The ESSEC Alumni General Assembly on 17 May held at the MEDEF conference room in Paris was the opportunity to review the very positive 2017 financial year - and announce ambitious projects for the association in 2018.
The president, Charles Bouaziz (E85), opened the session with a rundown of achievements in 2017, which included the introduction of lifetime membership, the development of the Careers Service, a greater international presence and the opening of an ESSEC Alumni office on the Cergy campus, managed by Stéphanie Prevost-Cabiddu.
2018 is set to be equally ambitious, with the introduction of a digital platform, the relaunch of the Entrepreneurs hub, and an increase in events and services for students. Another significant project will be “MDE 2”, the plan to leave ESSEC Alumni’s historic premises and relocate to the center of Paris, on the RER Line A, and to a larger, more practical and more attractive space. The aim is also to facilitate an interactive exchange between the generations, with faculty, ESSEC partners and other interesting alumni entities.
When the balance is positive in the financial report…
Albert Aïdan (E82) presented the accounts of the association, which have improved for the sixth year running. The results of all the subsidiaries - MDE, ESSEC Publications and Cortambert Consultants – are positive. The significant profits from the 2017 financial year should, however, be seen in the context of the introduction of lifetime membership. The results should stabilize in 2018, while providing the association with the means to back its ambitions. And although the development of lifetime membership also implies the development of services, the increase in costs will be kept under control.
In his report as auditor, François Auger certified the “regularity and fairness” of the annual accounts.
… all is well in the annual report!
Stéphanie Jossermoz (E94), director of ESSEC Alumni, presented the annual report.
The continued decrease in members in 2017 (a reality affecting all the major business schools, including HEC) confirms the obsolescence of the membership model and the importance of the transition to lifetime membership.
The association’s activities in 2017 focused on 5 key areas:
- The Careers Service, which carried out 877 one-to-one interviews (25% internationally) with average satisfaction levels of 9.4 out of 10. This is a testament to the quality of the team, composed of 4 consultants/certified coaches, a campus manager, an assistant and 16 professionals who provide regular input.
- Communication, with an increased presence on social media. ESSEC Alumni is now the top graduate association on Facebook, has 12,633 members on its LinkedIn Group and is boosting its visibility on Twitter with 7,600 followers. Reflets ESSEC Magazine meanwhile has a new visual identity, and has diversified the profiles of the community members it covers – to an extremely positive response.
- Events, including the launch of a very active Digital club this year, a popular Private Equity club and a Finance, Banking and Insurance club where prominent CEOs regularly give talks.
- International presence, with 73 active chapters vs 60 in 2017 - a progress all the more important since it counts for the international rankings. A China club was also created in Paris, and a coordinator for the area, Bing Li (I13), was appointed.
- The students, with the successful implementation of lifetime membership, and development led by the campus manager at the Cergy office and the CNIT focusing on a range of interactive student-alumni events: Going Pro, mentoring, networking, project feedback, interview preparation and involvement in major events, including the start of the academic year and Commencement Day.
Key projects for 2018 include:
- Following up / Increasing membership subscriptions
- A new digital platform, already used by many graduate associations, to redesign and improve the membership directory base, including synchronization with LinkedIn, various collaborative functions, geolocation, simplified and centralized agenda management, subscriptions and membership fees (on the issue of GDPR we have put in place a policy drawn up with specialist lawyers and the school).
- Relaunch of the Entrepreneurs hub with 2 co-managers - a young graduate backed by 2 colleagues focusing on start-ups, and an experienced entrepreneur for senior entrepreneurs, set to offer an array of services and events (conferences, meet-ups, workshops, financing and mentoring), to be defined after evaluating alumni entrepreneurs’ expectations; the ESSEC Alumni database will also be expanded to include an “entrepreneur” criterion.
- Standardized calculation of the year of graduation, which for consistency’s sake will from now on correspond to the year the student started at ESSEC plus 4 years. The subject, which is complex, will be explained fully in future communications.
