Portrait François Burnichon
FRANÇOIS BURNICHON (EMBA 2007), CONSULTANT-LEADER, APPTEK
“Cross-fertilizing between strategic marketing, project management and multi-discipline and multi-cultural work groups’ management would have in no way been possible without the acquired disciplines and state of mind of my MBA.”
What led me to MBA
- A general engineer training, more conducive to curiosity and opening, I think, than others, more specialised.
- Word of mouth: it is unbelievable the way former students are the best advertising for the school!
- At the beginning, I thought that those who follow such training only are “young players”. An exchange, during a trip, with an ex-MBA colleague convinced me that it was not the case. This has been confirmed beyond my expectations when taking part in the programme: we all had profiles away from the caricature I had imagined.
- A personal journey: by working with customers, taking transversal responsibilities in the company, I became aware of the lacks of my “exact sciences” culture, and of the interest in fill them, which did not imply denying engineering sciences! The combination of the different sciences is an outstanding wealth, for which I since then am a proselytism apostle!
What I found in the training
- At first, I found what I expected, which already is significant!! Through the fundamental disciplines: marketing, strategy, management, finance, economics…
- Some teachers or interveners impressed us by the quality of the exchanges that we had, when we sometimes challenged them, on the basis of our own experience.
- Less expected, the taste for the network and the relationship and the entrepreneurial spirit.
- In particular, even if the idea of entrepreneurship already occurred to me before, the MBA convinced me that it was possible, and that the inherent risks had to be accepted and dealt handled. The difference between network and cronyism also has been found out.
- Not expected at all: the opening towards other horizons in personal development, and a significant evolution in my way of approaching professional life, and even private life. It is a path that is not always conscious, and that is performed during MBA, and that is especially rich since we invest ourselves, by keeping pace with the rhythm of elective and seminary work groups.
My pathway since then
- As many participants, I started the MBA as a way of continuing my progression within the same company, with no wish of leaving it.
- However, during the two-year stage, you take an important step back regarding your professional development, and the company for which you work, and two types of situations are likely to happen.
- The company either knows - and can - taking advantage of this attitude of detachment, which pushes the manager towards other positions, after a few months or years; or it is not the case, and the opportunities of capitalising on the training happen elsewhere. As unexpected, the second situation happened to me, as the desired position was not free.
- I have been chosen to take General Management responsibilities in a Business Unit. It involved many changes: field of responsibility, professional atmosphere and removal of the whole family in the South of Ile-de-France.
- The middle management situation in the medium or large sized companies did not really fulfill our expectations: not enough autonomy, too much contradictory constraints and necessity of a politic agility in the organisation that are not in line with me. Not to mention that, in my opinion, the time spent on managing these aspects intrude on the true performance of the company.
- Therefore, the foundation of my own company was the natural choice and the result of this progress.
AppTek – Product Pilot
- It is an entrepreneurial project, which matured for more than 5 years. It is based on experiences convictions taken from 15 years in the capital goods industry.
The creation of a product, a subset of a capital good, in B to B industry requires very wide competencies, in full agreement with the spectrum of the engineer and the MBA manager. We must know how to bring them out, or to implement them where they exist.
2. In most cases, the performance of the creation process is far from ideal, companies of all sizes, but particularly small and medium-sized enterprises and mid-cap companies. It also happens that the large companies need the flexibility they sometimes don’t have. This is how I worked with Siemens from the beginning!
3. An extensive experience, and the capacity to take a step back to manage this creation process, are key factors to over-perform, and companies are often lacking resources on these plans.
- Hence AppTek mission: to offer assistance to medium-sized enterprises and mid-cap companies on with their supply creation process.
- This enable them to update new couples product/market, based on their own competencies, to reduce time-to-market through a work in project mode, and then :
-to develop on domestic and international markets with new customers
-to align their performances on the performances of their major customers, energy key accounts (Alstom T&D, ABB, GE, Siemens...), references in the transportation sector (Airbus, Alstom Transports, Bombardier...), or in another capital goods industry.
- Offering a large vision, enabling cross-fertilizing between strategic marketing, project management and multi-discipline and multi-cultural work groups’ management would have in no way been possible without the acquired disciplines and state of mind of my MBA.