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How I Used My MBA To Switch Into Consulting

Nhung Hoang changed location, industry, and function after her MBA at Emlyon Business School, starting an exciting new career in consulting

Nhung Hoang knew she'd made a big decision when with her husband she decided to to start a new life in France, leaving behind a job in the Netherlands and starting fresh.   

As well as the excitement of learning a new language and immersing herself in a new culture, Nhung felt the move could be the push she needed to change her career direction.  

After three years as a senior purchaser and inventory planner for Dutch computer hardware company, Supermicro, she wanted to move into consulting, specifically focused on the management of international supply chains.   

Aonline search later and she landed on the International MBA from Emlyon Business Schoolchoosing to pursue the MBA’s International Strategy and New Venture Management track.   


Why an MBA? 

Nhung (pictured) already had a Master’s in International Business and Economics from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, but to make her transition into a new job market easier, she decided to apply to MBA programs in France. 2b3434c8522652f9eb70ba8a223e00a63981c723.png   

Nhung felt her prior skillset was lacking when it came to management and leadership skills needed for a career in consulting. She wanted to be an appealing candidate for more senior positions, so addressing these weaker areas of her skillset was essential.   

Although she already had the theoretical knowledge of macroeconomics in business, she says the Emlyon MBA put this into context. How does the macroeconomy impact international businesses? How do you adapt an international business to survive macroeconomic volatility?   

“I wanted to improve my professional reputation,” she explains. “I also want to launch my own international business one day. I would love to have some experience in the local French job market, and see how they’ve been faring compared to the rest of the world.  

Knowing how to be a good leader––working across Europe and Asia––is essential to that. With this in mind, I knew an MBA would be perfect.”  

While at Emlyon, Nhung studied alongside people from all different backgrounds. She says she enjoyed learning from their prior experiences as they learned from hers.   

The IMBA pushed her out of her comfort zone, she adds. Nhung previously didn’t have confidence with public speaking. She admits that, while class exercises where she had to present one-minute pitches to sell a particular product or win over the majority to her idea were daunting, being thrown in the deep end helped her become far more confident in public speaking going forward.   

“Before the MBA, I never would have thought I could do that,” Nhung says. “It helped me realize that, if I could do that, what’s stopping me from stepping out of my comfort zone going forward in my career?”  


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MBA to consulting 

After completing her MBA, Nhung landed a consultant job at French furniture company, Fermob. Instead of focusing solely on procurement, Nhung was analyzing the whole supply chain process, identifying the problem areas and presenting solutions.   

“Working on a consulting project for Fermob, my job was to suggest ways to improve the supply chain process––especially seeing as this company works with vendors all over the world. I was there to help them figure out how they can meet the current demands of the market.”  

She conducted full supply chain diagnostics, advising Fermob on how best to improve the efficiency of their supply chain operations both in the short and long-term.   

“I helped them develop a clear strategy to help reduce supply chain costs and manage sustainably, even in a period of uncertainty like we’re now seeing with the pandemic,” Nhung explains.   

Now, Nhung says she’s excited for the next chapter of her consulting career. She plans to stay in the industry and continue working with French companies to optimize the performance of their international supply chains.   

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