Name: Christophe Grosbost
Programme: MSc Economics and Strategy for Business 2013
Undergraduate degree: Master’s in Business and Management, Grande École Programme, Major in Strategy and Finance, ESC Reims, France
Employment prior to studying at the Business School: I started my career within the strategy consulting practice of Accenture Paris, where I worked for a year in Financial Services on large operational improvement programmes.
I then moved to London for 6 months to work as Corporate Strategy Analyst for Technicolor, focusing on M&A advisory and strategy definition.
Employment after studying at the Business School and what is your current position:
When I first graduated I worked as a Strategy Consultant, Corporate Value Associates (London, UK)
For two years. Since March 2015 I have been a Case Manager at BearingPoint (London, UK).
One of the greatest things with Imperial College Business School is that companies proactively come to you right from the beginning of your programme. By October, I had already been accepted by several strategy consulting firms after only 3 months of my MSc!
I decided to join the London office of Corporate Value Associates and signed my contract by November (2012) for a September 2013 start.
Having the opportunity to secure a position right at the beginning of the programme gives students visibility on their career and ability to focus on their studies at the Business School rather than spending time looking for a job. Thanks to Imperial College’s fantastic brand appeal, this is possible for students.
I spent 2 years working at Corporate Value Associates, gaining experience in multiple and varied industries across a dozen of strategy and operational projects around the globe (Canada, Brazil, France, China).
I moved to BearingPoint in March 2015 and am now a Junior Manager in the London office.
During my career, I have worked for 30+ leading companies across Banking, Automotive & Connected Cars, Consumer Retail, Digital, High-Tech & IoT, Energy & Utilities, Rail & Transport and Telecommunications.
My expertise led me to specialise in business strategy, digital strategy and transformation, customer journey design, target operating model, operational performance and change management.
Thanks to my time at the Business School, I have had a strong career start. I was nominated for ‘Consultant of the Year 2015’ for BearingPoint UK, and was recently selected in BearingPoint’s firm-wide fast track talent programme.
Why did you choose to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
I spent six months working in London and was really impressed by the British capital. This is when I took the decision to move permanently to London.
To secure a position in a top tier strategic consultancy in London, which was my ambition, I knew I needed to arm myself with an MSc from a worldwide recognised institution. So, I looked for options, and Imperial College Business School came top of my list.
In addition, the new MSc Economics & Strategy for Business (ESB) had just been launched and specifically focused on strategy for students wishing to enter a career in strategy consulting. It was the obvious choice.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?
MSc Economics and Strategy for Business is a truly fantastic programme, offering students the opportunity to study strategy definition and its operational applications though varied prisms such as innovation, globalisation, digital, energy or economics.
One of the highlights of the programme for me was the group consultancy project, where we provided consulting services to a real client. It provides “real world” experience where students can put into practice all they have learned during the year.
Also, career-wise, I cannot emphasise enough on how much it opened amazing doors for me and really boosted my CV and career.
If I had only one piece of advice to give it would be don’t be afraid to be assertive! The Business School want students who have opinions and are not afraid to share them. And any opinion is receivable if you can justify it thoroughly and logically. The interview process is the perfect opportunity to show who you really are and your passion for the programme’s focus. It’s about showing you are motivated and this programme is the right fit for you. So be natural, don’t just say what you think they want to hear, and voice your own opinions.
How did you find living in London?
London is often seen as the financial capital of the world or the business capital of Europe. But for me, it’s much more. There’s something here that cannot be found elsewhere: the cultural melting pot. Half of the capital’s inhabitants are from somewhere else, and this gives the city a fantastic energy boost. Because everyone comes from a different place and has a different background, it pushes people to understand each other much more and find common grounds. It forces mentalities to be kept opened. Also, business-wise, this diversity fosters creativity and increases performance.
In addition, London is an amazing place to live, with new things to do and new places to try every day. There is a vibrant vibe and dynamism that keeps everyone active, and this makes this city one of the best places to live in the world.
What was the Business School community like?
Great atmosphere! There is an effervescent student community at Imperial, with many activities available and a great student union. As for my class, we often went out and did activities together. I have made very good friends that I continue to see regularly now.
What do you enjoy most about your work and what are the main challenges that you face?
I love being constantly challenged and working as a team to generate the best possible outcomes.
In strategic consultancy, you work with all sorts of bright people who all have different opinions and perspectives, and this truly helps in generating great solutions for our clients. Again, diversity fosters creativity.
One of my favourite quotes is from Kelly Lee Phipps: “If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them”. I think this is spot on. Strategy consulting is as much about being smart because you know, as being smart because you know you don’t know.
Being constantly challenged by my teams, and being constantly challenging my clients, I have developed my skills and business acumen exponentially. As a consultant, I move from project to project all the time, and this often involves looking at a completely different issue in a completely different industry. It is this diversity, coupled with the constant challenge, that make my work so engaging and interesting.
In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you and what value do you get out of your connections with the Business School and your fellow alumni?
I am actually very involved with the Business School. I am the ‘Imperial College Relationship Manager’ (ICRM) within BearingPoint, which means I lead all partnership activities with the College and the Business School.
Historically, BearingPoint has always been very involved with the Business School. Since 2009, the company supervises around six student teams every year for the summer consulting projects. Since I became the ICRM in January 2016, it’s been one of my key activities, and I supervised the taking on of again six groups of students during the summer 2016.
I try to give back as much as I can to the Business School. For instance, BearingPoint’s work with the summer consulting projects had always been exclusively with the MSc Management and MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Management programmes. So, one of the first things I did in the role was contacting the Programme Lead for ESB to extend the partnership. And for the first time in 2016, three student teams from the ESB programme have been working with BearingPoint consultants during the summer.
I have also given several 2-hour lectures on ‘How to Ace Case Studies for Management Consulting Interviews’ for various programmes. It’s a great way for me to both help fellow Business School students prepare for interviews and sell the BearingPoint brand to them.
Lastly, I have organised and participated in various recruitment events both at the College and the Business School, and will continue to do so.
The School has helped me so much in both honing my skills and boosting my CV and career that I want to give back.
Also, it is important for me that Imperial College and the Business School remains a world leading and highly regarded institution, as it directly impacts the value of my MSc and therefore of my CV.
Thus, helping current Business School students better perform during interviews or find better jobs, supports keeping Imperial one of the best universities in the world, and protects the high recognition value of my education.