The Covid-19 pandemic may have abridged big portions of his degree experience, but Hugo Charré will always consider EDHEC Business School’s Global Economic Transformation and Technology program one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
Charré recently graduated from the GETT program, a master’s in management that over three years took him from his native France to Seoul, South Korea and on to Berkeley, California to study how innovations in technology are driving the transformation of global business. At Berkeley in May, he and 39 classmates attended a ceremony that concluded a long and difficult but rewarding journey.
“I found it really interesting because it was something that was kind of a mix between everything I liked,” Charré says of GETT, which he joined in fall 2018. “So on the one hand, it was about seeing different cultures, traveling, being able to study in different countries, and that was something that I thought was really cool. The fact that you could go to Asia, which is probably lesser known as a destination for studies for French people — going to Korea in my mind was kind of exotic.
“And the other thing was that the program was focused on innovation and that was also something I really found interesting because it corresponds to my background. I have a passion for tech, I learned how to code when I was young. And so the mix of everything really resonated with me.”
GETT GRADS FINALLY GRADUATE
Innovation is the key descriptor for the GETT program, which was launched in 2017 with an initial cohort of 42 students. That group, like each group of GETT students since, studied on three global campuses: EDHEC’s Paris campus, then at the Sungkyunkwan Graduate School of Business in Seoul, followed by two semesters at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in the United States. The wide range of locations, experiences, faculty, and curricula — and the program’s unique design that includes a year of work sandwiched between periods of study — help students acquire the skills desired by companies in a world increasingly attuned to the needs of sustainable development and answering the challenges of disruptive change amid rapid informational and technological advances, says Ludovic Cailluet, associate dean of EDHEC’s Centre for Responsible Entrepreneurship and director of the GETT program.
“We have to work with three different partners on three continents, different time zones, different learning traditions,” Cailluet tells Poets&Quants in a recent interview. “The administration is different. So it’s a nice joint venture. It requires a lot of goodwill and flexibility to make it work on a daily basis.”
The latter point was especially true amid Covid-19, he says. The pandemic wreaked havoc on schedules and canceled events across the last two-plus years — making the ceremony in Berkeley extra special.
“That was very special for me,” Cailluet says. “This program was launched in 2017. And because it’s a master in management that lasts for three years, there are two years of study and in between there’s a gap year where they work in companies to get some experience. So the duration of the program is three years, and we were unable to celebrate with the first class and the second class of the program because of the Covid. So both years we had to cancel, in the last minute, the celebration.
“We actually did celebrate in France, on our campus in March. But there was nothing we could do with our friends and colleagues at UC-Berkeley. So that was a very special moment to be able to get together, celebrate, and also mention all the hard work that was done with the partnership with UC-Berkeley people and with the students and some family members that were present. So very moving in a way, a very warm moment.”
DEVELOPING DEEP & LASTING RELATIONSHIPS
GETT offers “direct access to the cities, communities, and concepts transforming the world of business,” the school boasts, and graduates of the program go on to careers in consulting, business development, and innovation management, among other lucrative (and enriching) occupations, each armed with a pair of master in management degrees from EDHEC and SKK and a diploma from Berkeley Haas’ Global Access Program.
GETT cohorts are on the younger side, with the latest reporting an average age of 22 and an age range of 21-24. It was 48% women and 52% men, with eight languages spoken; most — 66% — came from a business/management background, with the rest, like Hugo Charré, from engineering.
It’s a small group of students, with 50 or fewer in each class, Cailluet says. That inevitably means the development of strong personal connections.
Covid-19 only made those connections deeper.
“It’s a little bit like a small business,” Cailluet says. “I’m not the owner, but I’m the principal or the general manager. So I was very happy to be able to tell them at UC-Berkeley that I was very proud of them in front of their parents for some, and also to tell my colleagues to congratulate them because we had been through Covid. And that was not an easy journey. We had to learn a lot. We had to adapt a lot. And that has created bonds with that team of people.”
‘AN INNOVATION MINDSET’ INFUSED INTO THE PROGRAM
Hugo Charré, a French native from Saint-Cloud in the Paris metro area whose background is in software engineering, was thrilled to go to Korea as part of his GETT experience. Unfortunately he arrived there in January 2020, and had to leave when Covid exploded across the globe two months later.
Covid might have dampened the overall experience for some. It had a different effect on Charré.
“One thing that I learned in this program is that you should seize every opportunity,” he tells P&Q. “That’s something that I might not have been conditioned to because in the French educational system, you’re very used to being told what to do. There’s little room for creativity sometimes — everybody has a very predetermined trajectory. And I think that the fact that this program is so large in breadth and also very ambitious makes it very useful for people because you can basically do whatever you want, as long as you put in the effort to network with people to find opportunities to go beyond your comfort zone.”
The program pushed him out of his comfort zone, and made him unafraid to venture into unknown territory — “whether it’s physical, because we’re actually traveling, or whether it’s psychological, because you’re working maybe in fields you’ve never worked before, or you’re doing things that you might not have thought were possible before, basically extending your horizons.”
Now, after a brief visit to France, the newly credentialed Charré will return to California this summer to start a new job in the tech industry.
“GETT was really a really good experience because every single course had that kind of innovation mindset infused into it. So whether it was financial accounting or strategy courses or marketing, every single course had that kind of tech, innovation aspect to it,” he says. “It’s especially focused on this kind of halfway deal where you’re basically technical and business minded at the same time. And that will be an amazing asset to me in my career.”
See the next page for another recent graduate’s impressions of the GETT program