PhD Student, Strategy and Business Policy
My name is Anicet Fangwa, I am 27 years old and I’m from Cameroon. I was born, grew up in and carried out the first part of my studies in Douala, the economic capital of my country. I arrived in France to do preparatory classes at the Sainte-Marie Institution in Antony, then to the Stanislas school in Paris. I am an engineer by training, graduating in Applied Mathematics from the Central Paris school. After having obtained my engineering title there in 2014, I decided to do a Specialised Master’s in business strategy at ESCP Europe. I then started my career in the advisory domain as a Business Analyst at L.E.K Consulting before realising that I had a desire to continue to learn about strategy and decision-making support.
What training have you completed at HEC Paris?
I am currently a Doctoral student in Strategy and Business Policy at HEC Paris. I began my Doctorate in 2016 under the teaching of Professor Bertrand Quelin. I will graduate in 2021 and my thesis addresses the question surrounding the definition of business performance based on criteria other than financial profitability. My objective is to demonstrate that governance can considerably contribute to social value creation in an institution, in a business or on a bigger scale, in a country or even the entire world. Currently, I work on the performance of a health centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I try to identify governance and management mechanisms that allow for the best possible impact on care efficiency and quality conducted in this type of establishment. Furthermore, I propose recommendations to funders such as the World Bank in order to design financial programs where each dollar is used in the best way to generate the best possible quality of healthcare. I realised that, nowadays, there is very little research into strategy on the subject of health in Africa in particular, and for me, this subject is a way to contribute to the development of the continent.
Why did you choose HEC Paris?
After having had a path orientated towards specific sciences, mathematics in particular, I wished to open myself up to social sciences. First of all, I decided to follow my studies at HEC Paris because it is a brand with an excellent reputation. The value of the diploma is due to the high quality teaching with a large range of accessible subjects. The professors are experts in their respective areas and are available to support us in our research projects.
What has your time in a French school brought you?
HEC Paris brought me 3 things. Open-mindedness : I met students, managers, and entrepreneurs from all four corners of the world which challenged my vision of business. For example, leading figures such as Emmanuel Faber, an HEC alumnus, have greatly influenced me in terms of the choice of my research topic. I am also in contact with distinguished professors who have lots of experience and who have proven that a good idea can be developed and distributed to the business world and can create financial and social value. A dense and efficient network : today, I am in Boston (United States) and the solidarity between the alumni is strong which has allowed me to integrate better in the city. Credibility : HEC Paris offers me strong credibility. The school is known internationally and makes a pledge of quality. I have a lot more legitimacy and I am taken seriously when I talk about my training. It’s a useful practical side.
What did you think of the news of HEC Paris opening an office on the continent? What are your hopes/expectations?
I have already seen considerable efforts from HEC Paris to give more significance to African themes with the series of conferences Africadays, on the HEC Paris campus. I have also been impressed by the strong involvement of certain African governments, such as Ivory Coast, which has sent a delegation. I have also heard about Cap 2020, the training of Ivorian public service managers in the domain of administration and management ; an initiative which will allow them to better manage their institutions to contribute to the development of the country. Therefore, the opening of the HEC Paris office in Abidjan naturally helps the continuation of this strategy. It is very good news because in francophone Africa, more than anywhere else on the rest of the continent, we suffer from a shortage of teaching institutions with high international visibility like that of HEC Paris for subjects such as business strategy and social sciences. Nevertheless, it is important that this Western and Central Africa HEC Paris representative office values specific African cultures, notably in case studies and professor examples. The theory must be accompanied by practice, taking into account local matters. For example, in South Africa, the emergence of the ‘Ubuntu’ philosophy brings an uncommon view to the methods of promoting social capitalism and the utilisation of an organisation’s resources. Also, the organisation and performance of Panzi hospital in South Kivu, which in the context of instability, knew how to develop a business performance model and an efficient process to take care of female victims of sexual violence. The office would benefit from highlighting such cases.
« 90% of HEC Paris MBA students change sector or hierarchy position after their time at the school. A quality teaching is a real springboard to a career. »
What advice would you give to a professional who desires to come back to the classroom?
I think that the leadership of a person depends on their ability to stay open and to continue to learn every day. Coming back to the classroom allows you to be exposed to new problems, methods and subjects which are always interesting. To professionals, I would say that you should go when you have the impression you are no longer learning within a business or when the tasks become routine where nothing is new. This is the ideal moment to go back and learn and acquire skills to open new horizons. I see it with the MBA students with whom I interact with, that 90% of HEC Paris MBA students change sector or hierarchy position after their time at the school. A quality teaching is a real springboard to a career. And it’s never too late to learn.