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Hi, I am Jean-Baptiste!

I come from le Puy-en-Velay in France, and I studied Mechanical engineering at INSA Lyon. During my Unitech year I did my exchange in Sweden at Chalmers University of Technology where I studied Marine design and management of technological innovation. I then did an Internship in R&D at Hilti in Liechtenstein where I worked on knowledge management, approvals, and testing problematics for the Direct Fastening Business Unit. 

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What attracted you to apply to the UNITECH programme?

I was looking for an opportunity to gain international aperture and challenge myself. I wanted to set strong bases for my career start and have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experiences to perform in challenging environments. I was also eager to discover new perspectives and see more of the world. I wanted to meet people that think and live differently. UNITECH provided all of that: whether it was the people from the cohort and corporate partners or the people you meet around, you always learn and experience something new.  

What did you enjoy most about your experience in the UNITECH programme, and how has the programme helped prepare you for the next steps in your career?

I really enjoyed how much the cohort played a role in my growth. During the year we were constantly exchanging ideas, people’s reflexions and perspectives were always mind opening, and it highlighted a lot of topics I never had thought about. Whether it was about the role of corporation in our societies, climate change, ethics or work life balance and life goals topics, the cohort always pushed me to reflect further and find my own answers to those problematics. They also challenged my vision of the world, and I could learn from theirs. For me this is the most valuable and enjoyable part of UNITECH. Especially while preparing your career start, those are questions you need to think about and that will help you decide what you really want to do. 

The other thing I liked during my UNITECH experience was that people are always happy to give you feedbacks and are supportive and proactive in taking initiatives and contributing to making the most out of this experience. I really enjoyed how, more than a network, you develop friendships. You really get to know the people around you, and this makes this program special.  Looking back on this UNITECH year I am amazed of how much I grew. I didn’t really realise it, but I was lacking confidence in my capacity to bring value to a company through my work. I was succeeding in studies, but it did not feel like it was enough to work as an engineer and solve the challenges that will come at me. After this year I am confident in my technical skills and the one I developed through UNITECH enable me to make the most out of my background. I see clearly what my contribution is and how my knowledge and skills apply to tackle the problems I will have to solve.

What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned in your career so far? 

One thing I learnt with UNITECH is that a network is not about leverage and people doing something in the hope of receiving something back, it is about doing things together. Building your network should be about finding people that will challenge and support your ideas and that will help you in the process of achieving them.

What are some of the biggest trends you see in your industry, and how are you preparing for them?

Digitalization and sustainability are still the main trends in the industry. I think this is something that our generation have been prepared for since we started our studies and that is now for most of us a standard. Sustainability must be part of our work and a concern point no matter our field or position. The underlying trend that I think is developing more and more is the one of the purposes and meaning of work. Our generation has strong values and graduates now accord more and more importance to the purpose of their work for society. This then needs to align with the company they work for. We can see industry leaders rethinking their strategy on a higher level than their business and rethinking what role should the company have in the society and what its impact on the world is. Sustainability is one side of this but also their culture and what impact the company has and how does it contribute to societies by its presence in different regions. This is I think a really important point to consider and companies that would fail to state a purpose might have challenges attracting engineers in an already competitive market, and in the long term fail to be competitive. The purpose question goes both ways, it also requires candidates to think about why they want to work and how they can contribute to that vision. Being able to answer “why are we doing this and does it make sense” is important and requires to always have the bigger picture in mind no matter your role. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?

I would advise anyone to stay as curious as possible and to keep looking for opportunities to learn. Most importantly I would do things by passion and because they interest me. It is important to plan and have goals, but no one will ever question something you did by passion or because you were interested and wanted to learn more. At the end of the day engineering is a very open field and combining it with UNITECH gives you the chance to explore any path and adapt to very different functions; take that chance and you’ll have time later to realise what your path was!

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