Becoming a professional in the field of Strategy & Consulting is challenging and rewarding in equal measure. Whilst the dedicated emlyon MSc Strategy and Consulting program creates the very best learning conditions in which to prepare for the reality of working in the field, nothing replaces actually doing so. Students and alumni of the program recount their first-hand, in-company experience of the profession.

Yifan Hua – the importance of “being strategic”

“I am currently on an internship in bioMérieux, for which the specific theme is microorganism water testing market exploration. Real life work is not like school assignments – this experience has required me to behave in a more corporate manner and made strategy more concrete in my mind”.

“My role has seen me collecting resources from the research and development team, marketing team, and customer service team in to identify what is best for the company. This involves juggling different people and perspectives, all with their own view of what is in the company’s best interests. To handle this, I need to *be strategic, meaning jumping out of a specific position and seeing the whole picture from a higher dimension. No mean feat and all part of the challenge and the reward”.*

Louis Larricart – learning through responsibility

“For my end-of-studies internship, I joined the Financial Services team of Inetum Consulting. Within this newly created set-up, I helped devise a new ESG offer for banks and contributed to designing training in Data Quality. Currently, my work vacillates between the client's mission and the firm's internal contributions (e.g., responding to calls for tender, supervising interns or helping deliver courses for business school and university students)”.

“The role I have played within the company has been enriching not just in terms of job content but also the responsibilities entrusted to me. I had to assist my client every step of the way in strategy, development and steering of a group-wide program of major importance to the banking regulator. In parallel, I also had the opportunity to train a junior consultant who had recently joined the team. The learning experience has been multi-faceted – the dynamics of the firm, the variety of profiles within the team, the sense of togetherness… Especially rewarding has been the close contact with management and the degree of responsibility I was given from the moment I arrived just as an intern – I learned quickly to assume responsibility by being given it!”

Wenwen Lin – the visionary problem-solver

“I am currently working in a Titanium and Zirconium ore development project in Mozambique, our company’s most important mining segment. My mission consists of formulating marketing strategy, at product, price, marketing channel and promotion levels. I am also responsible for building medium- to long-term development strategy, which involves forecasting future market trends, extending the industry chain, and designing the supporting cluster to obtain higher added value in a long term. To do so, I have to analyze all possible cooperation modes and report to the top decision-maker directly”.

“The challenges upfront are how to improve our systematic analysis of problem-solving market competitiveness when the market conditions are at a low ebb, and how to optimize our distribution channels to save direct cost and protect against potential political and financial risks in Africa. Previously, I might have been reactive to market changes and needs mostly based on experience. I am so glad that my theoretical and practical training in strategy has helped me make the transition into a strategic visionary manager with systematic analysis and problem-solving motivation”.

Yves Combe – working out of your comfort zone

“I have just completed my internship as a Project Manager within the Pulse Innovation department of EDF France, a division that the company created 1½ years ago. Innovation has been placed at the heart of the group’s strategy but the fact this branch is relatively new means you have to use all your powers of persuasion when trying to gather information and resources from other parts of the company”.

“I was tasked to work on three projects, one involving the Executive Committee, a second focusing on valuation indicators, and a third that was more HR-oriented. Benchmarking and analysis of wat is going on not only within the company but also in other major groups was necessary, meaning I was performing a cross-functional role. What’s more, I am not at all from an HR background, so the lattermost project was especially challenging in that I was working outside my comfort zone. In short, EDF is looking to better understand Innovation as it is currently practiced, up its value and importance within the company, and even incorporate it into future recruitment criteria. I was attributed an autonomous role from day one, working with colleagues on conceptualizing and strategizing. The fruits of our labor are due to be presented to Senior Management shortly, so I am understandably keen to hear the results!”