The event - which this year was sponsored by Pascal Lamy (H.69), former Chief Executive Officer of OMC - has demonstrated the strength of connections between HEC Paris and its partner companies for over 30 years. Past students working for startups and large companies taking part in “Les Carrefours” came to testify to their close relationship with students from the business school.
"Les Carrefours" launch with a focus on entrepreneurship
The development of the ‘startup’ mentality is increasingly important for HEC Paris students from all program disciplines. In order to reflect this pervasive entrepreneurial dynamic on campus, the student societies “Carrefours HEC” and Start’HEC worked collaboratively to organize the “Carrefours” opening reception, which was devoted to entrepreneurship.
The event began with a round table of experts who spoke on the themes of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. For example, Axa and Unibail Rodamco’s innovation specialists, startups and incubators all participated in this particular element of the event. These exchanges enabled students to grasp issues related to digital transformation within large companies through real testimonials from the participants.
The event was then followed by a pitching session focusing on student-led projects which really captivated participants at the round table.
These are the 9 presentations that the audience could have attended:
- KINKO: Online solution Saas B2C that allows stakeholders in the collaborative economy to manage their advertisements on all of the dedicated platforms (publication and reception).
- Movin: Social network devoted to cinema, allowing users to find movies that match their preferences and to share their favorites.
- SPARTAN: Anti-radiation boxers that protect the health and fertility of its users.
- LittleBigBag: A fashionable bag made from recycled materials which allows its users to have free hands whilst shopping.
- Artlibe: The first digital platform connecting museums.
- Far’Ins: Solution which aims to revolutionize the nutrition of farmed fish by using insect powder.
- Profesor: Solution to find a former teacher in your network tailored to a very particular need.
- Orakeo: First online gallery specialized in Art & Design furniture created by artists (business from HEC Paris incubator).
- Gustave: Service dedicated to tourists which allows them, on the last day of their trip, to retrieve their suitcase directly at the airport without going to the hotel.
Startups take pride of place with Maia Metz (H.2014) from Blablacar
Startups are becoming more and more involved in “Carrefours”. This year, more than 50 were on display in an area devoted uniquely to new businesses, named the “Start-up corner”.
Maia Metz (H.2014), Product Manager of the well-known French car-sharing company Blablacar, reflects on the reasons why she was present at the “Carrefours” and testifies to the increase in entrepreneurial spirit amongst HEC students.
“With 25 million users and continued support, we have a substantial need for recruitment. We are looking for profiles in most of our job areas – (business development, marketing, communication, tech), and we are aware that by coming here today, we would have access to an immense talent pool which is important to detect right away”.
Maia Metz informed us that she had discovered her passion for entrepreneurship and startups during her MEP (Master Exchange Program, option for the Major in International Business) in the United States. She then decided to extend her American experience by completing her VIE (Volunteer for International Experience) in the French start-up Ifeelgoods, set up in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Drawing on this international experience, the young woman decided to exert her talents in France by joining Blablacar’s headquarters in Paris.
Today, Maia is delighted by the international reputation of French startups and mentioned how her classmates have started their own business “a number of my peers embarked upon an entrepreneurial adventure: Dimitri Farber Garcia with Tiller Systems, Morgane L’Hostis with Pop My Day, or even Alexandre Huckert with Planning de Garde. We are also remarking an increasing number of students who are interested in the Entrepreneurship major and the entrepreneurial track of the Digital Major”. She adds, “We notice that many new French companies are raising funds, and seeing French technology evolve in this way is exciting”. Of course, Blablacar plays a role in this awareness of French talents abroad, as Maia explains “This year, we were very proud to see our Head of Growth, Cyrielle Callot (H.2011), feature in Forbes’ famous 30under30 list! She conveys a great image of our brand abroad”.
LVMH, “high standards of perfection”: testimonials of Cécilia Turk (H.2011) and Filippo Fornasini (MSc. 2013)
Cécilia Turk, International Brand Manager (Christian Dior makeup) and Filippo Fornasini, Product Manager (LVMH Fragrance brands) both can confirm how proud they feel to represent LVMH at the “Carrefours”. For Filippo Fornasini, “it is very important for us to be here today to present our group and its career opportunities”. LVMH is a large company that brings together more than 70 firms. Students aren’t always familiar with our structure and we’re here to help them discover how all of the firms work, and why LVMH is a leader in luxury. I am also at this forum to inform students about the activities in LVMH cosmetics and fragrances which is the division I belong to”.
Cécilia “I view my recruiting role as a duty to information and to meeting talented people. We realize that more and more students are expressing their desire to create their own business as soon as they graduate from HEC – that’s something we value within our company. We do think, however, that it is important to go through a learning phase before diving into setting up a business. A large structure like ours does indeed provide a very solid education that is required before delving into entrepreneurship”. Filippo reflected on the close links between HEC Paris and LVMH, “HEC Paris students all share a very advanced sense of rigor and they possess important leadership skills. This is demonstrated by the presence of many alumni in the key functions of our group”. Cécilia added, “My manager is actually an HEC alumni. The school teaches the best management techniques which logically translates into careers with high levels of responsibility”.
According to Cécilia, HEC Paris and LVMH convey the same value of excellence “HEC Paris’ demand for excellence gave me the desire to seek perfection in my job. It is this demand that makes me want to come up with the best product with the very least merchandising and communication possible, all whilst respecting the brand’s history”. She concludes, “The ability to structure ideas, manage stress and work in international teams with those of varying backgrounds are all skills that I gained at HEC Paris, which are always useful to me in my career”.