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Interview with Meige Rivet, Career Manager at SKEMA Alumni

06 July 2020

Since the merger of the ESC Lille and CERAM alumni associations, the SKEMA Alumni Career Service has been offering graduates three main categories of services: one-to-one coaching and support, workshops on specific topics, and employment opportunities. SKEMA Alumni supports the alumni of the school throughout their career, bringing them the right solutions for each situation or issue. Meige Rivet, Career Manager, talks about her background and her responsibilities within the Career Service.

 

Can you tell us about your professional background?

The first part of my career was spent in advertising, but in 2009 I felt the urge to instil more meaning into my professional life. I chose to retrain after a skills assessment confirmed that becoming a career management consultant was the right move for me. I went back to studying and took up some courses to bridge any skill gaps. In 2011, I joined a career management firm that belonged to AFPA, a French national agency for adult vocational training. Then I joined APEC in 2012 to help young graduates find employment. After that, SKEMA hired me as Alumni Career Manager in 2014.  

 

Why did you choose this career path?

I loved the years I spent working in advertising, but I needed my work to be more meaningful and useful. During that period I met a lot of colleagues who were suffering and I witnessed abuse at work and I didn’t want to accept that. When I felt that the same could happen to me, I did what I had to to get out. I wanted to help people free themselves of suffering, to help them thrive in their work. And when I decided to change careers, my skills assessment confirmed that supporting people on their professional journey was exactly what I wanted to do.

 

What are your different responsibilities within the SKEMA Alumni Career Service?

SKEMA Alumni is there to assist all alumni throughout their professional careers, from the moment they graduate until they retire. My role is to supervise all the services, or in other words to create them and develop them, to oversee all career-related activities and assist the alumni individually. To be more precise, I am responsible for:

  • Advising and guiding the alumni with their career progression through one-on-one sessions and group workshops run by either myself or by external consultants
  • Developing, promoting and coordinating the workshops and webinars
  • Coordinating the network of partners (about 50 coaches and HR consultants) with whom we work
  • Developing partnerships with recruiters
  • Organising career-related events, such as conferences on themes like management, leadership, etc.

 

What sort of services does the SKEMA Alumni Career Service offer to alumni?

The service offering falls into 3 main categories:

1/ Opportunities/job vacancies that are posted on our website or sent out by email.

2/ Group training/coaching in the form of in-person workshops held in France and in Europe, as well as webinars held in French or in English. The topics either relate to career management or personal and professional development.

3/ And of course, one-on-one coaching and support for any graduate questioning their work situation. I conduct all the initial assessment interviews personally and then, depending on the graduate’s issue, I either continue to support them myself or I refer them to an external coach.

We are here to bring our alumni the right solutions for their particular situation or issue, throughout their career. The support we offer is entirely “à la carte”. We offer a yearly package comprising several hours and the graduate can use it as they wish. They might choose, for example, to work with us on their interview technique, or to identify their MBTI profile because they want to know themselves better, or they might attend a workshop to be more effective in their job search or use of social media... Alumni may also need more extensive coaching if their situation is complex.

 

Do you have any advice for a graduate who is questioning their career?

Don’t do it alone! There are a lot of support options available. Find out about all the in-person or online individual and/or group support options available to you. Don’t put up with an unsatisfying professional life... everyone has the right to be happy in their job! Don’t stay somewhere if it is causing you suffering. As the saying goes: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. You’ve studied at a top business school to give yourself options and the means to do what you want to do. You have the right to change career paths; you have the right to retrain to make sure you are really in a job you want to be in.

 

Who can contact the Career Service? For what kind of topics, issues, questions?

This service is for all alumni without exception: whatever year you graduated, whatever your professional situation, the Career Service is here for you!

 

What sort of support and coaching do you offer?

In addition to external coaching, the alumni can have access to the PARCOUREO platform (a skills assessment support platform). This platform is used by skills assessment centres among others, at La Cité des Métiers (careers resource centre) in Paris, for example, and by the psychologists at Pôle Emploi (the French national employment agency). It is the most effective and comprehensive tool I know for skills assessments. I am also certified in the MBTI and STRONG tools to help our alumni get to know themselves better and figure out their personalities.

 

What partners do you work with?

The Career Service works with independent HR or recruitment consultants and coaches, 40% of which are SKEMA graduates who changed careers. We also have partnerships with some companies, like Waouh me! or Primaveras for example.

 

How do you connect a graduate with a coach/partner? How do you put them in touch?

I often say that at that stage of the support process my job is that of a matchmaking agency, because it’s up to me to find the right match between the graduate and the consultant to whom I will be referring them! I base my choice on several criteria for this: geographical, when the graduate wants in-person support; another relating to the graduate’s goals and the partner’s areas of expertise; and finally, on each person’s personality: I need to feel that they’re going to “click”. Sometimes I let the graduate decide for themselves by giving them the names of two or three consultants. And so far, 100% of my “couples” have worked out well ;)

 

Can you share with us some of the feedback you’ve received from alumni after they’ve received support from yourself or a partner-coach?

I have met and assisted over 500 alumni over the six years I’ve been in this position. I don’t have 500 testimonials (unfortunately), but I have had a lot of great feedback! A few examples:

“I wanted to thank you for the time you spent with me during our session on Wednesday morning. I got a lot of very clear information; there is still a long way to go, but it allowed me to figure out which direction to head in.” Christopher (SK 2013)

 

“In late 2017, thanks to SKEMA, I met with Laurence and Benoit from Waouh Me!. After that I decided to sign up for their 6-week intensive coaching package. It was a great experience that gave me the drive I needed to really kickstart my professional life after graduating. I have just finished a 2-year contract as project manager. That contract was a real success for me; I had the feeling of finally being in the right job with a legitimacy that was recognised by my employer, my co-workers and my clients. All in all, I am thrilled with my new career path and thrilled to have chosen SKEMA to support me through this change. Thank you Meige and SKEMA Alumni!” Rachel (SK 2017)

 

“After our previous meeting focused on requesting a salary increase, I wanted to let you know that I got a 10% pay rise. So thank you for your advice and I will see you in January 2021.”  Paul (SK 2019)

 

A final word?

I insist: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You are not alone for your job search, your career management... contact us. Knowing you are supported is reassuring and gives you a sense of security.  

 

Contact Meige Rivet.

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