SKEMA, a human adventure: two perspectives.

06 July 2020

Jacques d'Anchald (SK 1970), coach and founder of Futur-job, and Yves-Vincent Duperron (SK 1997), founder/consultant at Katalys Consulting, agreed to a joint interview to tell us about their respective journeys since graduating from SKEMA and share with us their experiences with the SKEMA Alumni career services.


Can you tell us what you’ve been up to since graduating from SKEMA and what your professional situation is at the moment?

Yves-Vincent Duperron: Since graduating from SKEMA in 1997, all my career evolutions have been motivated by technology and by the international dimension. I have held several positions in the private sector in France and in Europe. I made the big leap to entrepreneurship in 2008 by starting my first business in Chile. I chose that country for two reasons: my wife is Chilean and I was also very drawn to the fact that it is an emerging country. I created a first company in water treatment and renewable energy, Blootech Ltda. Then, in 2013, I co-developed Kura Biotec, a startup that was initiated in Chilean Patagonia, rendered profitable in 9 months, and that really took off in the United States. In 4 years it became a successful biotech in Chile and abroad. Since 2018, I’ve been working as both a consultant and an entrepreneur with my consulting firm, Katalys, which accelerates tests in diagnostic labs through by using enzymes, fascinating biotechnology tools.

Jacques D'Anchald: After graduating from ESC Lille in 1970, I began working in the catering industry delivering training, selling corporate food services, and running restaurants for Jacques Borel International. After a stint in sales, I worked as a head hunter in Lille from 1983 to 1987. I then decided to take a sabbatical year to start my own company doing outplacement. From 1989, I practised coaching until the year 2000, when I built and launched a cruise boat on the Seine as a venue for seminars. But after the World Trade Center catastrophe I had to stop that business and I went back to outplacement and coaching, which is what I’m still doing now through my company Futur-job. We offer an online programme and one-to-one coaching to create your dream job.


From SKEMA to SKEMA Alumni, what link is there for you? Are you or have you always been connected to the network?

Yves-Vincent D.: Right after I finished school, the link was very weak; but over the years, as the school and SKEMA Alumni gained prominence, I renewed contact with the network. These days I feel a strong connection and I’m proud to belong to the Skeman community. Some years ago when the membership changed from annual to lifelong, to me that was a strong sign from SKEMA that it wanted to maintain ties with its alumni. And now there is also the SKEMA Alumni Career Service, which puts the school’s alumni in touch with professional coaches while co-financing a significant portion of this support. It is amazing to me that SKEMA is continuing to invest in the success of its alumni, even 20 years after their graduation!

Jacques D'A.: I had very little contact and very few dealings with the alumni for a long time. Then at the end of 2014 I participated in an event for the alumni of various top schools and through chatting with the SKEMA coordinator of that event, Fabienne Buon, I was put in touch with the Career Service manager, Meige Rivet. We met very soon after, we hit it off straight away and we began our collaboration shortly after. That is how I became a SKEMA Alumni coach/partner. Since then I have helped several alumni, including Yves-Vincent. 


Yves-Vincent, how and why did you reach out to the SKEMA Alumni Career Service?

From 2013 to 2018, I co-developed a startup practically from scratch until it generated several million dollars in profits annually after we negotiated contracts with 3 of the 5 biggest diagnostic laboratories in the United States. Although that was a fabulous adventure, it also left me teetering on the edge of a burn-out. For some time I had wanted to hire a coach to find some meaning, enjoyment and enthusiasm again in my work. I knew that it could help me get back on track. I started looking into it and gathering information, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually take the plunge. And one day, after opening a SKEMA Alumni newsletter that talked about the association’s Career Service and its coaching services, I finally did it. I contacted Meige Rivet and she booked me in for a one-to-one session to assess where I was at and what I wanted. She then put me in touch with Jacques for some coaching.


Jacques, how long have you worked with the SKEMA Alumni Career Service and what services do you offer?

I’ve been working with SKEMA Alumni since 2015 and I offer coaching in movement to free employees and entrepreneurs from their current work situation. I help them create their own job. I can help when clarity is needed, for example, regarding the next step in a career or to find solutions. My method is centred on the person, not on the problem.


Yves-Vincent, Jacques has been coaching you for several months. Why did you choose him as a coach and how is it all going?

Coaching with Jacques was, and actually still is, different to what I had in mind! I had the wrong idea of what a coach is; an idea that I think was very much influenced by the American concept of guru-style coaching. Jacques and Futur-job’s coaching style is very humble and calm. Jacques doesn’t ask you what your problem is or what is wrong. He senses it, but he is not interested in that. What is most stimulating with Jacques is that he always pushes you to movement and action, and that is what I wanted. There are silences interrupted by a few questions that really pack a punch and that you have to answer. It’s very powerful, with a dual impact: first, that of achieving your professional goals, then the knock-on effect is that you get to surpass and reinvent yourself on a personal level. And it works very quickly! Even with just one weekly session, what Jacques says to me continues to resonate throughout the entire week. Thanks to this coaching, my self-talk has completely changed. I chose Jacques because he is a natural, he has solid values and extensive professional experience, including as a company owner-operator. He gives you space to find the solution that is inside you. A good coach makes you believe in yourself and your own talent.  


