable energy industry, I do think the consulting approach is a valuable asset in my new position. 

What was the highlight of your EMLYON MBA experience?

The integrative seminar, which ended the first and intense quarter of the MBA, was a tremendous experience. It was an impressive one-week time exercise to practice our analytic and consulting skills in finance, marketing and strategy on a real case.

We had to evaluate the change of strategy of a well-known leader in the hospitality industry in France, Club Med, and suggest a strategy to pursue international development. Although we didn’t know this industry, I felt the five members of my team worked well together and we succeeded in doing a great job in a really short time period.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at EMLYON?

I entered the MBA to start a new career path. I felt I was lacking vision and could contribute more by enhancing my understanding of finance and strategy—an MBA could provide me with this business education.

I was looking for an international environment and knew I needed to be fully dedicated to this new challenge, so I only considered a one-year MBA. I was interested in an international environment and a small size cohort—there were only 30 people in my class—so EMLYON Business School was the perfect school for this. I’d also recommend the city of Lyon for its industry and the opportunity to enjoy a great lifestyle while studying.