The New-York chapter of Arts et Métiers alumni took part in the annual AAGEF (French Grandes Ecoles Alumni Federation) regatta, cruising to a very honorable 4th place in the New-York harbor.

They then enjoyed a networking cocktail with other Grandes Ecoles alumni at the District, facing the New-York north cove Marina

Thanks to the 5 sailors and our supporters! See you next year for the win!

On the pictures:

The Gadz'arts Navy (Jean-Baptiste Commans, Alexis Garnier, Remi Honoré, Julien Bonnay, Arthur Chevalier)

Last photo: Networking cocktail at the District

Our GadzArts live and work almost in every part of the United States. There are more of them in SF Bay area, Houston area and NYC one. But as Anne-Perrine Avrin (Bo 208) said in her recent spring interview to AFAM: "Wherever I travel, I’m probably never far from a member of the Gadz’Arts family".

Boston has its small gadzarts community too which is led by AFAM Boston representative Adrien Monvoisin (Cl 204)

On the picture: Gadz Happy Hour in Boston on May 9th.

Gadz from left to right: Audren Cloitre, Adrien Monvoisin, Philippe Riand, Charles Le Rouvillois, Alban de Lauzanne

Anne-Perrine Avrin (Bo 208) discovered the United States while pursuing her internship at the University of California, Berkeley. Today Anne-Perrine is sharing some thoughts on her American journey, her professional experience and life in the US.

  1. Tell us about your career path and area of expertise today. How did it come about?

 

While studying at Art et Metiers, I pursued a dual engineering degree with the INSTN (French Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology) at the end of which I undertook an internship in the nuclear engineering department at the University of California, Berkeley. Having a deep interest in areas relating to clean energy development and energy access, I chose, after this internship, to pursue a Master and a PhD in the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley in collaboration with Framatome. My thesis focused on breaking the bolt of the cost-efficient deployment and use of nuclear and renewable energies in China. During these 5 years as a student at UC Berkeley, I had the opportunity to work on research topics at Tsinghua university in China and at IIASA in Austria, on corporate strategy and innovation projects at Framatome in Paris and Beijing, and with non-profit entities on energy microgrids in the Democratic republic of Congo and on sustainable, limited-income housing in Oakland, CA. I graduated from my PhD in 2018 and, since then, I’ve been working on energy and tech projects as a management consultant for McKinsey in Washington, DC.

 

  1. What does your daily work routine look like? How does being a Gadz’Arts help you in your everyday tasks and team management?

The work routine in management consulting is very typical and yet never the same. While the job varies quite a lot from one client to another, all projects require structure to provide solid, rigorous solutions, flexibility, as “one size fits all” answers do not apply to consulting, and resilience, as travels and long hours can sometimes be tiring.

At Arts et Metiers, I’ve learnt how to be a teammate, how to use and combine our internal resources and reach out to more experienced people when needed, and to provide help and support to the more junior ones. There, I was taught how being an engineer consists in finding a viable, practical solution to a problem. During my years at the school, achievements such as building my own bookshelves and surf board with the means that were provided, which might sound like little successes but took me weeks of learning and dedication, were key in building a mindset of structure, flexibility and resilience that I use today at work.

Finally, it’s always a nice feeling to know that, wherever I travel, I’m probably never far from a member of the Gadz’Arts family.

 

  1. How did you come to the US- why and when? How is your work life different than in France?

While I have always had a sweet spot for travels, mostly through literature, it’s really my internship in Shenzhen during my second year at Arts et Metiers that convinced me to reiterate an experience abroad. A year after, at the end of the A&M curriculum, I chose to undertake my PFE (six-month internship) in the nuclear engineering department at the University of California, Berkeley. This was made feasible thanks to the intellectual and financial support of the CEA, the Fondation européenne pour les énergies de demain (EDF) and the Institut de France. Little did I know, at the time, that I would spend the rest of my twenties in the US. Yet, the free spirit of innovation that surrounded me as soon as I touched ground in the San Francisco Bay Area convinced me right away that this experience would change me forever.

