Stéphane Petitjean

Stéphane Petitjean

MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation, Class of 2007


Associate Director, Ethicity

  • Why did you choose the HEC Specialized Master in Sustainable Development?

When I decided to reorient my career, I was 35… so the criteria were motivated firstly by the educational level of Group HEC, both theoretical and practical, and its worldwide reputation. Another point was important for me: the full time program (vs. part time) to reach a deep, rooted knowledge. Last but not least, when I came to the “open days sessions” I discovered another element more emotional but so important to me: the spirit of the program. Indeed I met alumni, teachers, current students… and felt something really different: people full of humanity embedded with a vision of the future. Since then I knew it was for me “The” choice.

  • What are the most important things you gained from this master (from a personal or professional perspective)?

Of course the quality of the program, conferences and the high level of the business speakers… Above all, I was impressed by the posture of this program: reinvent business. Such a stake! Today, I still try to carry on that project in my day to day work. The human experience was equally very important to me. One full year to leave with 25 people who carry the same project let a very strong track on you.

Last and not least, the “Rethink experience” (initiative consisting of identifing and analysing innovative business models) was wonderful. The idea was to build a Sustainable Day in the campus. The whole Specialized Master student body participated to the event, in June 2007. This event has been an incredible experience to meet HEC management, administration, students, and build something lasting. Understand the hurdles, the levers to implement SD in a company… I was proud to hand over the Rethink initiative with the creation of a campus association dedicated to SD.

  • What does ‘sustainable development’ mean to you? How would you describe it?

Sustainability is a - necessary - transition notion. I deeply think it’s not a matter or a “job”. If we want to enter in a sustainable (business) world each department, each function in the company must integrate SD ambitious KPI.

Unfortunately that’s not the case today… So SD stakes need a special department, not only to bring knowledge (the more we go to more SD is really integrated) but to build a new mindset, a new way to do business and coordinate the SD integration in the whole company. For that we need strategy managers, who think “SD inside” and re-invent business. The challenge is exciting. That job is the best job in the world!

  • Courses, conferences, meetings, outings… What are the most significant memories of your time at HEC Paris?

Geopolitical courses, the Re-think initiative, etc. (See second question).

  • What advices would you give to students who aspire to subscribe to the MSc in Sustainable Development?

Desire, will and strategical insights. First of all, to fully and truly believe in this “mission”. I think SD needs to be carried on by people who don’t doubt at all. Where are talking about cultural and technical switch…

  • Could you describe your current job position? What are you supposed to do, what aims you have, what kind of issues you have to deal with?

I’m a manager in a SD consultancy, Ethicity. Our Aim is to integrate SD in the offer of the companies we work for. We tend to re-built 4 P… For that we mainly work on 3 pillars: build strategical roads with the comex; integrate SD in product/service with a technical (LCA) or disruptive approach (innovating process); dialogue with stakeholder. The main issue we deal with are: time track (short term vs. long term approach), the proof necessity (how to prove the SD insight will pay back), the assessment (on which criteria?), cultural switch… SD is not only a comex business but the 360° engagement of the company in each function, action…

  • Why did you choose this job?

Because of the diversity of the missions, of companies (based on different BM, culture…), sectors of activity. I love working one day in DIY segment for a new business plan and the day after in training the marketing team in the French BU of a chemistry. It’s a challenging work, made of discovering of co-working and wonderful meetings.
Was money the first condition of your choice?

Of course not. For me, money is a tool, not a end by itself. In life you need to make choice, mine is to wake up each day with wonderful projects to achieve. I was manager before the MS, if I’ve stayed in my former job I will earn more money today… That’s life. Moreover, I think you are better when you are convinced and aligned with your personal project. By so, money will come.

  • What advice would you give to students who aspire to work in the same area as yours?

Desire, will, strategical insights and work capacities. In summary, an ideal profile that you find at HEC MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation!