The SKEMA Alumni Transitions Club: the ecological transition, a major challenge for France’s “grandes écoles”

31 October 2022 Interview

The SKEMA Alumni Transitions Club was founded in September 2022 by a group of environmentally and socially conscious alumni and students. It is part of the Ambitions Transitions network.


The aim of the club is to assist and support SKEMA with its ecological transition and its social and environmental dimensions, to ensure that all students arrive on the job market with the keys for understanding the challenges of our century, and to unite and mobilise the school’s alumni around these challenges.


Watch the video below to hear our alumna-ambassador Elodie Binois (SKEMA 2013) tell us more about this new club. 

SKEMA Alumni Transitions is run by 4 ambassadors: Elodie Binois (SKEMA 2013), Carla Monzali (M2 student), Clement Person (M1 student), and Laurie Boutain (M1 student). Our 3 students agreed to answer a few questions from SKEMA Alumni. 


Could you each introduce yourselves briefly?

Laurie Boutain, I’m currently in the Master 2 programme delivered jointly by UCLA Extension and SKEMA. I wanted to get actively involved within the school after becoming more aware of the ecological issues we can (and should) no longer ignore.

Carla Monzali, I will soon be graduating from the MSc ISI (International Strategy & Influence) programme and ltant in sustainable strategies for a consultancy specialising in sustainable development (Utopies). Three years ago now, I joined the Ecological Awakening collective, where I work specifically on the challenges of higher education establishments. It’s within this context that I got involved in founding the SKEMA Alumni club devoted to the ecological transition.

Clement Person, as part of my Master 2 sandwich course at SKEMA, I’ve been working at Caisse des Dépôts since September 2022, in the group’s Sustainable Policies (climate, biodiversity, etc.) department, where I take care of reporting. I’ve been excited by the idea of setting up this eco-conscious club for a good year now, so I’m thrilled that it’s finally coming together and being promoted by SKEMA Alumni. Thank for you this opportunity!


Tell us about the genesis of the SKEMA Alumni Transitions club


[Clement] In 2021, I noticed a fundamental trend whereby alumni societies focused on “Transitions” were being formed in the other business schools. After that, a LinkedIn post by Carla prompted me to get in touch with her to let her know that I wanted to create a similar club at SKEMA, to help our alma mater integrate the socio-environmental challenges we are facing, at all levels, but also to connect alumni and students wanting to get involved and share their journey.

One thing led to another; we contacted Elodie, who was thrilled to see us super motivated to relaunch the initiative she had started a few years back. During this set-up phase we were joined by Laurie, who was keen to lend a hand to develop the club.

A year later, this core group of people with strong convictions and a real concern for the environment is launching the SKEMA Alumni Transitions Club.


What are the goals of this club over the coming months and years?

[Clement] We have plenty of ideas in mind for actions in the short, medium and long term. Here is a non-exhaustive, theme-based list of the actions we would like to implement over the coming months:

  • Events: organise awareness-raising and collective intelligence workshops like the Climate Fresk; participate in organising inter-school actions like the positive impact job fair organised by Ambitions Transitions, etc.
  • Communication and development: continue to become more visible to students and alumni so that the club grows, and have as many people as possible within the SKEMA community sign our manifesto in order to show the scale of the movement.
  • Assist SKEMA with its transitions: work with SKEMA Transitions (SKEMA’s global hub dedicated to socio-ecological transition and responsible management) to increase our impact within the school, and take part in internal working groups at SKEMA that are focused on the organisation’s sustainable development and social responsibility challenges.

When it comes to longer term actions, we also have some goals that will no doubt evolve as our members come up with more ideas. They include: helping to organise SKEMA’s Climate Education Kick-offs; participating in the overhaul of the school’s syllabuses; organising the training in socio-environmental challenges of SKEMA’s management committee; proactively suggesting changes in practices on campus (energy savings, biodiversity footprint, waste management, etc.), and plenty of other ideas.


What drove you to really want to take action and focus in on the ecological transition?


[Laurie] The desire to get involved came when I realised just how critical a situation we are in. After that, I wanted to be able to do my part. Through joining the club I have met some fascinating and passionate people. That motivates you to change things, then take action and raise other people’s awareness. I also did a Climate Fresk, which greatly contributed to increasing my commitment. I can’t wait to see this workshop (and others!) offered to SKEMA students.


In your opinion, what does the role of ambassador involve in a club like this one?


[Laurie] It’s about showing that the club is accessible, that it is trying to do its best, and above all it is about inspiring others to act and to truly realise what awaits us, even if that can be scary.

[Carla] The ambassador role is essential for representing the club, being its spokesperson and promoting its interests within the SKEMA community. For example, the ambassadors will represent the club on the SKEMA Transitions Committee – SKEMA’s global hub devoted to the socio-ecological transition and responsible management – to take part in discussions and positively influence the practices of our institution.


As students, how can you help your school with its ecological, environmental and social transition?


[Carla] Our school has set itself the goal to “train talented individuals who create and whose actions contribute to transforming industries, organisations and, more broadly, society.” By joining our club as students, we can work with SKEMA to change the programmes it delivers to take into account socio-ecological issues, so that we may all be capable of carrying out the transformations needed to address the ecological crisis.

For example, we can let our professors and administration know about the existing best practices for transforming management programmes, thanks to the public interest work carried out by the Shift Project through its project entitled “ClimatSup Business, Former les acteurs de l’économie de demain” (ClimatSup Business, Educating the Economic Agents of the Future”. This work is essential to drive a positive transformation of the school’s syllabuses. Rather than perpetuating the fierce competition between France’s top business schools, we want to draw inspiration from what each does best. As an example, the “ESCP Transition Network” shows the extent to which a student-driven initiative can work hand in hand with a school’s administration to educate its entire community about the systemic challenges that arise from the socio-ecological transition.


Some final words to motivate other peers to come and join you?


[Laurie] Now is the time to act, but we do it together!

[Clement] I’d like to share an excerpt of the speech made by Bruno Latour, a figure of ecological thought, during the inaugural lecture at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year at Sciences Po: It would have been a lack of courtesy toward you to explain to you that the situation is wonderful, that like your predecessors you are all going to be admitted into ENA, manage big companies and make a lot of money. It’s not true; none of that is going to happen. You have to reverse the trend. Good luck...".

Let’s band together to reverse this trend; by joining us you’ll be taking the first step in that direction!