#Foundation
09.01.2023

Doctoral course at ESC Clermont BS: Grégory BLANCHARD

Gregory BLANCHARD, a former student of the of the Executive Master in Management – MBA Program (class of 2018), recently completed his Doctoral Thesis and obtained his PhD in Management Science last November. Throughout his doctoral studies which were supervised by Anne-Albert CROMARIAS, Gregory has been actively involved in various projects in the school (teaching assistant, jury member for the ‘Les Négociales’ student negotiation championships etc.). Here’s a short summary of his career to date and how the Groupe ESC’s Foundation has helped him.

Groupe ESC Foundation in Support of Career Development

Groupe ESC Foundation provides funding to provide and develop services for students, graduates, and companies as well as resources to promote the school’s educational strategy. The foundation finances projects in 4 main areas:

– social inclusion and equal opportunities
– pedagogical innovation and applied research
– entrepreneurial dynamics
– professional integration

The Foundation also provides 2 types of scholarships to help ESC Clermont Business School students who are interested in a career in teaching and research:

  • Pre-doctoral course scholarship: this scholarship is open to applicants enrolled in the final year of the Master in Management Program and covers the tuition fees for the «Initiation to Research in Management Sciences” course at the University of Clermont Auvergne. This extra qualification allows students to pursue a doctoral course and validate their thesis.
  • The “Doctoral Track “scholarship: This scholarship helps to finance 50% of the wages of a doctoral student recruited by ESC Clermont Business School throughout his or her 3-year doctoral course. The presence of doctoral students within the school gives valuable backing to our teacher-researcher staff as well as an extra boost to research and teaching resources within the school. From the year 2023 onwards, priority will be given to candidates whose research projects focus on SD&RS issues.

Grégory BLANCHARD, Career Overview.

YOU JOINED THE “MBA – EXECUTIVE MASTER IN MANAGEMENT” PROGRAMME AT ESC CLERMONT BS IN 2017. WHAT WAS YOUR MAIN OBJECTIVE AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROGRAMME?

I joined the MBA Program in 2016, and at that time, my main goal was to get a qualification which would be on parr with my skills. I was also considering applying for the VAE scheme which is a French certification aimed at validating professional experience with a state-recognized qualification.

I first found out about the Executive MBA program when I met Isabelle Valleix (Department of Continuing Education) during one of the School’s Open-House days and decided that this program would give me the opportunity to develop new skills and update my knowledge.

AFTER OBTAINING YOUR DEGREE AND VALIDATING YOUR COMPLEMENTARY RESEARCH QUALIFICATION, YOU JOINED THE DOCTORAL COURSE OFFERED BY ESC CLERMONT BS. HOW DID THE GROUPE ESC FOUNDATION SUPPORT YOUR THESIS PROJECT?

The ESC Group Foundation financed the research part of my doctoral contract. This allowed me to be work full time at ESC Clermont BS. 50% of my time was devoted to teaching in the field of negotiation/sales (for the school) and the rest of my time was devoted to my PhD research. Without the Foundation, I would not have been able to fund my thesis, and this would have greatly complicated my doctoral career.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO A PhD? DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS POSSIBILITY BEFORE COMING TO ESC CLERMONT BS? WHAT IS THE INTEREST OF DOING A THESIS FOR YOU AND FOR THE SCHOOL?

I had never even considered doing a PhD until I joined the Executive MBA program and started to work on my master’s thesis. Much to my surprise, I discovered how much I really enjoy research, and as I like to pass on my knowledge, the idea of becoming a teacher-researcher really appealed to me, so I decided, why not give it a try?

The idea of doing a thesis was, for me, motivated by the challenge; Would I be capable? Furthermore, it was a great opportunity to acquire new knowledge, and grow intellectually. I’ve always been a bookworm, so it wasn’t an obstacle to try.

For me, there were several advantages for the school itself. The principal reason is that it is difficult to find and train international profiles, and especially teacher-researcher in the field of sales and commercial negotiation. They are a quite rare commodity! Furthermore, researchers increase the volume of scientific contributions of the school and increase the school’s position in the various rankings.

YOUR THESIS IS ENTITLED “CRAFT AND IDENTITY(IES): INTERACTIONS BETWEEN DIFFERENT IDENTITIES”. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS THEME?

During my MBA master’s thesis, I observed that there were very few works available regarding crafts. It was an opportunity that had to be seized. I am, personally, quite a fan of the craft industry, and being able to help craft-oriented companies by doing management research was an attractive idea.

AFTER 3 YEARS OF QUALITY DOCTORAL WORK, YOU DEFENDED YOUR THESIS ON THE 29th of NOVEMBER. HOW WAS THIS LONG-AWAITED MOMENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?

I was rather worried, because the members of my jury are highly qualified, recognized academics, and like many doctoral students, I was confronted with the famous imposter syndrome. But I received a lot of support from my thesis director, Anne Albert-Cromarias, which really helped me to tackle this moment. In the end, my thesis defense was fine!

My professional project has therefore been achieved, as I am now a full-time teacher-researcher at ESC Clermont BS. I hope to make modest contributions, both in teaching and in research, for the benefit of our students and local businesses.

WHAT WILL YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THIS CAREER? WHAT WAS THE HARDEST MOMENT DURING YOUR THESIS? THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT?

I remember several things. Firstly, it’s hard! Secondly, it’s rewarding! If I had to do it again, I would do it without hesitation.

The hardest moment, I think, was the last few months and the finalization of the manuscript. It was very, very difficult.

The most beautiful moment was when I received the validation of the jury, after the deliberation, with quite positive comments. It was a great recognition of the work done.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A CANDIDATE WHO WANTS TO DO A THESIS?

I think I would give candidates two pieces of advice: the first and most important one would be to choose a subject that they are passionate about. The second would be to choose your thesis supervisor carefully.

Did you know?

Experts in their field, the school’s permanent professors are involved in research activities. The works of teacher-researchers, are published in French and English top-level scientific journals, as well as in books.

Teacher-researchers may also coordinate the preparation of books in collaboration with other researchers, speak at conferences as guests or present their work at national and international conferences.

The quality of research conducted by ESC Clermont Business School faculty members is also measured in terms of impact. This scientific work must be able to shed light on current issues and be addressed to the greatest number of people. This is one of the reasons why the school collaborates with “The Conversation”, a public media, 100% free of charge and under a Creative Commons license.

The ESC Clermont Business School research deals with innovation in management and is divided into three axes of CleRMA (Clermont Research Management), a joint research laboratory in Management Sciences at ESC Clermont BS and UCA:

  • AMPHI axis (Alter Management, Human Potential, Innovation)
  • STeRA (Strategy, Territory and Networks of Actors)
  • FIRE (Finance, Information and Corporate Responsibility)

Today, the school’s permanent teaching staff is made up of 53 professors, all of whom are working to promote the school’s reputation and establish its expertise and authority in France and abroad.

Research, a real strategic axis of ESC Clermont BS

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