MBA success stories: Romain Pauliac, NEOMA (France)

Romain Pauliac achieved an MBA from NEOMA Business School. Now he is the site manager for a French industrial Group. He cites three main areas of the MBA that taught him the most, and states that his MBA gave him the confidence to leave his comfort zone and embrace leadership roles.

Explain your current role
I am the site manager of a French industrial group that produces metal components mainly for aviation, space, and energy industries. The plant that I lead is specialised in the transformation of metal sheets and mechanical welding.

My role could be well described by four main missions:

– Continuously aligning each and every service of the company towards delivering the promise made to our customers.

– Managing the site’s P&L and cash flow to keep this adventure sustainable.

– Leading the plant in reinventing itself to raise its performance and conquer new challenges.

– Supporting people development at an individual and collective level.

When and where did you achieve your MBA? 
I graduated in July 2016 from Neoma Business School in France. 

What is the most interesting thing you learnt from your MBA?
The most interesting thing I learnt during the MBA came from the human experience I had at Neoma Business School, and it can be summarised in three parts:

  1. Take off your masks.

No matter your responsibility, your role, you are someone. There is no reason for not sharing the beauty of your genuine personality and your ideas. By taking off the many masks we’ve been building through life, we are able to be assertive, to align our actions with our values and to unleash our creativity. Don’t be afraid of showing your vulnerability, it will invite others to do the same, and open a more honest conversation. 

  1. Question the word ‘normal’ more frequently.

During the MBA, I shared an entire year with colleagues from 11 different nationalities and backgrounds. It was the most diverse group of people I have worked with. In such an environment, the word ‘normal’ was challenged daily. Nowadays, I realise that ‘normal’ is sometimes a dangerous shortcut. Go beyond ‘normal’, or any presumptions, to understand differences and open yourself to new ideas and perspectives.

  1. Embrace storming.

Referring to Tuckman’s team dynamic cycle, our MBA group frequently ‘stormed’, meaning getting into strong and tense discussions. What I first considered as a waste of time, turned out to be a valuable step towards a stronger group dynamic. I learnt that well-handled storming, with active listening and integrative skills, raised new ideas and created bonds.

How has the MBA made a difference to your career path and leadership journey?
The MBA gave me the confidence to leave my comfort zone and embrace a leadership role in a company in which I have no technical background.

My career path has taken a shift toward general management thanks to the general MBA classes: finance, marketing, strategy, operations etc. They provide me the knowledge to understand the interdependency between all the different departments of a business. I can now communicate with them and better connect the dots.

The human experience I lived at Neoma Business School boosted my leadership journey. This was through the soft skills development programme and encountering many amazing people. I am now more passionate about human beings’ capabilities than ever before.

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