Portrait of a graduate: Daniel Jaheny, France, IHRM graduate

Daniel

Master in International Human Resources Project Management

Promotion 2018-2019

Technology can be replicated but, at the end of the day, it’s talent that makes the difference. Learning how to attract, develop and retain top talents is in my opinion the single most important skill for anyone who wants to have a career in business.

● What was your background before coming to study at IGR-IAE Rennes ?

It’s a bit of a complicated story. I started my international journey after graduating from the University of Montpellier with a BA in Law. I longed for adventure so I decided to spend a year in Australia to learn English and explore the country.
I came back completely bilingual and went back to Montpellier to do my MA (also in law).
After my first year of MA, I got an opportunity to do a summer internship in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The internship lasted for 3 months but I ended up staying in Hanoi for another 6 years and working as an English teacher!

● What was your motivation for this study project in France ?

I absolutely loved my time as a teacher but eventually, my getting into teaching was more of an accident and, after all these years later, I still hadn’t completed my MA! On top of that, I was starting to get homesick and wanted to prove to myself that I could accomplish more in life than just being a teacher.
Back in Vietnam, I saw a lot of young foreigners getting stuck in dead-end teaching jobs and having to relinquish the opportunity of building a career in their home country. I definitely didn’t want to be part of that cohort so I decided to go home, finish my MA and find a job in Europe.
I chose a concentration in HR because I figured it would be a natural extension of the people/leadership/training skills I had developed as a teacher. Also, I believe that most business problems are people problems at the core, so HR felt l ike a great fit.

● What would you advise an international student with a study project at IGR-IAE Rennes?

First, learn the language. English is not widely spoken in France and most jobs require professional fluency in French so learning French is an absolute must.
Second, if your goal is to find a job in France, start networking with French people, make French friends, attend social events, etc. It’s really important these days to have a network because the job market for graduate students has become so competitive.
Third, when looking for a job/internship, you have to go beyond just sending your CV and hoping it will catch the eye of a recruiter. If possible, go meet the people and talk to them in person. If not, contact the recruiter directly on LinkedIn, be proactive.

● What is your best surprise/memory of your arrival in France/Rennes/IGR?

I felt so happy being back in France. I had a plan for my future and I was definitely looking forward to going back to school to study and build a career closer to home.
I immediately liked Rennes which reminded me of Montpellier, just with more rain! Rennes is a dynamic city filled with young people, it’s very student-friendly and the locals are easy-going and helpful. The city center is also quite small so you can do all your shopping on foot which is very convenient. The school itself is conveniently located in the center of Rennes and has this great atmosphere. I immediately liked it.

● What is your worst surprise/memory of your arrival in France/Rennes/IGR?

It may sound a bit strange but after all these years abroad I definitely felt l ike a foreigner in my home country and even experienced a bit of a reverse culture shock. The food, culture and even language had become somehow unfamiliar and that took a bit of a getting-used-to.
The French professional culture is also quite a bit more formal than what I was used to and that also surprised me during my internship. Other than that I can’t really point to any bad memory per se. It’s been a blast ever since I came back.

● What are the highlights of the IHRM?

Definitely the interactions with other classmates and international students. I got to make many interesting new friends and I’ve kept touch with quite a few of them.
Personally, I also like the process of studying and absorbing new knowledge so being at the school was very rewarding from that point of view. Finally, I miss the in-class debates we had with the teachers and amongst ourselves.

● What do you miss most after the end of your studies at IGR?

The comradery with my former classmates and having a lot of free time to dedicate to studying. It’s not as easy to free up time to explore new things when you start working a full-time j ob.

● How has your education at IGR helped you in your career?

I got the opportunity to dive deep into the subject of what makes work rewarding and how to motivate people to do their work correctly. People are the most important resources for companies out there. Technology can be replicated but, at the end of the day, it’s talent that makes the difference. Learning how to attract, develop and retain top talents is in my opinion the single most important skill for anyone who wants to have a career in business.

● How was your caree path after you left IGR?

After the course finished I did a spring/summer internship with a French-based international tech company called Digimind. There I was given the task of recruiting talents internationally for the company. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity because my manager gave me lots of responsibility and soon I was in charge of recruiting for over 70% of Digimind’s talent needs for our branches in France, Singapore, Morocco and the Netherlands. It was hard work but I got to
meet a lot of interesting candidates from all over the world and work with managers at all levels of the company.
After the internship I got this great opportunity to go work in Wealth Management in Luxembourg for UBS. This is my first job in the finance industry and I am learning a lot about banking and the wealth management process at UBS. Fortunately, I’ve always been interested in finance and economics so it’s not completely new to me!
I love my co-workers and the international atmosphere there and I can see myself pursuing a career in finance going forward. Although that might seem quite far from HR, banks are run by people and the knowledge I gained from my MA proves useful everyday in my interactions with my colleagues and partners.

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