Serge Mansourian on the MBA and SICT: Interview

Serge Mansourian on the MBA and SICT: Interview

How did an MBA degree help the founder of SICT (Swiss Industrial Consulting and Technology)? Serge Mansourian, Founder and CEO tell us about his company and how his MBA helped him.

Please tell us what your company does: main products or services, size, turnover.

My partners and I founded Swiss Industrial Consulting and Technology (SICT) in 2002 to assist a Chinese company in optimising the development and production of a new and innovative product. Our company now offers a range of specialised services such as the management of outsourcing projects from start to finish, and industrial consulting in the form of advice and technical assistance to companies setting up engineering and manufacturing operations in China.

I chose to do the accelerated MBA at HEC Lausanne because of its excellent reputation and the fact that the programme offers an excellent return on investment.

Our clients include multinationals wishing to gain a competitive edge through production in China, start-ups developing prototypes and companies producing sophisticated high-tech products. Essentially, SICT aims to provide an alternative to the complete delocalisation of European production by offering companies the possibility of benefiting from highly competitive and reliable production processes while conserving their strategic savoir faire. Indeed, with the unstoppable increase in global outsourcing, both our team and our business are expanding rapidly. Our 2006 gross margin target is one million Swiss Francs.

Please can you tell us about your educational and career background before business school.

After graduating from the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne in 1994, I started working for Rolex as a project leader for multi-disciplinary projects. I then became manager of the industrialisation department, in charge of a team of ten project leaders. Our mission was the optimisation of the product and the manufacturing process using state-of-theart manufacturing technologies. My last position at Rolex was as Senior Manager in charge of Research and Development, a role that gave me a high degree of autonomy in terms of budget and decision making.

What motivated your decision to attend business school and why did you choose the MBA programme at HEC Lausanne?

Although the projects I dealt with at Rolex were complex and interesting, I felt that I wanted to get closer to the strategic core of the business. After considering several options, I decided that an MBA in general management would be the best way to gain an in-depth understanding of all the functions of the company, and to acquire the necessary tools to start my own business as soon as the right opportunity came along. I chose to do the accelerated MBA at HEC Lausanne because of its excellent academic reputation and the fact that the programme offers an excellent return on investment.

Please can you tell us how your career has progressed since business school?

On finishing my MBA, I joined the LVMH luxury goods group as Director of Operations for TAG Heuer. In 2003, I was appointed Managing Director of the group's industrial division for watch-making. I had a dual objective: to significantly improve quality standards and, at the same time, to increase production volumes within a period of 6 months: a tall order that involved introducing major changes to both operations and product development. Towards the end of 2004, a fantastic business opportunity came my way and so, having achieved the objectives I had set myself, I left LVMH to fulfil my dream of starting my own company.

How has your MBA helped you reach your leadership position?

A comprehensive understanding of a company's many different activities has been invaluable to me as CEO of a rapidly growing company. I have made particular use of the financial knowledge I gained, as, unlike in a large group like LVMH or Rolex, when you set up a new business, you need to be in constant contact with potential investors to ensure the long-term future of your business. I feel my solid knowledge of all business functions has been particularly helpful on the highly competitive Asian market.

What advice would you offer to young professionals considering an MBA?

Develop a clear idea of your professional objectives before you start the degree. If you aim to become a specialist, then perhaps this is not the most suitable course for you. However, if you aim to create your own company or you want to break through from a technical position into a management position, then this degree will help you develop the strategic vision you require.

Source: QS TopMBA Career Guide

Written by QS Blogger
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