Michel Philippart named Programme Director of EDHEC’s MSc in Strategy, Organisation & Consulting

Three years after joining EDHEC Business School, Professor of Supply Strategies and former Associate Principal at McKinsey Michel Philippart is to become Programme Director of the MSc in Strategy, Organisation & Consulting. Here, he tells us a little bit about himself.

Written on 30 September 2020.

What kind of student were you?

Before starting my MBA, I wasn’t a very good student at all. I did sufficiently well to pass and get ahead. I wasn’t aiming to be No. 1 and was always in the top 5 or 6 ‒ and that was perfectly fine with me. Then I entered the Kellogg School of Management, known for its marketing expertise. I aced the Kellogg MBA! Ironically, the only class where I did not get a perfect score was marketing! Likewise, I completed my doctorate in business administration from Paris Dauphine with a grade of 18/20.


What was your favourite subject?

International business, because I had been living and working in Europe, in Asia and in North America. I really appreciated the diversity of different business environments. I wanted to capitalise on those experiences.


Why this passion for purchasing?

I love the strategic elements of purchasing, trying to understand how to build winning partnerships and collaborations. But I came to purchasing by chance. My first assignment on joining consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton was a purchasing project. Before that, I had never heard of purchasing. Then, when I joined PespiCo’s Frito-Lay, they asked me to work on developing their new international purchasing organisation, to effectively leverage their global scale.


Tell us about a teacher who inspired you.

There were a few. I was inspired by Philip Kotler, a professor of international marketing, who let me attend one of his courses, although I wasn’t supposed to. I also greatly enjoyed classes with my professor of operations and quantitative methods. But I would not say that one professor stood out. I really enjoyed all my courses at Kellogg.


You were a consultant. Why did you choose to teach?

I had observed too many short-term optimisation measures that were destroying long-term value potential. So, I wrote an article, then a book that attracted the attention of HEC in Paris and got me hooked on sharing my knowledge and views with business students.


What's a typical day in the life of Michel Philippart?  

There is no typical day. But I want to keep a balanced life and have certain routines. I try not to work when I’m home (although it does not always work), for instance. As a new programme director, I have so many things to do, so many things to learn. No two days are alike. 


How do you keep your knowledge up to date?

I work with students on their Master’s theses and consulting projects. To me, these are a major source of information on what is important today. Obviously, I also read what the top consulting firms publish. I have set up some Google Alerts on the topics I’m most interested in. I also work with local industrial networks to brainstorm on issues, especially digital transformation.

What inspires you on a daily basis?

More than inspiration, what drives me is my desire to make an impact ‒ and I’m not saying this because it is the school’s motto!


What is the achievement of which you are most proud?

Earning my doctorate when I was 56 years old, with a grade of 18/20 and being congratulated by the assessment board. It was a DBA, but I obtained it “on publication” with the same criteria as if it were a traditional PhD for younger students.


What would you have done if you hadn't taught?

What I had done before: consulting. I would not go back to the routine of a corporate job, though.


Do you have a surprising hobby?

I manage the websites of two winemakers and an architect ‒ all friends, not clients. A few years ago, I managed seven!     


What is your favourite book?

I don’t have a favourite book. I have favourite authors: Jules Verne and Henri Vernes. They wrote about adventure, discovery, and exploring the world, a mix of science and epic stories.


Visit the programme page

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