EMLYON MBA alumni Claire: from Finance Consultancy to International Business Development
Claire Blackburn, International MBA alumni class of 2013/2014 shares how her choice of MBA specialisations allowed her make a successful career change from working as a Finance Consultant for Ernst & Young in the UK to becoming the International Business Developer for an internet start-up in France.
Participants of the International MBA degree programme have the opportunity to specialise their knowledge with a series of programme gateways, including Finance, Marketing, Strategy, New Ventures, MNE’s, Life Sciences and Luxury Business. We caught up with Claire to see how her choice of gateways helped prepare her for her current position, as well as the highlight of her MBA programme experience…
Claire, which MBA specialisations and electives did you select during your International MBA?
- Implementing International Strategies
- International Marketing
- Marketing of Innovation
- Country Manager
- Global Health Markets
- Global Luxury Brand Management
- Luxury Seminars
How did your choice of MBA specialisation courses help you in your career?
One that really stands out as having been useful for me was the Country Manager gateway. This course is essentially a business game. We used market data to conduct a country analysis allowing us to decide which countries to enter and when. Thereafter it was a question of the marketing mix (product, price, place and promotion). We tried various combinations and were well rewarded, winning the game, which always makes it a more satisfying learning experience!
All of these aspects have come in useful for my current job. A case in point: in my current role, as an MBA alumni I applied the country analysis theory from this gateway to the different factors important to our business (reputation of companies, brands and business leaders on Google). The result of this exercise helped me reach a much more calculated decision of countries to enter.
Aside from finding the Country Manager gateway useful, I really enjoyed the luxury seminars. Whilst I was not seeking to work in the luxury industry, the seminars provided great business insights and an opportunity to interact with two very successful outside speakers. We met people who are very passionate about their industries, their brands and the roles they play.
What is your current role after graduating from the International MBA programme?
I am now the International Business Developer for an internet start-up in Lyon called Reputation VIP. The company has developed an exclusive technology that lets clients choose the content that appears on the first page of Google when Internet users search for their company or brands. The company has been active for 3 years in France and, given the success at home, now wants to develop abroad.
Integrating a (profitable!) start-up has given me the opportunity to develop the international strategy, make the choice of countries to enter and when, as well as gain “in the field” experience of building a business abroad. As the months progress I will be working towards opening an office in the UK and I look forward to the additional challenges that will present.
How did the International MBA help prepare you for this position?
There were certain subjects that helped prepare me for this role but the International MBA degree also helped me understand how to present myself. This was principally achieved through sessions with my coach and using the EMLYON network to better understand post-MBA possibilities.
I was previously a Finance Consultant for one of the Big 4 and therefore took a large step sideways as an MBA alumni. However, several months into the MBA program, my 6 years of experience no longer seemed to be an obstacle to finding a new job in France. The more I talked to people, the better I became at presenting myself and my ambitions.
What was your main highlight of the EMLYON International MBA for me?
I don’t want to say the cliché of “the people” but it’s true. I have made friends for life within the MBA alumni. Although we no longer talk every day, there is a bond between us. I am delighted when someone succeeds with their start-up or in their new position and look forward to reunions all around the world!
Why choose the International MBA from EMLYON?
As well as the MBA specialisations to tailor your learning experience, the International Masters in Business Administration from EMLYON features the following unique advantages:
- A focus on entrepreneurship, with the International MBA voted #10 MBA worldwide for entrepreneurship by the Financial Times in 2014
- Entrepreneurial Leadership Project; a 9 month consulting project to apply your theoretical learnings to a real business project
- European learning trips to understand different business models as well as numerous international exchange opportunities
- Gain the advantage of studying with a small but highly diverse cohort
- A clear Career focus through continuous MBA Career Services
- Gain lifelong membership to EMLYON Forever MBA alumni network in 107 countries