The Executive MBA of emlyon trains leaders able to face society's rapid mutations and to support changes in their businesses. A Cross-testimonial.

“To transform your career track and give you the keys to manage and provide leadership in a constantly evolving environment”: this is what this Executive MBA is all about, a training program provided by emlyon business school in Lyon, Paris and Casablanca. As a Master's degree (RNCP's level 7), this 20-month program is meant for senior executives, business leaders or entrepreneurs wishing to provide their companies with a new vision and innovative solutions.

Nathalie Marical, Administrative and Finance Director at Eras Ingénierie (Groupe Engie Solutions France), and Fabien Fayard, Director General at Tecofi, took this executive education program in 2020 and 2021. They are going over this fulfilling experience both on a professional and on a human basis.

  • What were your respective careers prior to taking the Executive MBA of emlyon business school?

Nathalie Marical: After a business school, I started my career as a financial controller. I then turned to positions with more responsibilities, in an environment of SEM-Mid-tier firms specialized in industry services: from financial controller manager to administrative and finance manager, and eventually to the CFO position I have been holding since 2019. This is when I felt the need to take this executive education program and that my company agreed to finance it.

Fabien Fayard: My track is more atypical: after a Bachelor's degree in Literature, Language and Civilization to become an English teacher, I left for a year in Australia. When I came back, I started working in a water treatment company as a sales rep. Then 13 years ago, I was recruited as a sales assistant by Tecofi, a faucet manufacturer. I climbed the corporate ladder one by one: as office sales rep, itinerant, manager France, manager France-Europe, sales director. As my boss was getting closer to retiring, I told myself that if I wanted to be among the candidates to his succession, I had to take a training program.

  • Why opt for this program in particular?

F.F.: I turned to emlyon for proximity reasons, my company was located in the area and the program was taught at Ecully. But also, because this is a renown and prestigious school. Additionally, I had a good experience as a tutor for an apprentice student from emlyon. I thought that this was both an opportunity to acquire further knowledge on subjects relative to finance and supply chain, and one to improve my employability and increase my chances to obtain the position I was seeking.

N.M.: The EMBA corresponded to my expectations as it was complementary to my initial training, allowing me to get updated on all the business domains which have evolved: CSR, digital marketing, strategy...I wanted to find out about new tools, new methods. I also wanted to improve in management and leadership-oriented subjects. As I live in Lyon, I naturally knocked on emlyon's door. But this proximity aspect shouldn't take away from the international dimension of the school; we were lucky enough to be taught by professors from all over the world.

  • What did this training bring to you on a personal basis?

F.F: I rediscovered group work. In our jobs, the more competence and knowledge you acquire, the less we think, and wrongly so, that we do not need others, and the more me isolate ourselves. From lack of time and for efficiency's sake, we move forward, we get the work done, more often than not, on our own. The EMBA program gave us time to pause, to lift up our heads and work with others, organize brainstorming sessions. Today, I believe I am more open to listening and working hand-in-hand with my teams.

N.M.: Just like Fabien, I think this program allowed us to meet new people. It is interesting to exchange with peers from other activity sectors who are nonetheless faced with the same issues we are dealing with. This enables us to share potential solutions and bring on new perspectives. We had such a great sense of cohesion. emlyon was really keen on identifying the participants' needs. As a class delegate, I was able to see that the school was very much concerned with what participants thought. All the more so that the period of time was not easy, as two months into the program, we all went on lock-down. The school had to adapt rapidly and was able to maintain all courses remotely.

  • What about on a professional basis?

N.M.: The program reassured me in the sense that I was heading in the right direction. It also allowed me to put back into perspective certain issues related to team management or change support. I've learned how to deal with subjects differently and take a step back.

F.F.: Today, I can actually say that I know how to read a balance sheet! I had huge gaps in the finance area. Now, I pay more attention to the financial solidity of my clients; the program has opened doors for me, providing a knowledge base I was unable to acquire when first studying. Literature and PESTEL analyses usually don't match! We've learned how to build scenarios to anticipate uncertain times all companies are bound to be faced with. The Executive MBA helped me built self-confidence and pushed me to innovate, to try out new things, without being afraid to fail.

  • How is this program also an asset for your company?

F.F.: My end-of-studies memoir is designed as a road map for my company, one I have actually been unraveling since January 2022. It includes my vision of the company's positioning in 2030. In this memoir, I address seven great themes I have shared with the rest of the teams. The EMBA is a program I would gladly recommend today for one of my staff members should they felt the need to take it.

N.M.: As a member of the executive committee, and when relevant, I share with my fellow members, the teachings I received at emlyon. I have reminded them that we needed a vision, an ambition, a mission, it allowed us to redefine our strategy. I also duplicated the management and leadership exercises we had gone over during the program, with the members of the executive committee, but also with my team.

On a daily basis, I bring a different perspective, and I question myself and what I am doing more regularly. Exchanging with peers from other walks of life does allow to stay in touch with an external network, which is really interesting, both for the staff and the company. We bring a sense of renewal in the company's practices while such programs in turn, become real assets to retain and attract new staff members!

So go ahead and get your registration going for the next October 2022 intake!

By Maïté Helliopublié, April 26th,2022