When Hemly Koffi took the carefully considered option to put her career on temporary hold after 3 years of professional experience to take the emlyon MSc in Supply Chain & Purchase Management, it was with a clear, long-term goal in mind. She recounts the intensive learning experience she enjoyed over the course of 18 months and the benefits she has reaped since.

What was your educational and working background before arriving at emlyon in 2021?

“In terms of studies, I came from the field of Engineering, Transport and Logistics, so in a sense my choice of MSc at emlyon was a natural progression from there. Work-wise, I had already carried out internships in procurement within a leading testing, inspection and certification company and in client relations and management for a major distribution company, both in my native Ivory Coast. Following those two initial placements, I then worked full time as an assistant trader, vendor manager and then category manager still in my native country. These were all very rewarding experiences, but I still needed that something extra for the next stage in my career.”

Why did you opt for emlyon and the MSc of your choice?

“The school caught my eye as I had homed in on France’s top five business schools. As regards the MSc itself, it was the logical next step vis-à-vis the career I had already embarked upon but what attracted me the most was the intensive nature of the curriculum. I was actively seeking a fairly short duration but totally immersive and international learning experience that would boost my career upon graduation. I was fully prepared to put work on temporary stand-by but wanted to take in as many skills and as much knowledge as possible in a relatively short space of time to then resume my career as soon as possible and better equipped. Basically, I felt I had a very good but partial view on the operational and strategic side of things but needed to top up my expertise in supply chain and purchasing management.”

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How would you qualify your time as an emlyon student?

“Firstly, the school and the programme more than lived up to their international tag, regarding the course content, the student cohort, and also some of the study trips we went on, which included Brussels, Rotterdam, and Casablanca. The workload was considerable and very much something I signed up for, and this was made easier with the many digital learning options and facilities available to us. In a nutshell, it was a very time-effective programme – you have to put the hard yards in and have to invest both personally and financially, but I can say with absolute confidence that the ‘ROI’ has been significant!”

What particular aspects of your current position did you acquire from the programme?

“Soft skills should never be underestimated, whatever your profession and line of work. I definitely progressed in this sense during my time at emlyon. I now work in an industry where the challenge is to keep costs down whilst maintaining or even improving revenues, a position which often calls upon your ability to deal with other people. Stock management is a big part of this role as well and one I certainly progressed in during the programme and have continued to do so since. Knowing how to identify the right levers for improved company performance is also critical to what I do now, and the MSc definitely helped prepare me for that reality of my current job. I also raised my game on the decision-making side of operations while studying at emlyon and that is something I need to apply on a pretty much daily basis since I resumed my career.”

Tell us more about your current position

“I have been working as a Demand and Supply Planner in France for IZIPIZI since August 2023. The company produces ready-to-wear glasses on the fashionable end of the market. The role comprises a considerable amount of sales forecasting, stock management, and supply planning. Needless to say, my 18 months at emlyon have stood me in very good stead for such a challenge.”

What advice would you give to prospective students considering a similar path to your own?

“As I said before, the return on the investment you’ll make in taking a programme like the MSc in Supply Chain & Purchasing Management is not to be overlooked. I went in not just looking to top up my existing skills but also to add to them. Better still, you’ll gain genuinely practical knowledge that you can then apply directly in the field. There’s also the careers support from the school, be it in the form of internships that can lead to full-time recruitment contracts, access to vacancies via an exclusive job board, and plenty of professional contacts along the way. Above all, I’d say that taking such a programme in a school of such repute makes you stand out from the ground. The ultimate career booster, if you like!”