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29 July 2019

Our Incredible Life Paths: Cécilia SKRODER (TBS 2017)


How would you describe yourself when you were at university?

I attended law school at Stockholm University in Sweden. Our class was extremely diverse, filled with determined and positive people from different walks of life, which is sometimes less usual at law school, which can still be perceived as a “privileged” type of education. During our different assignments and activities, it became very clear to me how this diversity contributed to more interesting discussions and conclusions, especially when we debated impact on society in relation to law. We were a close knit group that had a lot of fun together outside of class of class, and even during holidays. I was also an active member of the board of ELSA (European Law Students’ Association) Stockholm, organising exchanges with other universities.


Why did you choose Toulouse Business School?

After several years working with contracts negotiations in Aerospace, a very international industry, I also knew there was a lot more to business than just negotiations. As I wanted to be part of this, I chose TBS to do an MBA (Master of Business Administration). TBS offered a complete, and international, MBA programme that spanned over two years, allowing me to continue work in parallel to my studies. An MBA provides a management view of all aspects of business: leadership, strategy, finance, operations, marketing, HR, etc., so it was the perfect degree to widen my perspective and knowledge around business and management. 


How did your career develop after your degree?

Directly following graduation, joined the Strategy and Innovation team at NAVBLUE, a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus that develops software, flight ops and ATM services. At NAVBLUE, the use of my MBA is proven daily. In my job, I have had the chance to take an active role around the company's transformation plan. I also contribute to the company's long term strategy by building strategic partnerships with different companies, including start-ups and Airbus BizLab.


Can you tell us about your studies at TBS?

When you decide, mid-career, that you want to give continued learning a go, you have to be very determined and engaged in the topics you study. That was the case for me, and the same engagement could be felt in the entire MBA class. My time at TBS was filled with intense work, a lot of fun, and exchange and debate in a very international group. In addition to this, to enrich your studies with professional experience to solve problems puts a different perspective to the value of diverse talent in a group of professionals. This is something I now push for actively in my job: to combine the knowledge and perspectives of the teams, and dare to debate. In my view, this is a major, and very important, strength that the Aerospace MBA programme brings.


Do you have any stories from your year that you would like to share with us? (student associations, etc.)?

Putting people from literally all corners of the earth together takes you a very long way in terms of changing perspectives. Without going into anything as serious as catastrophes and severe human hardship, which are at a different level, we all became acutely aware of how uneven infrastructure can affect international collaboration. 

During the MBA, some group work had to be done with delegates back in their home countries between classes. We faced serious challenges simply because of failing power supplies and internet connect impact on society in relation to law ions in some areas. It makes you think twice about the basics needed for economic development and large-scale international collaboration, and how “little” it takes to put up barriers to this. 

What we also saw though, is that however different conditions, backgrounds or cultures we come from, we all share the human drive to solve problems and share our efforts and success with others. After we presented our MBA assignment, the sense of shared pride of what we had achieved as a group was surprising, and almost palpable in the air. My hope is that we can take this with us to act for continued open international relations, each at our own level, in the future.


What recommendations would you share to TBS students and alumni today?

With the importance of international exchange and collaboration growing even stronger today, I was very glad to take on the role to lead the Aerospace MBA Alumni after graduation. Together with other alumni across the world, we work for more exchange, not only between those from the same degree, but across the entire alumni network. Isolation was never a good recipe for development, and that goes for alumni associations aswell. That’s why we co-organise events with other groups, and do our best to engage the alumni who are outside of France as well. 

One important message I would like to share, is that the strength of an alumni association depends on all its alumni. Regardless if you have an “official” position or you are “just” an alumnus, everyone has a role to play to make the most out of the network. Don’t just wait around for something to happen. If you want to share or engage in something that is important to you, and you think it could be interesting for others, get in touch with any chapter or group you think could best help you, and drive that forward! It’s the diversity of our ideas, and the willingness to join forces and work together, that will take us further.



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