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18 June 2020

Guillaume KASSACHVILI (TBS 2018) - Global Procurement Manager with adidas

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"At the end of your studies, you are only halfway through learning"

Why did you choose Toulouse and TBS to persue your studies ? 

The school appeared to be the most professional one during the oral exams and the best one to provide me with added value. The campus in the city centre and Rugby did the rest!

Can you tell us about your time as a student at TBS ?

I joined the Master in Management program in the first year. 

I started the first term by revising subjects I had not studied during my bachelor degree (in particular, Finance). I then went into the mainstream curriculum where I liked subjects such as Business Plans, for example. I went on to choose "Innovation Management, Supply Chain & Procurement", above all for the procurement aspects.

After a year out (2 internships) between logistics (Pernod-Ricard, Marseille) and procurement (adidas, Germany), my second year of the master's program was in "Procurement & Logistics" and I wanted to persue procurement. 

Do you have any stories to share with us ? (Associations, students, projects, lecturers etc.)

The associations feel stressful in the beginning (between interviews and the first steps) but in the end they are actually really good fun and there are there are zero hassles. 

I joined TBcook and two weeks later I spent an entire night cooking 600 meals for the derby (and most of the food was "tasted" during the preparation).

I took advantage of the campaigns to call to my flatmates to join a washing-up rally. It was great fun to invite friends and rivals and watch them all clean up the flat. 

Otherwise, with the Rugby I specifically remember the Garonne Derby (TBS vs Kedge Bordeaux). In the fourth year : the Elite Higher Education Establishment tournament, the school songs and the restaurant "The Saint des Seins".

What were your main objectives when you started work after your degree ? What was your motivation ?

The year out gave me the chance to look into working life. By the time I reached the fourth year I was ready to work. So I made the most of my last 4 months as a student before launching into my first contract with peace of mind. My first professional objective was to learn. 

I was (and continue to be) a sponge. Absorb all the feedback and above all continue to reflect on how to continuously improve, even when you receive a compliment. 

What are you currently doing ?

I have been working for adidas for 3 years now (including the year out), transferred to Amsterdam a year and a half ago with a permanent work contract. Since I started, I have been working in the Global Indirect Procurement Department and I take care of procurement for events as well as all of the Project Management parts for the Director of Marketing Procurement. 

On a personal level, I live with a flatmate from TBS and we love the city. Moreover, we have a great little community of Alumni and students from the school and we are looking forward to the next batch. 

Why did your make this career choice ? 

Firstly I chose adidas because I have always been very interested in the brand and it was my main objective. 

Next, I have always been attracted to the procurement sector, above all, as regards the negotiation and relations with agencies and with our internal partners. I was given the chance and I jumped at it. During my final internship, I immediately got on well with the team who believed in me right from the start. From then on, it was the ideal framework in which to make progress. 

At what point did you know that this was the right path for you?  

I was hooked right from my internship. There is negotiation, a great deal of dialogue and excellent exposure. The adidas management team did all they could to put me in the best conditions possible and to help me learn. When they contacted me six months after the Master 2, I didn't hesitate for a second. 

How did you get to where you are today in your professional career ? 

My first traineeship in year 2 of the unviersity bachelor was a total failure. In the beginning I was very proud of myself and thought I was the best in the world. They calmed me down by giving me the job of hanging clothes on hangers for two months. I learned my first lesson : Learn first and prove yourself before expecting anything back. 

I did the third year of my bachelor in the Erasmus program in England and I gained in maturity. It opened my eyes to the world and I made considerable progress in English. I learned my second lesson : If you get out of your comfort zone, you will become better. 

My first final year traineeship with Pernod-Ricard taught me about professional life and the value of human relationships with colleagues. 

Finally, after my last short term contract with adidas, I was swayed this way and that with different job offers. I kept my faith in the company and showed my determination to stay faithful to it. When I saw them fighting over me and finally offering me the position I wanted, I realized how lucky I was, in the best place to continue developing my skills.  

What benefits did you get from your studies for your professional situation ?

I considered that each year in my life as a student provided me with another serious avenue to acquire skills. I learned something new every year. When you are not acquiring knowledge on an academic level, you are on a personal level. 

Finally, as far as I am concerned, the biggest element of success created by TBS is developing "SMART" people. All the students know how to think, adapt, react and perform in most circumstances. That might seem simple, but it not everybody can do so. 

Where do you see yourself in ten years' time ?

10 years is a long way away! For the beginning, I don't see myself leaving Amsterdam (but the world offers so many opportunities...), nor adidas. I have allowed myself a threee-year cycle to make progress. I am nearly at the end of that cycle and I am thinking about changing departments. 

In 10 years' time I hope to have accomplished several professional projects with my friends. I hope that I won't have become an old and bitter manager and that I will still be on the learning curve. 

How did the Alumni network support you ?

As I mentioned earlier, I am lucky. I found my traineeship with adidas through an Alumni (Pierre Manivit) who posted the offer and he really supported me and coached me to get the position. Then, in Germany, as in Holland, I found several students from TBS which made my experience even better. It is truly a pleasure to be part of this community.  

How would you recommend using the network ?

On a professional level (employment search), use the network when an Alumni posts (or shares) a job offer. Outside of this scope, it is difficult to help someone.

On a personal level, if you arrive in the city, don't hesitate to contact the network to get advice on accommodation or to have a beer together. It is always useful. (I can assure you that you will receive a warm welcome in Amsterdam.)

What advice would you give to TBS Alumni, students or graduates ?

Be SMART, flexible, become a sponge at work, stay full of energy and above all take advantage of your student years : begin your professional life without any regrets. 

Finally, are you willing for Alumni to contact you directly if they are interested in your career path ? 

Yes, always available to chat ! 


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