 

The collaboration with Framatome during my time at Berkeley gave me a taste of different job environments both in the US and in France. While each industry, each entity, has its own particularities, and I don’t think I can draw nationwide generalities from this experience, I did notice that academic research is much more often backed by for-profit entities in the US than in France, and that the expected business outcome plays a bigger part in the development of industrial processes in the US than in France. Determining which approach is the best depends on the context and objectives of the project at stake.

 

  1. What is the best advice someone ever gave you? Why?

There are two powerful phrases that I’ve tried to use as guides in recent years. The first one is “De l’audace, encore l’audace, toujours de l’audace” (“we must dare, dare, and dare again”) from Danton, which my siblings like to quote. The second one is the definition of “serendipity” (a state-of-mind that allows for repetitively making desirable discoveries not sought after), a word that one of my fellow lab-mates taught me when I arrived in the US and which, surprisingly, has no exact equivalent in many other languages including French.

A lesson that I learnt across the years is to never hesitate to talk to new people and to speak up your mind, as what you say will most often be received positively as long as you have honest intentions.

 

 

Thank you again, Anne-Perrine, for sharing your experience and thoughts on life in the USA for Gadz'Arts! AFAM is grateful for your support.

Interview with Anne-Perrine is nicely ending our series of interviews with women Gadz'Arts "Celebrating Spring"

Please read other interviews:

Interview with Mathilde Deveraux (Bo 211)

Interview with Soazig Kaam (Bo 209)

Interview with Fanny Thublier (Li 209)

Interview with Basma Aiouche (Cl 214)

AFAM continues celebrating spring with our women Gadz'arts. Please meet Mathilde Deveraux (Bo 211), our Shasta Mentor, passionate about aviation, living and working in the US since 2014. Mathilde will tell us more about her life and work in the US and her enthusiasm for traveling.

  1. Tell us about your career path and area of expertise today. How did it come about?

I have always been passionate about aviation and understand the dynamics of a plane and the flight operations. I did my internships at Air France, and then at Airbus to gain the airframer experience. I started working in flight tests for the A320 Neo. That gave me more insights on how planes were tested. I then wanted to understand the maintenance operations and moved to Zodiac Services and to the USA. The aftermarket branch of the company. There I started as a Market and Program Analyst. I discovered the American market and understood how different it can be from the European one. I then moved to manage long term programs with American customers and understood with first-hand experience the complexity of the USA. I just recently took over the Boeing account and I am still discovering new things on aircraft maintenance and the supplier/customer relationship. 

 

  1. What do you do every day at work? How does being a Gadz’Arts help you in your everyday tasks and team management?

My work is a mix of project management, customer relationship and technical expertise. I work in a multidisciplinary environment, from airline mechanics to VP of Sales. Being a Gadzart helped me adapt my language to my audience and explain the situation with either technical or commercial words. The technical background allowed gaining the confidence of the shop and the project management the respect of the management team. I learned to be adaptive, innovative, flexible, and to learn fast.

Finally, the most important is to understand you cannot do anything alone and you need to be a team player and understand each player skills to bring the team to the top. This is not only true when you are a Gadzart, it is true for your whole career. 

 

  1. How did you come to the US- why and when? How is your work life different than in France?

I first came to the USA to do a double diploma with the Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta in 2013. I graduated in 2015, went back to France for work and missed the work environment of the USA so I came back a year later with a VIE. I felt I had more freedom and more possibilities to grow in the USA. In France, I was perceived as a Gadzart so I had to do mechanics. In the USA, if you can prove you can do it then you have the job, they care less about your studies and believe more in you.

 

 

  1. What is the best advice someone ever gave you? Why?

“Believe in yourself. Never think you are not good enough, never stop trying”. We are setting our own limits and thus we need to believe in ourselves to go to where we want to be. I got scared when I was told I had a $5 million contract to manage but I grew to understand that if you want you can do anything. I am now managing the Boeing Program and starting to negotiate contracts with them while I feel I am still a young kid on the school bench.  If you want to grow, don’t think that you are too young, too inexperienced, too anything for that position, just give it a try.

