Celine Hediard (SKEMA 2004): “SKEMA opens up the field of possibilities”

17 February 2021

Currently living in Montreal, Celine Hediard (SKEMA 2004) shares with us her international journey and her experience of studying at SKEMA Business School. She remains actively involved with the school, as ambassador for the SKEMA United campaign in Canada among other things.

Can you tell us briefly about your educational background?

After two years at a preparatory school, I wanted to join a top business school. So I enrolled at SKEMA Business School on the Lille campus, where I specialised in marketing via the Master’s in product marketing. I then got the opportunity to do a great work-study programme with Bouygues Construction (now Linkcity), where I was hired before I had even graduated. That is where I discovered the world of building and public works, of construction, and working in sales and marketing within that industry. I stayed with the company for eight years as real estate project manager.

Why did you choose to study at SKEMA Business School?

SKEMA Business School opens up the field of possibilities; it is a solid network and provides a bedrock of wonderful values to exploit. I immediately embraced SKEMA’s values and my first impressions were very positive. It is a school that really fosters adaptability, a skill that is essential these days, as the health crisis has made clear. I think that studying at SKEMA really taught me to adapt, to bounce back and to be creative in everyday life. The education I received is still very much embedded in my mind today, and it is a resource I draw from daily.


What are your biggest takeaways from your time at SKEMA?

Above all, SKEMA represents strong friendships, with people who are still in my life now. SKEMA is actually where I met my husband! These really strong bonds of friendship are genuine proof of the attachment, loyalty and anchoring around SKEMA. The school also prepared us very quickly for the workforce, with internships, work/study programmes, and lots of group projects that taught us teamwork. While studying at SKEMA Business School, I was involved in the sailing association Océane, where I was part of the crew as a sailor. For two years I helped to find sponsors to fund our participation in races. I have really great memories of that and I think it really helped to bring out my sales-mindedness and entrepreneurial nature.


Can you tell us about your work and your move to Quebec?

So I started my career at Bouygues Construction in France, where I learned the role of real estate project manager. After 8 years with that company, I then discovered the world of small businesses by joining a startup, again in the real estate industry. Then a year later my husband was offered a career opportunity in Russia. So we moved to Moscow. For one year I took intensive Russian lessons to acquire a level of business Russian that would allow me to work there. For the first year, I worked part-time for a small interior design startup and continued with my language classes on the side. I then joined another consulting firm, in the construction industry once again, where I had a recruitment role. That role was completely new to me and I really enjoyed it; it was a great challenge. Then we got the opportunity to move again, to Montreal, where I joined the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry team. For over two years, I was in charge of the business club and of relations with the corporate members in the Chamber of Commerce network. I really enjoyed this experience in Quebec. In Montreal there is a very positive mindset when it comes to entrepreneurship, and a real passion for business creation. It is really a part of the local values, and everything is set up to help businesses grow, whether in terms of dynamic ecosystems, financing, or assistance to entrepreneurs. Since the beginning for the year, I started a new adventure as VP Canada at Squadeasy, an inspiring apps that promotes physical activity, team spirit and the well-being of everyone.


Right now you are a SKEMA United ambassador. What is the goal of this campaign?

SKEMA United’s goal is to raise money to fund study grants for students who need them the most. We started from the premise that the SKEMA network now has 48,000 alumni around the world, and that if every alum gives a few euros we will quickly assemble our goal. So we are using the power of the alumni network to collect the funds and to promote SKEMA. To take part in the SKEMA United fundraising campaign, visit: SKEMA has chosen alumni-ambassadors in several countries to promote its fundraising campaigns, and they each come up with actions they can take at their level. My role as ambassador is also to organise events for entrepreneurs from all business sectors (cocktail receptions, conferences, brainstorming workshops, etc.). I really wanted to help in my own way and to have others benefit from my network. That was very important to me after everything that SKEMA has brought me, and especially given the current context. It has also been a good opportunity for me to get back in touch with alumni I haven’t seen for years.


Celine participated in the 2020 SKEMA United campaign.



What career advice would you give to new or recent SKEMA graduates?

I think it is really important to be in alignment with your own values. So my advice to them would be to find a company that shares their values. It is also important to remember that there is no ideal career path, because today the professional world is being turned on its head and you really shouldn’t be afraid of creating new opportunities for yourself. SKEMA is a highly competent school that also really encourages encounters and exchanges between students, companies, etc. This is enriching and it also really helps to get a better idea of the kind of work you would like to do. I think that you shouldn’t isolate yourself, but rather surround yourself with the right people, exchange, and try to take inspiration from others for your own personal development. I would also advise young people to go overseas. It’s an incredible experience that allows you to re-examine yourself in a positive way and learn to adapt to a new context. I am very proud to have chosen SKEMA, a multifaceted school that is very visionary and knows how to adapt and innovate.

Contact: Celine HediardVP Canada at Squadeasy

Interview by for SKEMA Alumni