“From badminton player to traveler, engineer, business manager, and now INSEAD student.”
Hometown: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Fun Fact About Yourself: The only half marathon I ran was nonintentional.
In 2015, I went to study in South Korea. Immediately after landing on the first day, I followed some welcoming students out for a night out in Seoul City. Later that same night, as I was about to return home, I realized I had no local money, no battery, and no idea where I was. I only knew the name of the street where I was staying. Optimistic as I was, I just asked for directions and started running and I didn’t arrive home until the early hours of the morning. I realized the next day that I had run/walk 20km.
Undergraduate School and Major: École Supérieure d’Ingénieurs Léonard-de-Vinci (ESILV), Master of Engineering, major in New Energies.
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: ALTEN, Business Unit Manager.
INSEAD is one of the most culturally and professionally diverse MBA programs in the world. How do you see these global perspectives enhancing the value of your business education over the next year?
INSEAD’s cohort diversity is not just about nationality but also about backgrounds. The eclectic breadth of stories from INSEAD students is impressive. So many of my classmates have had unique, global experiences where they had the opportunity to explore cultures different from their own. I believe my contributions come from my professional sports experience. At 13 years old, I lived with other aspiring professional athletes from very diverse social backgrounds. The experience gave me plenty of opportunity to travel and live abroad.
I expect the valuable global perspectives to come from my classmates as much as they will from professors. The common denominator among all INSEAD students is that we all have both our own unique background and our curiosity about discovering the stories of others.
This INSEAD environment will develop my ability to adapt, interact, move and work across different cultures.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of INSEAD’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I chose INSEAD for the school’s academic excellence, ranking among the world’s best MBAs, and nature of the one-year fast-paced program that allows us to quickly enhance our career trajectory. However, a more fundamental reason was that INSEAD is less specific-market centric than some other MBA programs. The broad geographic opportunity for students was a key reason why I chose INSEAD. Keeping as many options open as possible was important to me as I consider my future career.
What course, club or activity excites you the most at INSEAD? It is a difficult choice because there are many opportunities. I have heard a lot about “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) from alumni prior to my MBA and I can feel it right from the start. Regarding classes, I think I will pay special attention to Strategy, Economics and Political Science, Organizational Behaviour, and Finance. I want to join career clubs such as the Consulting and Private Equity clubs to learn more about roles in those sectors. As an athlete, I will join most of the sport clubs and I think I’m the right person to inaugurate a badminton club.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I am proud of my successful transition from a badminton athlete to the corporate world.
I played badminton professionally at a high level for years, but I never made it to the highest level. For someone with a competitive spirit, it left a bittersweet taste. It also represented a practical challenge because I had to switch to a totally different career path. I not only had to find the necessary motivation but also adapt myself to new standards and perform in new ways.
At first, it was difficult for me to get past the competitive athletic point of view, and therefore I was unable to appreciate it as a success. But today, when I look back, it is very clear to me: I am proud to have succeeded in gradually closing my chapter as an athlete and reframing my career as a businessperson.
In the short term, a career change from sports to the corporate world can be challenging and daunting. But in the long run, being a former athlete is a real advantage because the synergies between the two are obvious. Both require dedication, resiliency, and ability to continuously progress and meet challenges.
Today, I would encourage anyone with a professional sports background considering a top MBA to pursue the challenge.
How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? I wouldn’t say that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed my way of seeing my career or my life in general, but it did accelerate at least one of my life decisions: Applying for an MBA.
Although the context was dramatic, I have personally enjoyed the home retreat imposed by the lockdown and the slowdown in my everyday life. It allowed me to reflect on my career and to finish convincing myself that it was the right time to pursue an MBA. Logistically, I used the extra time to study for the GMAT and complete my application.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I chose to pursue an MBA at this point because I wanted change. Specifically, I want a more global career and I think a recognized MBA, international professional experience, and an influential network will get me there. After graduation, I have several ideas in mind. For the moment, I want to discover new career sectors, learn about different roles, and keep my mind open to options so I can make an informed choice later in the MBA program.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? LBS, but I declined the interview invitation as I got accepted to INSEAD at that time.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into INSEAD’s MBA program? I would give potential candidates two pieces of advice: Be yourself – the INSEAD MBA application process can seem long and exhaustive. In the end, it is mostly about getting to know you, who you are, and what do you want to do. It takes time and humility to reflect and formulate what made the person you are today. It’s a demanding task of introspection and, in my opinion, the best approach is to be honest and take it as a good way to get to know yourself better. You will probably surprise yourself and you might even (almost) enjoy it along the way!
My second tip, and probably the one I applied to myself too late in my application, is to surround yourself with good advice and get help from people who know you well. Too many applicants, including myself, want to prove to themselves that they can be admitted to a top MBA before mentioning it to their relatives. The application is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Relatives can be a great resource to support you in difficult times like studying for the GMAT, writing essays, and preparing for an interview. More, they are the only ones who know you well enough to help in your personal reflection and give you relevant feedback. Involve people in your application process.
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