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Capgemini Consultant: Giving Golf Lessons Helped Me Learn Important Soft Skills



Sébastien Rozanes, admitted to Wharton

by Brian Henry, PhD (Trinity College, Dublin)

Having earned a Masters degree in Information Systems and Technology Management from HEC Paris, Sébastien Rozanes realized that he needed an international business qualification to pursue his entrepreneurial goals. The amateur golfing instructor applied to a top school in the USA and now looks forward to obtaining a solid management education.



What is your professional background? What skills have you developed that will help you succeed in your MBA?

Three years ago, I joined Capgemini Consulting to be part of one of the most dynamic and innovative consulting firms in Paris. The firm offered me a template for leadership and a platform to exercise competence in management and organization. This international experience has been an excellent environment to master the fundamentals of management consulting: strategic thinking, client-oriented behavior, and value-driven mindset. Furthermore, Capgemini offered me the opportunity to start teaching case-based classes five days a year at HEC Paris. In fact, as an alumnus of HEC, I am glad to give classes to students enrolled in HEC’s specialized Masters degree program.

Why did you decide to apply for an MBA Program now? How do you expect the MBA to help your career?

Clearly, an MBA opens up new perspectives. I know that my long-lasting goal is to create my own company, just like my parents, my grandparents, and most of my family did. Today, I lack corporate finance skills to manage my own company successfully. An MBA is a safe environment where I can take more risks and engage in business plan competitions, consulting for entrepreneurs, internships in the private equity and investment banking sector. Furthermore, by going to the USA, I will gain international exposure, and I am convinced that global thinking is becoming a major requirement for business ventures in the coming decades. My immediate post-MBA objective is to enter a private equity or venture capital firm. As an associate, I would lead in-depth analysis on the deals, trends, business plans, and people driving promising industries and entrepreneurial ventures. After three to five years in private equity, I would have the business and financial knowledge to reach my ultimate goal: successfully launching my own company.

Why did you have a preference for MBA programs in the USA over those in Europe?

My wish has always been to work in the USA. Therefore, the choice of a North American school was clear from the very beginning. I did not even look at European business schools. The choice of business school is essentially a matter of post-MBA career goals.

Will any of your outside interests contribute to your MBA experience?

In some ways, they certainly will. For example, I used to give golfing lessons to young people at my local golf club on weekends for four years. Like Jack Welch, I improved my game playing in amateur golf competitions, but I learned even more from teaching the spirit and the techniques of golf to others. I became aware that the way you teach, the way you communicate and the way you give to others is a two-way learning process. So from a personal perspective, I am looking forward to a strong group-learning experience and an intellectual challenge with a talented and motivated MBA student body. Having the best people around will undoubtedly be a unique opportunity for me, and I hope to give as much as I receive. I expect that within a few weeks of joining the Wharton community, I will undergo a transformational experience that will go beyond my mid-term goals and even last a lifetime.

What was the most difficult part of the application process?

The MBA application process is a long-lasting adventure. I started thinking about an MBA two years before actually sending in my application. I think that a key success factor is to take the necessary time to get well prepared for the numerous tasks that have to be handled. But, undoubtedly, the most difficult part was the essay writing.

How did you approach the essay questions?

First, I took into consideration that each business school has its own expectations, its own values, and therefore its own essay questions. Likewise, each candidate has his or her own achievements and stories to tell. Hence, it is a difficult and time-consuming process to market yourself effectively to your target schools. As for myself, I tried to get in touch with current students, alumni and admissions officers to discover the inherent culture of each school. I also tried to differentiate myself from other candidates with academic and professional backgrounds similar to mine. I discovered that many of the other French candidates who were applying to the same schools had degrees from the same grande école system. But admissions officers are rarely French. And to them, grande école candidates pretty much all look alike on paper. So I tried to be as much myself as I could. For example, I did not hesitate to explain the mistakes that I had committed in my professional career and how I had learned from them. To me, failures are as much a part of the learning process as successes are, and there is no error to be ashamed of, provided that you have learned from it.

What advice do you have for other MBA applicants?

First, be organized. Applying to MBAs is tough and time consuming. Start with your GMAT. Your score will enable you to segment the schools to which you can reasonably apply. Then, select the right programs that fit your needs and your career goals. Do not be shy. You must meet with as many people from your target schools as you can. Then, know what you want to achieve. Since the best schools are selective, you must take the necessary time to complete the application and meet with your recommenders to explain what you want and why you want them to write those long, but insightful recommendation letters.


 

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