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03 February 2020

Our Incredible Life Journeys: Gregoire ANTOINE (TBS 2005)

Gregoire has just returned after 9 years as an expat in New Zealand and then Tahiti. Today Gregoire is COO in a young Toulouse company. He recommends that the Alumni Network is an opportunity first to contribute, before taking advantage of it ! 

Could you say a few words about yourself ?

My name is Grégoire Antoine, I graduated from TBS in 2005, from the Master in Management (formally Sup de Co Toulouse).

Why did you choose Touloue, and TBS, to study ?

At the time I was doing preparatory classes in Aix en Provence and ESC Toulouse was part of the Ecricome admission system. When I came to Toulouse for the orals, I fell in love with the atmosphere of Toulouse, so I put it down as my first choice. No regrets there ! 

Tell us about your time as a student at TBS ?

My time as a student was similar to most peoples, with many souvenirs today, in particular, from a human point of view. After the preparatory classes, I needed to wind down so I really made the most of the social and association side of the school. Very soon into the first year, I joined the BDE Effervescence team list and I invested alot of my time to this project. We were elected so I stayed on bord until the end !

Looking back, my only regret is not taking a year out, which would have given me more experience in business. At the time, I chose to stay in the school to finalise the BDE adventure. 

Have you any stories to share with us ? (student associations, projects, professors, etc.)

I have loads, like every year, I'm convinced mine was the best ! I distinctly remember how the election lists were "pancaked" - an event based on pancake night quickly degenerated into a pitched battle with flour and eggs in the corridors. 

 

Who are you today ?

What were your objectives when you started work after your degree ? 

It took me a few months to find work, perhaps I was lacking in professional maturity. It wasn't the easiest time for me because I left the School with high ambitions and the impression that I was invincible. In the end, this time helped me get back on track.

What are you doing today ?

Today, my personal and professional situations are different because I have just come back from living in New Zealand. I spent 9 years there, in the field of communication and advertising, including time as a Director of Sales, latterly, managing everyday operations for a communications agency.

I am in a period of change as I settle back to French life and Toulouse, with all the changes that implies from material, social, financial and professional standpoints. I recently accepted the position of COO for a young company which is specialised in intercultural management. 

Why did you choose this area of activity ?

I have always liked communication and the variety of roles of a Director of Sales - working between design teams, strategy and front line client contact. Over time I learned about the support role in a service company such as an agency, with the challenges regarding team management, commercial and financial, workflow management and processes. 

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

Rather than choosing a path like a vocation, in my opinion, it is a combination of initial interest ("hey, advertising looks fun"), with luck, perseverance and seizing opportunities or not. I spent 10 years in communication and I'm about to start a new career, simply because I took up the opportunity. 

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

I firmly believe in a set of values which helped me learn and get to where I am today. These values include caring, responsibility, honesty, empathy. In my opinion, it is not so much the technical skills that count, more the mixture of soft skills - in company life as in life in general - and the positive mindset of seeing your glass half full rather than half empty.   

How did your studies help you reach your personal and professional achievements ?

My studies developed my into the person I am. If academic skills are important, the key is developing our capacity to solve problems, to have a clear vision and maintain our level of motivation and determination to take a project through to completion. This is what I learned at the school.  

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time ?

Having worked abroad twice, I admit that I would like to stay here in Toulouse ! My spouse and I are founding a family and appreciating life as it is. As regards work, I don't have slightest clue! I take on adventures one after the other, and I am in the starting blocks for a new experience in intercultural skills. 

How do you position yourself with the Alumni network?

In Auckland, New Zealand, I was in charge of the TBS Alumni chapter even if there aren't many of us. Now I am back in Toulouse, I am undergoing discussions with the team to see how I can help as per their needs and the time I have available. Perhaps bring back the Marketing & Communications Tribe that is dormant ?

How did the Alumni network support you ?

The network is important at key moments, which is why it is important not to overlook it, rather maintain it on an every day basis. For example, when we arrived in Tahiti on our first expatriation, I met up with an alumni who gave me my first job there. 

How would you recommend using the network ?

Sometimes we can take advantage of the network, so it's important to give back. It is not an obligation, it's not a" paying service when we pay our university fees" as I have heard it said when I was at the school, it is the feeling of belonging and cohesion to be sustained. If everyone takes and no-one gives, the system can't work.  

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

Don't neglect the TBS Alumni network. It gives weight and value to our degree and that might be useful at certain times in life. so start by contributing (what you can, time, funding, skills). 

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

With pleasure.


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