“It was always my dream to do HEC Paris, ever since I was 16,” says Marie Skinner, Academic Class Delegate for the Executive MBA participants of EM2021.
“I never actually thought they would accept me,” she laughs.
For Marie, the long and winding road that led right to HEC’s doors has been as circuitous geographically as it has been professionally.
“My father was in the military, so I spent my childhood everywhere around the world. Places like Africa and New Caledonia, never staying anywhere for longer than 2 or 3 years. I lived like that until I was 20,” she recalls. At 20, she settled down in Alsace, her adopted home, where she’s been ever since.
Pivoting to Success
After starting her professional career as a freelance translator, Marie pivoted. Starting as a recruiter in an engineering consulting firm set the tone for the path to come.
“I knew nothing about this industry, but my former company gave me the opportunity to evolve. Within three years, I was lucky enough to grow from a recruiter to a business manager and department manager. There, I developed from scratch a multimillion Swiss Franc profit-center with a portfolio of clients, mainly in the pharmaceutical industry,” she relates.
Marie has a gift for supercharging profit margins in engineering consultancies. In January 2019, she took the helm of both the Life Sciences business unit and led talent acquisition efforts at B-Hive, a Mulhouse-based engineering consultancy.
“I’ve been in the field of recruitment and business development, leading teams for a long time now and maybe I could do that in other areas or access higher positions, so that’s why I started this EMBA back in January.”
One might wonder how Marie, whose participation in the of Shape the Future of Energy specialization will take her to Doha and Berlin next year, manages to juggle everything so successfully.
“It’s definitely the cohort and my classmates. We’re a good team, and a good cohort. We developed strong links and strong friendships within the cohort, and I think COVID brought us closer together during this bizarre period with lots of uncertainty.”
A Global Cohort
That Marie marvels at the quality of the relationships in her cohort – and the value their myriad professional histories bring to the learning experience – is par for the course in the Executive MBA. Given her stated interest in exploring new horizons post-program, it behooves her that her classmates come from such varied professional realms.
“We all have very different backgrounds,” she remarks. “L’Oréal, the defense industry, oil and gas — it adds to the experience.”
Part of the added benefit for someone like Marie, whose professional track record is littered with success after success, lies in the appeal of learning new things.
“During our last module back in September, we had a class called Business Performance Management. It all about cost calculations, among other things, which is something I had never done before. When I got back to work after classes, I was so intrigued by what I had learned that I calculated how much my Talent Acquisition team costs my company, and how much recruitment actually costs. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I didn’t have that class.”
Still, she isn’t in any rush to be done.
“I’m going to enjoy every day with the cohort, with the teacher, with the class – with everyone. I’m very excited about this whole journey.”
More CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies have graduated from HEC Paris than any other university in Europe, and nearly 4,000 graduates are currently CEOs, CFOs, or have founded their own companies. According to the Financial Times, the HEC Paris Executive MBA is ranked #1 in Europe and #3 in the world; click here to learn more about this world-class program.