- The association’s planned move to a more central location, on the RER Line A for a direct connection to Cergy (probably near Opéra) and, on a wider level, to pave the way for synergies with other entities possibly including Antropia ESSEC, ESSEC Ventures, Centrale Supélec, Celsa, Paris Sorbonne, Stanford Club France and Epitech. We also plan to offer coworking spaces and conference rooms for entrepreneurs, consultants, freelancers and professionals in career transition, plus additional spaces for restaurants and meeting up. A finance plan has been approved by the Board and a project team set up, led by Jean Pierre Scotti (E75), who initiated MDE 1, Stéphanie Casciola (E00), partner at LBO France and other experts who have volunteered their services. Help from other alumni, whether for property hunting or funding, would be more than welcome!
- Communication and events, with the recruitment of a dedicated events manager to raise visibility and carry out PR for ESSEC Alumni, and support volunteers; a new format for Reflets ESSEC Magazine and a monthly newsletter in English for international alumni will also be launched.
- Students, with increased support (e.g. Going Pro, mentoring, help with interview preparation, themed and sector-based networking events) and on-site activities led by the campus manager in a range of events (workshops, presentations and meet-ups).
Rémi de Badts has been named an honorary member of ESSEC Alumni in recognition of his outstanding commitment to ESSEC in his capacity as Board member.
Vincenzo Esposito Vinzi passionately reiterated his commitment to combine national presence, international partnerships and global impact to transform ESSEC into a world school – a goal he intends to co-construct with alumni.
Goodbye and thank you, Charles Bouaziz!
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Lorraine Kron du Luart (E96) thanked Charles Bouaziz for agreeing to extend his mandate as Honorary President so as to ensure several important transitions: Stéphanie Jossermoz’ taking up of office, the implementation of lifetime membership, the succession of Jean-Michel Blanquer and the appointment of Vincenzo Esposito Vinzi.
The process to replace the president is underway. The ideal profile? A CEO with international experience, attached to ESSEC and its values, and with an extremely high degree of commitment.
Charles Bouaziz closed the session by thanking the ESSEC community:
- The school itself and Vincenzo Esposito Vinzi for the “magnificent work” they are carrying out at international level.
- The Foundation, which works alongside ESSEC Alumni to accompany the school over the long term, e.g. through scholarships or infrastructure.
- The management board, in particular its president Dr Annick Schwebig, Pierre-Jean Baudey, representative of the CCI, Jean-Luc Decornoy (E75), alumni representative, Edward Arkwright (E96) and Rémi de Badts, « who work so hard to fly the flag for the school alongside the CCI ».
- ESSEC Publications and its director Philippe Desmoulins (E78), who manages Reflets ESSEC Magazine and other quality resources with sound financial management.
- Cortambert Consultants, another of ESSEC Alumni’s subsidiaries to have had a good year.
- Our more than 200 volunteers who run clubs, chapters and entire regions with incredible energy.
- The association’s permament staff, “who are the ones who implement our necessary adaptation”.
Charles Bouaziz gave special thanks to the 5 members of the Board who carried out two mandates with him: “Albert Aïdan, our treasurer for 6 years, who has demonstrated extraordinary passion for the school; Patrick Ducasse (E84) and Fabienne Riom (E81), pillars of wisdom on the Board; Philippe Pasdelou (E85), for his contribution to the challenging role of international promotion; Lorraine Kron du Luart, who contributed to the recruitment of two directors of the school, is extremely active in repositioning the Careers Service and has been an active support in the most difficult moments of my mandate.”
He concluded by saying, “These 7 years have been incredibly rejuvenating, and very emotional. The first Paris business school to adopt lifetime membership, ESSEC alumni has now embarked on a new era: the development of its offering. I hope the ecosystem we’ve developed over recent years is a lasting one. And I wish to ensure a smooth handover with my successor: a healthy continuity - and even greater momentum. Thank you again for your support.”