Ciro Caldaronello, EMBA ’17, knows a thing or two about propulsion.
In the literal sense, where he spent a sizeable chunk of his career as a Senior Program Manager at an aerospace engine company aptly named Europropulsion; and in the metaphorical, in the jolt he gave his career via an Executive MBA at HEC Paris.
Today, he is Industry Analyst at BNP Paribas, mainly covering the aerospace industry. In that role, he is at once a banker who, as he puts it, “speaks the same language as our clients”, and an engineer versed in the “standalone world” of the aerospace industry.
He uses his deep familiarity with the complex milieu of the latter to make his clients’ lives easier.
Becoming his clients’ interpreter for the technical snarl of an at-times insular aerospace industry was, predictably, not a straightforward task. It required perseverance, luck, and a little help from HEC Paris in the form of a career-altering spell in the Executive MBA program.
Ciro took time out of his busy schedule to tell us how he did it.
What motivated you to join the EMBA program?
I have a highly technical academic and professional background. I wanted to certify, with a diploma, the managerial competencies that I had acquired from my work, notably during my role as Program Manager. At the same time, I also needed to acquire new skills to boost my career prospects in a very competitive job market. Finally, given that my career up to that point had been entirely within the aerospace sector, I wanted to network, explore, and create opportunities outside of the sector.
How do you think the Career Department at HEC helps strengthen your knowledge and skillset within the industry?
My experience with the Career Department included Career Management (now known as Personal and Professional Development) Workshops like NextStep, Preparing for Tomorrow Today, etc.), which are small-group sessions focused on team reflections and introspective analysis. They were thought-provoking and honest, and they were very powerful and enriching experiences.
I also took advantage of some one-on-one coaching sessions. These sessions, which were either hourlong face-to-face sessions or phone calls, were very useful. They helped me to clarify and prioritize my needs. Since then, Career Department services have evolved considerably.
“…it goes without saying that discussions with HEC Alumni — either during HEC Alumni events or even just by contacting them by email/phone – were also very useful.”
Finally, it goes without saying that discussions with HEC Alumni — either during HEC Alumni events or even just by contacting them by email/phone – were also very useful. In fact, it was during a conversation following an HEC Alumni event that I discovered that my current position even existed as a concept.
Career Department services are very helpful for people in transition who are wondering “what next?”
What is the most important lesson you took from your time at the Executive MBA? Which specific skills that you learned during the program do you use in your job today?
I decided to undertake the journey to acquire new skills and competencies. I achieved this objective. But I did not realize at the beginning what I would learn from the other participants, though this should have been clear considering the diversity of people (countries, industry provenance, function and working experience) participating in the program.
I started to see beyond my usual horizons, discussing subjects affecting other industries and to see things from different perspectives.
I noticed a strong improvement in my critical thinking abilities. I discovered my curious side and allowed that curiosity to bring me to explore new themes. Critical thinking and the ability to anticipate business and strategic evolution are some of the main skills that I mainly use today in my job. Also, the evaluation of company business performance and the assessment of industrial strategic plans are other skills that I use today.
And, of course, you cannot overstate the value of the HEC Paris network. The network is invaluable. Still today, I try to always be in touch with people from my cohort — before covid, we tried to meet regularly.
The cohort has people that come from different sectors and cultures; it was very important to know that culture can impact your relationship, delivery, and attitude. I was pretty young compared to the rest of my cohort (33) and just being there among them, and learning from everyone who had as much experience as they did was such an enriching opportunity.
Everyone has different and useful ways to deal with challenges. Their experience — and sharing it — was invaluable.
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.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your EMBA journey, introduce yourself here.