Rugby enthusiast, emlyon alumnus Grégoire Potier has covered many sites on the world map along his educational and professional journey. From his native La Réunion to school life in New Zealand and then secondary, Bachelor's and Master's studies in France including time in Brazil, Morocco and Peru, his path has been far-reaching and the next stop is Australia, to start his career. These far-flung destinations are part of a carefully considered plan to forge an international career in logistics before joining the family business based in La Réunion, run by his father and brother.
What were the main benefits of your early years in La Réunion and New Zealand?
Grégoire: “New Zealand was very beneficial as I could feed my passion for rugby with a desire to learn and then quickly improve my English. It was a steep learning curve in a very different environment, including an all-boys school and the traditional uniform! The adaptation was hard, especially at the age of 13. But it was worth it! My native La Réunion remains close to my heart and one of the reasons I have an international career in logistics firmly in mind, the aim being to one day help develop the industry back home in the country of my birth”.
What was your motivation to combine travel and studies across continents?
Grégoire: “Every move has been driven by a desire to work abroad and combine studying with real life experiences that will inform my career. My time in Brazil (including roughing it in the Amazonian jungle) opened my eyes to a completely different country and culture, as did the voluntary service in Peru working with children in desperate need of some happiness in their life as well as education. Morocco too was an eye-opener. In each case, the experience was anything but touristy – it's only by total immersion that you get the best out of travel and living abroad. Moreover, these trips allowed me to meet unique people with whom I am still in contact today. It's always good to have a global network, as you never know what tomorrow may bring”.
What were the reasons for your choice of emlyon and the MSc in Supply Chain & Purchasing Management?
Grégoire: “The school's reputation and international renown spoke for themselves. Better still, it was one of the very few institutions offering an MSc that combined Supply Chain and Purchasing Management as complementary disciplines, rather than separating them. Thanks to this approach, you gain a better understanding and operational knowledge of the workings of an entire company, as both these areas are connected to all issues and responsibilities affecting business performance. Add into the mix teaching from actual practitioners from the industry, the fascinating experience of living and studying as part of a truly cosmopolitan cohort, with students from all over the world and a school and program that open doors to overseas opportunities, and it's a no-brainer for someone with an international and operational career plan in mind”.
Your next destination is Australia. How does this fit in with your professional project?
Grégoire: “My experience to date has seen me run my own business in the context of the 2020 lockdowns, when I set up an E-commerce store specialized in CBD oils for athletes with two associates. More recently I have been working in maritime transport purchasing, managing business activities in the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania for Bolloré Logistics as a Trade Lane Manager. My role included tender management, operational support to sales and carriers worldwide, and monitoring freight rate developments on market trends. The next logical stop for me is Sydney, Australia where I will carry outa year of Voluntary International Experience (VIE) with SIFA Logistics, a French freight forwarding company. I will work as a Sales Assistant for their maritime and air transport division. I see this as a logical move as it is very much in keeping with my overall career plan, plus it quenches my thirst for experiencing new cultures and countries. Without emlyon, I wouldn't necessarily have enjoyed as many opportunities so far to accomplish all of this, plus I will have the chance to benefit from the network of alumni present there”.
What advice would you give prospective students considering the same choice of school and MSc?
Grégoire: “If you are looking to work in a top company, this is the school and MSc for you. You'll acquire a deep understanding of the workings of a company in its entirety. You'll benefit from an excellent springboard for the start of your career, buoyed by a very good perception of the school from a corporate perspective. I would suggest you go to class every day with the mindset of learning something new from your teachers or colleagues, learn, talk, make friends, exchange your cultures etc. However, remember to show motivation and the desire to volunteer and learn from others. This will be very helpful in your future daily life, both personally and professionally speaking. By putting in all the necessary hard graft, you'll have every chance of being happy as well as successful”.