Global Logistics and Supply Chain - Global indeed!

By Reita Hutagalung, Global MBA student 2012-2013, Indonesia

Being a person with a Finance background, I found logistics and supply chainto be completely different ball game. Having had an Operations Class in Term 2, I found it was mind opening to see how the supply chain strategies could highly impact a company’s financials. Moreover, this Global Logistics and Supply Chain course was taught by a visiting professor from University of Tennessee, Prof. Matthew Myers. So I made up my mind and chose this elective, with a target to gain a holistic view of running a business.

Now, I have never thought that a singer could have an impact on a company’s strategy. However, I found out that there is such thing as the "Madonna Effect" in supply chain. This is a strategy related to product categorization or coding when a company is engaged in export or import transactions. The key is to understand your trade law and trade organization laws; and seek the benefits that your company can obtain from the law. Again, as my previous experience was from finance industry, this is new information that is enriching. Another thing that was interesting for me was the Beer Simulation Game. This simulation showed how in reality the bullwhip effect could take place, and therefore, the importance of information and data at point of sales to avoid too much inventory at stock companies along the supply chain. We also did an activity to see and get information of supply in retail stores and the effect of 'out of stock:' going to supermarkets or hypermarkets to look for several specific items. This activity was quite funny when at debriefing time we shared information: some teams could get answers from the employees while others were looked at suspiciously.

As the electives term takes the form of one week courses, this course was done after one week. It was great to have Prof. Myers here at ESSEC, who made learning supply chain to be fun, and we know there is still much to be learned that could not be done in a week. Well, the week did not go in vain; those catchy terms and main points are in our heads for good!

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Corporate Finance Journey

By Reita Hutagalung, Global MBA student 2012-2013, Indonesia

It was the week when the rest of France actually had two days off (Fete de la Victoire and Ascension Day) but the brave and spirited Global MBA squadron continued the journey. Those of us taking the Corporate Finance elective came to ESSEC's campus to conquer Corporate Finance taught by Professor Sridhar Arcot. It was quite strange to see the campus so quiet-- it felt like we were free to do anything. The canteen unfortunately was closed as well due to the public holiday, but not to worry; Cezam, the kebab place across from ESSEC stayed open.

When you think of Corporate Finance, many hard things may come into mind. However, Prof. Arcot changed all presumptions. He made Corporate Finance fun for us, though still challenging. In between Miller Modigliani, agency cost, valuations of discounted cash flow, and costs of debt vs. equities, we enjoyed trying to look at matters from the manager’s and shareholders’ point of view and debating the relevant impacts. A very interesting case that we worked on was Iridium; the way the company failed to took off was our debate related to Project Management Financing. Despite the advanced vision and technology that the company tried to achieve, the Iridium case showed how overly optimistic projections and choosing the wrong financing method led to a disastrous bankruptcy filing. Project management financing is intended for long lead projects, high levered, but certain demand at the end of the project, which usually leads to industrial customers.

Well, having done the finance lessons, we didn’t part ways as usual. We headed to Le Colombia, a cafe between ESSEC's campus and the Cergy Préfecture. After an intensive week full of corporate finance, we enjoyed France's spring weather in the good company of friends. Thanks Prof. Arcot, for an enriching yet fun finance week!

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A Week in Mannheim

By Reita Hutagalung, Global MBA student 2013-2013, Indonesia

We had exchange students in terms 1 and 2 from our partner school, Mannheim Business School. Now finally, we also had the chance to do a very short term exchange to Mannheim in end of April! There were two class options for us to choose from: Strategic Leadership and International Marketing.  Following advice from our previous exchange friends, I chose Strategic Leadership, taught by Prof. Andrew Kakabadse co-lectured by Prof. Nada Kakabadse and Mr. Andy Logan.

The Strategic Leadership Course was opened by Prof. Andrew Kakabadse with interesting questions in leadership related to challenges due to clash of political interests and ambiguous moral calls. He meant the course to be an opportunity for people taking the course to experience a journey of personal development of  his or her leadership. After half an hour of introduction, we were set off to work on the case. The cases we discussed in the whole week were challenging. We talked about leadership failures  from several companies at times of expansion, merge and acquisitions and entering international markets. One of the failures that happened was due to the lack of engagement of people. The strategy was in place, the alignment was set, however there was no engagement due to lack of faith and weak leadership. This important point led to the  notion that leadership is how to make a strategy that could combine alignment and engagement in such a way that you get your people to have a sense ownership. Another interesting point that I took away is  the need for the ability to model context and work through agendas. This characteristic is even more important than hard skill capabilities. Someone with the ability to see what the real problem in a tangled situation and know how to work through it to get the desired target is the likely person to move forward to a senior position. Having known those points, the course was continued with MBTI session to see one’s strength and weaknesses and his/ her tendency to react in several situations. Having had an MBTI session previously, I thought this part would be quite boring. In fact, it was enriching as the MBTI result was connected with the leadership characteristics and areas to improve where the professor spent private time with each team to discuss the results in details. That session was very practical and therefore helpful.

