Interview with Thomas Berthou, President of the Paris School of Business Foundation
Thomas Berthou, who graduated from Paris School of Business in 2013, joined the Alumni association in 2015. He shares with us about the Paris School of Business Foundation project, of which he is the president.
Can you introduce yourself ?
My name is Thomas Berthou, I joined the Paris School of Business in 2008 to join the five-year Grande Ecole programme. During my first two years of the programme, I did an internship at Rolland Garros, participated in a BDE campaign and was responsible for the BDS events department.
In the third year, I went to Australia for a year to do a double degree at Griffith University on the Gold Coast campus. Back in Paris, I joined the CCA (accounting, control and audit) master's programme, during which I was able to spend a semester as an exchange student at the University of Yonsei in South Korea and do an audit internship at Mazars.
After a final internship in management control for the Safran group, I got my first permanent contract in the same group, where I stayed for seven years. First as a central management controller for the maintenance and repair of aircraft engines, then as an industrial management controller for the foundry area, with a factory in Gennevilliers and one in Guiyang, China. Last year, I joined the Brandt group as head of operations management control.
In parallel to my professional career, I also joined the Alumni association in 2015 as treasurer. Then, in 2019, I became Secretary General when we launched the Foundation project.
What is your role within Paris School of Business Foundation ?
I have been in charge of the Foundation's project since its launch, which includes coordinating the actions carried out, donor relations, setting up administrative rituals and leading meetings of the executive committee, which makes decisions on governance. I am also the interface between the Paris School of Business and the Foundation.
Can you introduce the Foundation ?
The Paris School of Business Foundation has an educational vocation which is expressed in two ways :
- Raising awareness of CSR and intrapreneurship among students.
- Education in the broadest sense of the word through the diffusion of scientific research in an accessible format and the creation of student scholarships.
How did you come up with the idea for the Foundation ?
The idea came to us when, with the Alumni association, we realised that there were a lot of initiatives led by Alumni, but that there was a lack of a reference point to help them grow and to support them. We therefore want to offer this reference point to Alumni who wish to invest in the common good.
What are the Foundation's future projects ?
We started by launching an emergency fund to support students affected by the crisis, to whom we were able to provide food vouchers, rent subsidies or grants for computer equipment. We all remember our student years, the tight budgets, the stress of exams, the difficulty of finding your first internship. It is not always easy in normal times, but in times of crisis... So, while we had a few resources at our disposal, it seemed essential to find an answer to a situation in which it was quite simple to project oneself.
We also helped publish the White Paper "Acting in a Covid World" and recently launched our Research Review "Intelligible", which aims to share scientific work in a way that is accessible to all. We also support the GduCoeur school charity throughout the year. We would like to publish new issues of Intelligible and continue to support Alumni initiatives such as the Guria or Nosy Komba projects.
The future project of the Foundation is to set up scholarships, starting by accompanying the most deserving students during their year of study abroad, often the most complex financially but so important in terms of experience. Once the crisis is over, and student jobs are once again possible in a simpler way, we would like to support fewer people but with a larger grant.
What were the difficulties encountered in launching the Foundation ?
This project was due to start when the Covid crisis began, which turned all our plans upside down. We had to adapt to the situation and to a year and a half during which all human relations were at a distance. Nevertheless, this situation was an opportunity to carry out a significant operation in the first month of the Foundation's activity with the emergency aid fund.
What do you recommend to students of Paris School of Business ?
I advise students to get involved in everything that the Paris School of Business has to offer, obviously in addition to the courses which remain the essential.
I strongly recommend that they actively participate in the school's associative life, go abroad and do as many internships as possible, because it is these extra-curricular experiences that make the difference and provide them with skills that will serve them throughout their career.