Admissions: tell it like it is! Specialist interview with Nathalie Clair le 25/11/2014

Admissions: tell it like it is! Specialist interview with Nathalie Clair - KEDGE

A frank and candid perspective on EMBA admissions…well, you can count on Nathalie Clair to provide this.  After many years of working with candidates and participants at all levels, Nathalie remains a definite Kedge specialist in this area…  Her strong feelings about the value of the EMBA are clear…and she shares them with us here.  

K:  What is your role within the MBA?

N.C.:  I manage the coordination of admissions for the Kedge Global MBA programme.  I meet candidates, counsel them, orient them and carefully monitor them until they become fully integrated.  My specialization is finding new sources of co-funding allowing participants to all or part of their MBA project.

K:  What objectives do you have for the future EMBA’s that you work with?

N.C.:  That they have the « Kedge MBA Spirit » !  The desire to change their points of view is a “must”… that they are ambitious and that they accomplish their personal and professional dreams.  Most importantly, that they become “good” alumni proud of their degree and their school!

K:  What should an EMBA candidate be looking for in a programme?


  • The international :  the three accreditations, a strong ranking in the Financial Times and putting the international into action at every level via courses, seminars and fellow participants.
  • The Quality of the MBA alumni and participant network as well as the full Kedge Business School network.
  • That the programme adapts itself well to their personal and professional constraints.
  • Have a high-quality and individualized accompaniment for personal development in sync with their capacities to be a strong entrepreneur and a good leader.

K:  What should an EMBA candidate expect from the admissions team?


  • Professionalism :  we well understand financing mechanisms associated with training programmes and we often meet HR Directors within our candidates’ companies in order to develop a plan for financially supporting our MBA participants.
  • Objectivity and an Ethical Approach:  I would never tell a candidate they have the right profile to do an Executive MBA if I did not think it was true.
  • Support:  We put everything into place so that a candidate with the ideal profile can do the Executive MBA even if they have difficulties convincing their company or finding additional financing if necessary.

K:  What should they NOT expect?

N.C.:  Wishy-washy advice !  You can count on me to redirect a candidate toward another programme (short, degree or another MBA) or to tell a candidate to wait a bit before applying in order to be best positioned with respect to our selection criteria.

For example, I have already advised a candidate to undertake an MBA other than ours because he had an objective and a passion linked to aeronautics.  He was working in managerial accounting and wanted to change careers. My advice was to suggest that he apply to the “Aerospace MBA” and since, he has been working in this domain internationally.  He is very happy and we have remained in contact.

K:  What are your feelings concerning how best to handle the financing of the programme?

N.C.:  Be imaginative.  Everything is possible as certain avenues are still unknown to HR Directors.  Anticipate as early as possible in order to not be limited by administrative deadlines. Persevere!  A “no” from an HR Director one year, may become a “yes” the following year because the candidate has positively developed in their manner of working as a consequence of what the MBA gives.

K:  How can an EMBA candidate reduce the stress of applying to the programme?

N.C.:  By preparing well and as well in advance as possible, and by taking advantage of Master classes which permit a candidate to auto-evaluate their objectives, motivations and obstacles.

K:  What are examples of successful goals/objectives?

N.C.:  I would say that from the moment an objective is explored during the individual coaching sessions, it is solid.  After many years of experience, there  are no limits in my opinion.  I’ve seen that any professional dream can happen…sometimes much to my surprise!  Conservatively speaking, I would say that becoming international in scope or obtaining dual-competencies are the most cited during initial interviews.

K:  What are some common “danger areas” for EMBA’s during their MBA experience?

N.C.:  Not really being ready to go the distance in questioning oneself, to disrupt various professional and personal certitudes.

Not having the full support of family or harboring a sort of guilt about taking time away from family to do an MBA when conversely family can share in and benefit first-hand from new ideas and personal and professional reflections.

Not have sufficiently anticipated the work to be provided and, thus, feel “drowned”.  This can happen especially in the beginning of the programme but we are here to reassure and , in certain cases, modulate the programme when personal or professional constraints became too much.

K:  What do you enjoy most about working with EMBA candidates/participants?

N.C.:  The candidates !  often during workshops, an interview, candid discussion about the programme or a chat with alumni…. To experience « en direct » that our MBA is right for them and to be part of this risky adventure … I’m passionate about this aspect of the MBA!

With participants, witness the speed and ease with which they progress.  They are more serene and more sure of themselves and their choices.  They are so different than when they arrived…gaining human values and global vision of the business world…. And this is a major the objective of Kedge Business School; respect of differences and long-term vision.

This manner of understanding professional life and… life in general… corresponds perfectly with my own values and I’m proud of having believed in them even when I may have had initial doubts in our first meetings.

The graduation ceremony, a moment filled with emotion when we know what the adventure and sacrifices really represent.  I think back to the obstacles overcome.. finding financing for even applying, moments of doubt, joy, and ultimately… success !

K:  What can a candidate do, prior to starting the MBA, to increase their chances of success?

N.C.:  Be sure of their motivations for doing not only an MBA in general,  but this particular MBA and avoid overall frustrations..

Be sure of family support… of companions … in order to fully experience the moments spent on the programme and share with other participants without frustration.


Nathalie CLAIR

Nathalie CLAIR  After completing law studies, Nathalie pursued Finance within Kedge Business School.  Holder of a D.E.A. in Banking Finance, she worked in banking prior to joining Kedge and undertaking roles in communications and external relations.  Today, she is in charge of the coordination of admissions for the Kedge Global MBA.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Kirt Wood +33 (0)6 03 34 32 94


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