On top of the interesting course, the city of Mannheim was very beautiful and tidy. It’s structured in numbered and lettered blocks in the city center therefore it was very easy to go around. As a student city, Mannheim also has many shops and entertainment that students may seek. I also enjoyed the advantage of having more friends from Mannheim MBA students. The students were very diverse as they came from 24 nationalities and therefore it was interesting to see the dynamics of the group. All in all, the week went so fast we felt there were many things left unexplored with our new friends. But it’s ok, now we’re waiting for them to visit us again – this time, it’s fun purposes only =)

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Where are they now: an interview with alumnus Uday Broca

Broca-UdayUday returned to India following his Global MBA, where he accepted a position in the executive search industry working across Asia. Read the interview below to learn more about his career path, and get some insight into what he thinks is helpful for current or future MBAs to keep in mind!

Could you briefly describe your current role and responsibilities?

I work as a Principal in the Automotive and Industrial practice with Hunt Partners, a premier retained executive search firm across Asia. We conduct leadership searches at the CxO / Board level. My primary responsibility is to take ownership of a search mandate from the time the firm wins the business. I work with the Partners, subject matter experts and research teams in defining a search strategy which includes a target list of companies, must haves for candidates, level of seniority and compensation range. Once this is done, I engage with prospective candidates in both selling and explaining the role as well as assessing their candidature. Through multiple rounds of assessment, I dig deeper into a candidates fitment for a role including their key result areas, significant achievements, reporting structure, job changes and personal motivations.  A final shortlist is then shared with the client, following which multiple rounds of interviews, compensation negotiations and logistical issues are dealt with. I have revenue, business development, search closure and practice building targets on a yearly basis.

Was there anything in particular about the Global MBA that helped prepare or qualify you for this position?

One of the main things that the Global MBA has helped prepare me for this job is giving me knowledge across a wide range of topics. This has helped me look at business from a holistic perspective, which is very important especially since I talk to senior business leaders on a daily basis. Another important learning has been the ability to quickly learn about something new, whether an industry or a function in a limited time frame. The numerous case studies done during the Global MBA has definitely prepared me for this. Some important set of personal learning would be time management, multi-tasking and dealing with ambiguity which is a daily occurrence in my job. Finally, the cross-cultural know how and experiences has greatly helped as well. I am currently running searches in North America, Europe, India and South East Asia and my interactions with these regions during the MBA has greatly helped me succeed in these diverse searches.

What advice would you give to current our future MBA students who are beginning their job search?

One of the key things that I'd like to share with current or future students regarding the job search is to really understand what makes one tick. It is essential to really understand yourself both on a professional and personal front. You need to know your strengths, weaknesses, what makes you happy, what do you really not like doing. Another important facet is being realistic and setting the right expectation. I mean its all well and good that everyone wants to become a strategy consultant at Mckinsey, but you need to figure out if that is really what you want and are you really the best man for the job. Which brings me to the next point, you need to figure out what differentiates you from the countless other MBAs from premier institutes and once you've figure that out, how do you combine all the above in telling your story to a prospective employer. Apart from this, use the time to take all the advice in the world from other students, professors, career services, ex bosses, family, everyone possible! Network, network and network, use the Alumni database as much as you can, afterall you've paid a lot of money to be a part of it. 

Where are they now: an interview with alumnus Julian Arnaud

[caption id="attachment_763" align="alignleft" width="300"]Julian with his International Immersion Project team in Cairo, Egypt Julian with his International Immersion Project team in Cairo, Egypt[/caption]

Following his Global MBA, Julian moved into a career in his dream field: the video game industry. Transitioning from working internationally to working in France and changing both sectors and functions made Julian's job search complex, but having a clear vision of what he wanted, taking full advantage of networking opportunities, and keeping an open mind helped him land exactly where he wanted to be. Read on for Julian's story, and to get his advice for current MBA students or job seekers.

Can you briefly describe your current role and responsibilities?

I'm now working for Gameloft as HQ Producer. My role is mainly to lead the development of mobile video games from pitch to release (along with content updates), to ensure deadline, budget and quality, to remotely manage development teams in our foreign studios and to synchronize with the other teams working on the project (QA, SD & VFX, writers, legal, marketing, PR, top management).

Was there anything in particular about the Global MBA that helped prepare or qualify you for this position?

The Video Games industry is particularly difficult to enter at the mid/senior level if you have no former professional experience in it - no matter how high your motivation or knowledge of this sector is. The reason why I decided to do an MBA was precisely to operate a career switch. During the GMBA, I had courses that helped me better structure my thoughts and better understand international companies and their subjacent specificities, such as Prof. VANWIJK’s Strategic Management. The mentoring program led by Prof. Aarti RAMASWAMI also offered me the opportunity to meet key persons in the video games industry among the impressive ESSEC alumni community.

What advice would you give to current our future MBA students who are beginning their job search?

Keep an open mind and don’t think you are so special: competition on the field is F-I-E-R-C-E and, once in the recruitment process, do not put too much weight on your wage. Certainly important, salary should not be your main focus if you plan to be a happily balanced leader/manager. Once your dream companies’ list is ready, expect to make concessions if you really want to join one of these companies.

Network as much as possible: there are so many ESSEC alumni willing to help you, starting with Aline RUTILY who will joyfully share her address book with you. Attend as many events as possible. At some point, it will have a positive impact on your career. Steve Jobs perfectly epitomized this idea saying that “you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future”. He was right !