 

  1. What is one favorite way to spend your free time (hobbies, weekend activities)?

I enjoy traveling, hiking, discovering new places and meeting different people. Being in Atlanta, the biggest airport in the world, I can travel anywhere. My goal is to visit all 52 states before I leave the USA. I am currently at 48, with 2 planned in the coming months. The diversity in the USA makes almost every city unique.

Thank you, Mathilde, for sharing with us and for supporting AFAM!

This spring and summer AFAM continues interviewing smart and successful women gadz'arts living and working in the US. Today please meet Soazig Kaam (Bo 209) who will tell us about her life and work in San Francisco bay area.

1. Tell us about your career path and area of expertise today. How did it come about?

I have always wanted to work addressing Climate Change. I started in this field conducting research at the Center for the Built Environment (CBE). My research focused on Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) and energy efficiency in commercial buildings. Later, I specialized in data-driven approaches for smart HVAC controls in commercial buildings, with a focus on computer programming, data analysis and visualization. I just started my new job in the Global Sustainability Strategy team at Wework as a senior lead for the energy program. Prior to that, I worked as an energy engineer and data analyst at BuildingIQ, a technology-enabled services start-up provider of HVAC energy management solutions.

2. What do you do every day at work? How does being a Gadz’Arts help you in your everyday tasks and team management?

My work is a good mix of technical expertise, team and project management. At BuildingIQ, I held a cross-functional role connecting Strategic Operations, Product, R&D and Data Science. I developed products and tools to support our operations team with data analytics. I led projects to develop new products and services for smart HVAC controls. I also owned the energy audit piece of the business: acting as the technical expert in pre-sales calls and internal meetings. In the start-up environment, you are often the first person at your position, so you often have to “figure it out”. Being adaptable, creative, flexible and a fast-learner are big assets. In addition, being a team player and showing empathy are also critical for me. I can say that being a Gadz’Arts helped me develop and nurture these skills.

3. How did you come to the US- why and when? How is your work life different than in France?

Before starting my 3rd year at Art et Metiers ParisTech, I did an internship at the Center for the Built Environment (CBE) at UC Berkeley. After graduating Arts et Métiers ParisTech in 2013, I started my grad program in Building Science/Architecture at UC Berkeley. I graduated in December 2016 and have been working in the Bay Area since then. I don’t have much experience working in France so I cannot really compare.

4. What is the best advice someone ever gave you? Why?

“You have so much potential and you have so much to offer, but you cannot be at your best if you don’t take care of yourself first.” Back in 2016, I had to drop out of the PhD program after 3 years (out of 5). It was hard for me to give up on this, but ultimately, I realized the timing and fit were not right and it started to take a toll on my mental health. Friends and family were really supportive and helped me realize that my work outside of academia could be as impactful as pursuing a PhD. Ultimately, I have decided to put my health and well-being first, gave up on the PhD, got a Master’s degree instead. The last 2.5 years have been so fulfilling. I have gained such valuable professional experience that helped me land my dream job in the city. I have realized that I am at my best where my life does not solely evolve around work and when I am able to find this nice work-life balance. From the free time I have gained, I was able to explore more: community projects, meeting new people, joining a dance company, playing music and exploring other creative outlets.

5. What is one favorite way to spend your free time (hobbies, weekend activities)?

The Bay Area has plenty of outdoor activities opportunities. I love going on hikes, camping, backpacking, running. The Bay is also a great place for creative experiences. I practice dance. I joined a hip-hop dance company in Oakland for 1 year, now I am mostly taking weekly classes. I play music. I used to be a lead vocal in a band here. Now, it’s mostly jam sessions between friends and occasional shows. I am a fashion designer. I was a design director and charity runway show producer for the UC Berkeley fashion club for 3 years.

Thank you again, Soazig, for sharing your experience and thoughts on life in the USA for Gadz'Arts! AFAM is grateful for your support.