I've just graduated. What now?
Can you tell us about your education background and your training at KEDGE? Which track did you follow at KEDGE?
I have a rather unusual education path because I started with a DUT in Mechanical Engineering, then spent a year in Scotland getting my specialisation. It wasn’t until after I got a university degree in international business that that I attended Kedge Toulon (formerly ESCT), entering directly into my second year. After graduating in 2001, I did a post-graduate degree in Aix en Provence specialising international trade.
In terms of working internationally, I first did an internship in Spain, then an internship in Toronto with KEDGE, and finally I did an exchange in Jordan as part of my post-graduate specialisation. After that, I came to Brazil, which has been almost ten years now. I started off doing a VIE at PSA, with Citroën to be exact.
🎬 Fast & Curious - Jérémie Martinez
🎬 Fast & Curious 🎬 Vous retrouverez pour chacun des Alumni interviewé une vidéo Fast & Curious afin d'en découvrir davantage sur leurs parcours et leurs nouvelles vies en Amérique latine. Et aujourd'hui on commence avec Jérémie Martinez, notre responsable de l'antenne KEDGE Alumni de Sao Paulo au Brésil 🇧🇷. Enjoy it 👏 Retrouvez son interview écrite dans le Post juste en dessous ⬇️Publiée par KAS - Kedge Alumni Success sur Lundi 15 avril 2019
Why did you decide to live in Sao Paulo? Was it because you wanted to come, or did you just take advantage of an opportunity that came up?
I was interning at Peugeot in France and I wanted to continue with that group. In 2002, human resources offered me two VIEs, one in Denmark and one in Brazil. Obviously, I chose the one with the most pleasant climate (laughs).
I came here to work in CRM strategy. It was a very rewarding experience because I was in direct contact with other expatriates as well with as local people. You have to adapt, but it opens your mind a lot, and opens some doors too. I really enjoyed that experience, which ended in 2004. That made me want to return to Brazil five years later, in 2009.
What differences do you see in the way of working between Brazil and France?
Obviously, there are many differences, but the change is not brutal.
At first you don’t feel lost; Brazilians are quite welcoming and warm. But then you quickly become aware of the subtle differences, especially the relationship with time. "We are still on time here if we are a quarter of an hour late" (laughs). The notion of time is much more elastic than it is in France. Also, you can say there is a nuanced relationship in regards to the word "NO". People don’t necessarily accept the no and tend to give a "YES" that is a little dubious.
On the other hand, Brazilians are very creative and aren’t afraid of the workload. It’s quite common to stay at work until 8 pm. You must be prepared to do so. The work style and management style are also quite different but you must know how to adapt and try to plan as much as possible to counter the Brazilian’s lack of planning.
What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
When I was at Citroën in Brazil, I was Product Manager and Market Manager, which I really enjoyed. Later on, I wanted to completely change my lifestyle and set up a type of urban agriculture business, which I finally realised wouldn’t necessarily happen here. It would have required a lot of investment, and the return on investment would have taken longer than expected, so I put that aside.
For the immediate future I am looking for a job in marketing here in Sao Paulo, but I’m also looking in France. Nothing is fixed, and I think that after ten years in Brazil I may have reached the end of a cycle, and I am picturing returning to Europe. In 10 years? I see myself in Europe eventually.
🎬 KAS - ROAD TRIP - BRÉSIL 🇧🇷
➡️ KAS - ROAD TRIP - BRÉSIL ⬅️ Comme vous le savez maintenant tous, nous avons passé la frontière argentine il y a quelques jours ! C'est pourquoi nous vous avons concocté une petite vidéo retraçant notre voyage dans ce beau pays qu'est le Brésil. 🇧🇷 Bon visionnage à tous ! 🎬Publiée par KAS - Kedge Alumni Success sur Mercredi 17 avril 2019
🎬 KAS - ROAD TRIP - BRAZIL ➡️ KAS - ROAD TRIP - BRAZIL ⬅️ As you all know now, we crossed the Argentine border a few days ago! That's why we have put together a short video about our trip to the beautiful country that is Brazil. Enjoy! 🎬 Posted by KAS - Kedge Alumni Success on Wednesday, 17 April 2019
How did KEDGE help you attain your international goals?
KEDGE indirectly contributed to my career in Brazil by bringing me an open-mindedness about living abroad, including offering me the opportunity to take an internship in Toronto. Particularly since, at the time, I was one of the few to go abroad for an internship.
Did you have any concerns before leaving?
Yes. I was concerned about violence, which is one of the first topics that the Brazilians explained to me when I arrived. As cliché as it sounds, insecurity is unfortunately a sad reality in some places. And then I met Brazilians with a big "B": curious volunteers for humanity with their hearts on their sleeves. that's what made me come back and stay.
What advice can you give to a young KEDGE graduate who is reluctant to start a career in Latin America?
I encourage him or her to do it! Here it’s an organised mess. It may not be the right country for someone who likes everything in its place (laughs), but it's something to try. You have to be ready to get out of your comfort zone and lose the European organisational benchmarks you are used to. Other than that, the contact with people and working within company is really very interesting because there’s a different manner of approaching problems, which shapes your experiences and opens your mind. I’d advise cultivating the “people relationships” that are essential here. Human connection and your address book are important in Brazil.
Which sectors do you think are growing in this country? Are there positions for new graduates, for example?
What struck me a lot is that Brazilians like to eat in quantity, but they don’t necessarily pay attention to the quality. Since the price of products is an impediment, the quantity / price aspect will be one of the first things that consumers will look at, depending on the quality. The economic reality is that mentalities are difficult to change, but I think it is in the process of changing in a positive way and that the market for organics can surge.
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What have you found here that you wouldn’t find in France?
Many people ask me, "Why did you come to Brazil when we eat well in France, and Paris is very pretty" (laughs). I tell them that there are many things here in Brazil that we don’t necessarily have in France. There is a different type of human connection that has a real closeness and is what really won me over. Also, having the sense of novelty every day. In addition to the climate and way of life, it's really the taste of adventure and this human aspect that made me stay here. I want to have things to tell my little children! (Laughter)
What is your role as an Alumnus? You attended KEDGE and are part of our network in the world now.
I went to some meetings and afterworks with the previous team, and I found it very nice to meet and interact with people who had studied in the same place as me; we had a sort of communion in the culture. And then, when the opportunity came up, I decided to take up the torch as Head of the Alumni Branch here in Sao Paulo in order to cultivate this human aspect related to the network. That’s what motivated me and I appreciate the fact of being able to share and meet new people.
Interview conducted in Sao Paulo by the five Pro-act KEDGE Alumni Success students.
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