Jacques, how did you prepare Yves-Vincent’s coaching?

It’s simple, I don’t prepare anything! I am connected to the person, not the problem. When I start a session, the person is there in front of me with what is happening for them, their questions, joys and troubles, and whatever the issue, we unpack it and deal with it. Being connected to the person directly saves a few weeks, months or even years of questioning and suffering, by allowing them to free themselves, to reveal themselves. I couldn’t care less about the problem. I’m interested in the solutions the coachee has within them, because 9 times out of 10 people have the solutions inside them. If they don’t, I offer some insights. To me, a coach is there to reveal the coachee, to enable them to find their own solutions.


Yves-Vincent, in what ways has the coaching evolved with Jacques?

The coaching has evolved in a really lovely way. In the beginning he was coach and I was coachee. Now, we’ve achieved a real two-way relationship. We take care of each other like brothers would. Thanks to this coaching, I have gone from focusing on myself to focusing on others. Relationships with others have become much more important to me. It has transformed my business relationships; I pay more attention to others.

JDA: If you learn to take care of your coach, you also learn to take care of your boss, your employees, your colleagues, etc.  That is what gives meaning to our professional lives and makes us a source a growth for one another.


Jacques, how do you feel about Yves-Vincent’s evolution?

The most obvious shift for me is the move from a self-centred life to a life centred on others. Yves-Vincent has revealed his incredible qualities − humanity, patience, kindness, consideration, courage − and has used them in business dealings. I have watched Yves-Vincent become responsible, fraternal, and start to show authority with his prospects. He doesn’t let others mess him around anymore and he has become clearer in his speech − in short, centred on the other person and not on the problem. That saves him a lot of time... and money!

YVD: When I started this coaching process, I still had an employee mindset and doing this work has really helped me to bring out my abilities as a businessman. Today, I’m no longer afraid to take the risk of initiating the relationship even though I may receive a clear NO in return.


Yves-Vincent, what has this coaching brought you? Can you give us an example of something that has changed (before/after)?

The most concrete achievement is having created and successfully closed a long-term deal with a pharmaceutical and life sciences multinational. This gives me some visibility in my work for the coming years. It is a real long-term partnership. Jacques and Futur-job have allowed me to overcome my fears and change my mindset. I’m enjoying work again. Rather than continuing like before, I chose and won a new life. With the audacity of freedom I have also found more joy, the pleasure of taking on new challenges, and a deep connection with my calling as an entrepreneur.

JDA: Yves-Vincent has become more daring. In our collaboration, we don’t set ourselves any limits and you can sense that in his work now.


Jacques, how do you support your coachees?

At Futur-job, we focus on the human person and how they are made, so with very simple concepts: a head, a heart, a body, guts, a soul. This anthropology means that we are not dependent on any method as such. This way we do not get stuck in interpretation schemas or grids. We are constantly connected to the person in front of us and this person is fundamentally unique and different. I simply adapt to the personality of the coachee. Our method is composed of two ingredients: a philosophy and some good practices.


What would you say to a SKEMA graduate wanting to get help from the Career Service?

YVD: Go for it and make the most of this opportunity SKEMA offers its alumni to work with a coach. SKEMA Alumni has a range of very different coaching options available, some more technical than others. These days, I don’t see how an entrepreneur can go without a coach! A coach is a trainer who boosts you each day on your entrepreneurial journey or in your career change process. I can only recommend it!

JDA: We are incredibly lucky that our school offers us this chance. SKEMA is one of the only (if not the only) schools in France to offer its alumni this service. You absolutely must take advantage of this! It is an opportunity to level up. You can save 6, 12 months... or even 5 years in your career.


Yves-Vincent and Jacques, any final words?

YVD: GIFT! Meeting Jacques was truly a gift. I didn’t think that SKEMA could still give me this gift 20 years after I graduated from the school. I am very grateful to SKEMA; I am proud of how my school has evolved. I sincerely hope that this interview will inspire many other alumni to get some coaching. Today I have the same energy and desire as when I left SKEMA. The desire to live my life to the fullest! I am proud and happy to be part of a great family: the SKEMA family!

JDA: ASTONISHMENT and GRATITUDE! 50 years after graduating from SKEMA, I didn’t think the school would give me the gift that is Yves-Vincent! It is truly a gift that SKEMA Alumni and Meige Rivet have given me, because it is by working in synergy that we can enhance our respective talents together. So THANK YOU!


Contacts: Jacques d'Anchald (SK 1970), coach, author of the Leadership Dictionnary and founder of Futur-job and Yves-Vincent Duperron (SK 1997), founder/consultant at Katalys consulting


Discover the Career Service and the interview with Meige Rivet, Career Manager at SKEMA Alumni.