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Perfect Fit for HR Professional in Need of Top Business Skills



Laurent Gasse, admitted to ESSEC-Mannheim Executive MBA

by Brian Henry, PhD (Trinity College, Dublin)

With a PhD in Law, Laurent Gasse deliberated for a long time on the best way to develop his career as a Human Resources professional. He realized he needed essential business skills. Thanks to his extensive academic background—Laurent also has two Master’s degrees in Business Law and Human Resources—and the coaching he received at the MBA Center Paris, Laurent was accepted into the Executive MBA program of his dreams.



Could you start by telling us a little about yourself?

Currently, I am a project manager in the Human Resources department for the Apave Parisienne, one of the 5 companies that make up Apave Group in Paris, a leader in technical control and professional training, with 20 offices in France. I manage a small team of six employees, down from nine when I first started.

Why did you choose to do an MBA at this point in your career?

I feel that I am ready for a big change in my career. As an HR professional, I know the importance of having well defined short- and long-term career goals. And the ESSEC-Mannheim Executive MBA offers all that I need to reach them. My short-term goal is to play an active role in the upcoming mergers of the five companies that make up the Apave Group. My long-term goal is to join a large multinational organization and to become its Director of Human Resources. I would of course expect to start out as the Director of Human Resources for one of the organization’s subsidiaries before evolving towards the top position for the whole group.

Tell us more about your short-term goals.

In my previous job with French tobacco company Seita, I played a role in the merger between Seita and its Spanish rival Tabacalera, which gave rise to the fourth largest cigarette maker in the world and a leading cigar maker. The next logical step in my career path with Apave would be to repeat that experience, but playing a much bigger role in one of Apave’s upcoming mergers. I also think I would have an advantage in that Apave has few managers capable of taking on such responsibilities. By doing an Executive MBA, I will be able to hone my international skills and round out my professional experience.

What was the most difficult part of the MBA application process?

I think the most difficult part of the process was preparing for the essay questions. By background, I am trained like a lawyer, not a businessman. Fortunately, Dr. Hubert Silly from the MBA Center Paris has developed a revolutionary method to help candidates write their essays. In fact I now use his method at work. Hubert Silly, who has a PhD from Harvard, starts off with two important dimensions: structuring your thoughts and developing your logic. He also improved my interview skills. My interview at ESSEC was more difficult than I expected, but thanks to the MBA Center I did well. The two-part interview lasted 30 minutes, where English was spoken in the first part and French in the second. Trouble is I do not use English in my current job, and so answering questions from the Director of the ESSEC Executive MBA and two of his staff members was very stressful. But having studied Hubert Silly’s interview techniques, I sailed through all the questions they threw at me.

What advice do you have for MBA candidates?

My advice is to choose your executive MBA based on these three key assets: (a) faculty and staff, (b) location, and (c) alumni network. For me, ESSEC has all of these assets: wonderful teachers and staff, classes that are taught in four different locations – La Défense (Paris Business District), Brussels, Mannheim, and Singapore, and an incredible network of alumni. Go ESSEC!

Latest News Update
Laurent has just been hired by an international company as a Human Resources Director of the French subsidiary. The fact he’s a student at ESSEC in Executive MBA was a real advantage for his new company.


 

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