I've just graduated. What now?
A graduate of KEDGE’s MAI Continuing Education programme (MSc International Purchasing & Innovation Management), Cédric Pasquet tells us about his career, the training he received at KEDGE, and, in hindsight, what it allowed him to achieve. An inspiring journey resulting from getting a new perspective through additional training.
Hello Cédric. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Would you please tell us briefly what job you held before you took KEDGE's continuing education programme and what that position entailed?
Hello and thank you for contacting me. Before starting at KEDGE, I worked as a research and development engineer for Westlake Global Compounds. My job consisted of conducting R&D projects for automotive applications (car dashboards), supervising a team of technicians, and approving new raw materials in close collaboration with the Purchasing Department.
In 2019 you decided to go back to school and do the MAI programme at KEDGE Business School. What motivated you to take this decision? Did you feel that you needed to progress, deepen your knowledge, or did you want to specialise?
After 10 years of working in R&D, and because I worked in collaboration with purchasing departments, I decided to take my career in a new direction. I started taking continuing education courses at KEDGE at the same time as I moved to the Purchasing department of Westlake as a Category Manager. My employer supported me in this move by suggesting that I take a training course. With the approval of my superiors, I decided to do the MAI programme, which is widely recognised in the purchasing world. Also, as an engineer, I was attracted by the programme's focus on innovation and CSR subjects.
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What direct benefits do you feel you gained from completing the programme? Did it help you access new career opportunities (job advancement, new responsibilities, etc) in the short- or medium-term?
The curriculum is multi-disciplinary and provides students with the opportunity to tackle a variety of topics, whether it be financial analysis, the fundamentals of purchasing, law, project management, etc. What is taught in the MAI programme corresponds to the reality of the field, where buyers must acquire a comprehensive vision of the company and be in contact with various departments.
The training very quickly allows the student to see their company from a new perspective, by taking an interest in its finance and strategic objectives, for example. Despite taking place in the context of the Covid 19 pandemic, the classes gave us the chance to have fascinating discussions with seasoned buyers/purchasing managers. This sharing of professional experience is a real asset. Because of the programme, I was able to make my career change with confidence, and it gave me a certain amount of credibility when I first started.
How was the course conducted? What are the main experiences/memories that have left their mark on you? Looking back, would you do it again?
On the whole, the courses went well, even though no one expected them to take place in the context of a global pandemic. KEDGE adapted very quickly. The schedule makes it possible to continue working while attending one week of classes per month. I actually looked forward to that week to get away from my daily routine.
I have a very good memory of the group work. Purchasing is a collaborative function and requires interaction with different players, so this type of work was good training. I really appreciated the financial analysis courses, which provided an in-depth examination of the way a company is managed. Finally, I have a particular memory of one course, Live Case Study, which really took us out of our comfort zone!
The improvement of soft skills, such as negotiating and communication skills, are also covered by quality instructors.
I often refer back to my lessons to find solutions to a particular problem, so I would not hesitate to take this programme again.
The business world is increasingly changing, which requires a constant effort to acquire new knowledge and keep skills up to date. What type of profile would you advise taking KEDGE's continuing education programme? How does this type of training programme factor in personal and career development?
This programme is primarily aimed at those seeking to evolve in the purchasing field, whether they are experienced buyers or those who are changing careers. The important thing, in my opinion, is to view this training as a source of personal and intellectual enrichment, a professional challenge. The programme not only provides a toolbox for purchasing but also lets you step back and look at certain key issues, such as the role of innovation and digitalisation in purchasing.