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15 June 2023

Jean-Yves Mercier: “It’s Your Turn!”

Since 1993, over 1,300 graduates have gone on to launch their careers after completing the EMBA programme at Geneva University. Putting to one side our pride in having contributed to their success, what has become of them? Where are they now? And what can we learn from them?

Some, of course, have gone on to become reputed leaders, like Pierre-Alain Schnegg in the world of politics, Grégoire Penonne in finance, or Naiken Surennaidoo in the humanitarian sector. Other success stories have been published on our embanews website. Yanking opened the Swisscom office in Shanghai, helping to grow numerous start-ups. Mike became CFO for Hewlett-Packard Europe before setting up his own successful real estate business. Sabrina manages the private division of Geneva University Hospitals. Yassine manages operations for Africa and the Middle East at IATA.

What do their different stories tell us? First and foremost, that success is no longer just a question of social advancement but means different things to different people. The very meaning of management has changed. Jobs, services, and goals are changing all the time. When you have responsibility, you need three things: to give meaning, to work with meaning, and to have meaning. Giving meaning means showing leadership and presenting the path to follow. Working with meaning involves building on existing strong points to draw out the power of collective action. Having meaning means having one’s own common thread that forms the basis of our career plan. Some people use it to express their need for personal fulfilment or self-improvement, others to grow their level of responsibility, contribute to their environment, or gain recognition in their company. And within each of these categories, there are a host of possible goals. Meaning is above all a personal journey, and identifying and embracing it forms an integral part of our diploma which is designed as a progressive two-year trajectory.

Geneva University’s EMBA has played a fundamental role in our graduates’ careers. “The EMBA at Geneva University not only develops our business leadership skills, it also allows us to build and develop an excellent professional network” (Yanking Wyrsch). “My academic experience at the EMBA gave me a fantastic jump start to excel in my international role in a head office as well as in my career as a whole” (Mike Wolfson). “It was a springboard and a great source of motivation and self-confidence. I enjoyed the diversity of the public from different backgrounds and was able to learn from the many professional and personal experiences” (Sabrina Cavallero). “The EMBA at Geneva University was a life-changing experience. I’d always been a technical expert. Since my MBA, I have far more authority in my field. I know how to influence my players to exceed expectations and drive our activities across the whole company with total coherence. My MBA gave me the maturity I needed, and I’ve been able to achieve remarkable things on a professional level” (Yassine El Charkaoui).

What do their testimonials teach us? First and foremost, excellence! Our students are generally uncompromising when it comes to getting a job well done. But excellence goes further. It’s the capacity, once you’ve graduated, to be recognized for your talent and to be proud of it. Next comes impact through networking and working with others. Giving the best of yourself is one thing. Knowing how to do it with your professional entourage to tip the balance is quite another. Finally, a springboard. By gaining confidence in one’s own value, the EMBA pushes everyone to meet their full potential.

The top-flight academic content we offer is for excellence. The group work, such as the 6-month team dissertation, enables our students to mature step-by-step in their capacity to collaborate and influence, in other words, to have an impact. Finally, modules such as Self-Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and Team Engagement give our future graduates the means to build their self-confidence, serving as a springboard to professional life. Our achievements are reflected in our alumni’s success stories.

Jean-Yves Mercier
Executive Director

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