Portrait Sandra Hong ENG
Sandra Hong: "At EMLYON, I was able to make the leap of understanding in terms of the economic, strategic and business-related challenges facing a company"
“Whatever the period, life - particularly professional life - is not like a slow-flowing, peaceful river. Successes and failures constantly oblige us to adapt. Along the way, periods of training are a privilege that allow you to develop both professionally and in human terms and you must know how to make the most of these.”
Sandra Hong (MBA 2011), Director of Human Resources at PSB Industries, believes in adaptation, diversity and companies succeeding because of the people they employ. When she arrived at EMLYON in 2009, having already gained a rage of experience, she was thinking about a change of career direction.
At the end of the MBA, you decided to carry on in the same sector?
- Yes, albeit with a much wider scope and more of an overview of the job, which I didn't have before. Following a postgraduate diploma in Career Management from the Paris Institute of Political Studies and 18 years as DHR for the Thalès group, I moved to the Grenoble region in 2006. I wanted to continue my career in the Rhône-Alpes region. I choose EMLYON because it was also located in the region and had a reputation for excellence in teaching. I was able to choose modules adapted to my career path and in subjects I knew less about: finance, marketing, innovation and company management. The teachers were interesting and always available and they helped me to distance myself and get an overview of my professional practice. This played a decisive role in my choosing to take my career in the direction of PSB industries: working for a medium-sized company which was more flexible, reactive and ‘human'. Thanks to the MBA, I was able to make the leap of understanding in terms of the economic, strategic and business-related challenges facing a company. Today, I consider myself a DHR with a wider scope of understanding and action. The MBA definitely strengthened me in terms of this position.
Is PSB Industries large enough to support your description of how you see your post?
- PSB Industries employs 1,400 staff members and has a sales turnover of 257 million Euros - it operates in the packaging and special chemicals market and is a key player in cosmetics and perfume packaging, the leading French company in tailored packaging solutions and world leader in fine mineral products for lighting.
- « Ambition 2020 » is our market plan aimed at reaching profitable growth across our four strategic markets:
- Luxury and beauty - we already have a strong presence with French brands which operate internationally.
- Food-processing - geographical proximity is a priority for our clients.
- Health - we would like to develop in this area and have the necessary know-how and expertise
- Chemicals - with its niche markets and specific applications for LED lighting, batteries, ceramics, polish formulas, etc.
- I had already worked internationally for the Thalès group (in London) and PSB Industries makes 63% of its turnover from exports. We have sites in Mexico, the United States (Massachusetts and Texas), Japan and offices in South Korea.
- International competition has increased today but is still manageable for a company of this size provided it knows how to meet the need for proximity and added value in the field of innovation, as demanded by clients. All those things must be worked on in the long-term.
In some ways, the EMLYON MBA allowed you to ‘re-choose' your job?
- Yes, in a way. I widened my scope around my professional expertise, whilst focusing on my desire to work in a dynamic company with a more ‘human' size. My Franco-Vietnamese origins mean that I am aware of the idea of fairness and respect for differences, where actions and human values count. I have also been lucky to have had high-level training and I believe strongly in diversity bringing depth and cohesion to a company. Being DHR in a company that has a strong entrepreneurial history and is developing internationally requires a good understanding of other cultures and ways of doing things. French businesses, even large ones, are often very ‘traditionally French'. Our French systems are still straining under the weight of various burdens and bureaucracy. But I am a pretty optimistic person and things are changing...