One of the cornerstones of the emlyon MSc in Strategy & Consulting, the Field Missions project saw 50 students take part in 22 projects with a range of organizations, including CAC 40-listed companies, ETIs and consulting firms. This win-win initiative for all participants plunges students into the heart of strategic consulting whilst providing valuable input for companies undergoing periods of change. Better still, the students benefit from expert supervision from faculty members, providing significant food for thought regarding the essence of the consulting profession.

Are you a company undergoing a period of transformation and in need of some extra muscle to offer a fresh perspective on the strategy currently adopted in house? Or a student who wants to test their mettle before embarking on a career in strategic consulting? If so, the emlyon business school Field Missions project ticks all the boxes. Planned during the fall and then rolled out over four months in winter, this initiative places students at the very center of the workings of all participating companies, fully guided through the decision-making of each firm with a view to assessing the performance of consultants and their own ability to do the job in the near future. In short, learning on the job, before doing the job.

Corporate and educational gains
Given the widely acknowledged level of emlyon business school students and their ability to analyze, organize and innovate, the benefits are numerous for firms wishing to get involved. In addition, the mutually beneficial nature of the project is plain to see, as underlined by Delphine Chassagnac, Group Integration Officer within the Transformation Office at Accor: “This partnership was a great opportunity for us to support our project teams while bringing a refreshing eye on our day-to-day activities. This kind of experience is essential for Accor as it allows us to support schools by proposing immersion experiences to students, allowing them to trigger or deter vocations, and for us, to communicate on our activities to future talents”. In the partnership spirit of the project, the learning curve is steep and enrichingly so for the students, as witnessed by Zhonghui Yang via her collaboration with Accor: “My job was to assist the integration team on a Day 1 preparation to support the identification of critical items to be addressed before the first Day following an M&A Deal Closing. It was a very precious opportunity to be involved in such an important project as I was able to witness the complexity of the project and learn from practice”.

Tapping into young minds
The beauty of the learning process proposed by project lies in the insight participating firms can glean from students whilst the students, in turn, gain crucial insight into the profession. For Laëtitia Talbourdet, Sales Director at Omniscient, the opportunity to collaborate with emlyon came at exactly the right moment: “The field mission took place at the time when we were creating the Omniscient Business Direction. Integrating the students has leveraged our ability to gather key market information, analyze a wide range of studies, and define our business strategic roadmap in a short period of time. It's an experience we will renew without hesitation.” Using the students as sounding boards for new ideas is an asset echoed by another participating company, Vygon. Their Director Florent Amion has zero regrets about bringing young student talent on board: “Introducing emlyon interns into a change process is a smart choice. They are fully capable of provoking the reflections that lead to progressive assimilation by the team.”

An international project that makes a difference
Fully in line with the global mindset of the business school, the MSc in Strategy & Consulting program and the Field Missions project itself, some students had the dual benefit of an eye-opening business and international experience. Sebastián Santolalla is a case in point. His role within Vygon saw him working with people at the very top in a way that dovetailed perfectly with the courses delivered at the school, as he attests. “This project gave me the opportunity to have a real international experience, from Paris to Valencia, where I was able to learn first-hand how the education provided at emlyon could be put into practice and see how it generated a process of transformation towards a common benefit. I worked together with the director of the company to design a solution, and initiate its implementation, that would have an impact not only on the company, but also on society. It was an enriching experience which I will take with me in my professional life.'" Designed to put students' learning skills to the test, the Field Project casts them in a consultant supervisor role with a view to understanding all the strategic and operational complexities of a company. To the benefit of the company and the students alike.