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Three questions for Thomas Havy - a recent graduate of the GEM/CY Tech double degree program

Published on
01 December 2020

Thomas Havy recently earned his double degree with flying colors from Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) and CY Tech. His speciality? Economic intelligence, a skill that is in high demand as demonstrated by the fact he was recruited as a consultant for a health strategy firm before having officially received his diploma.

Who are you? What's your background?

My name's Thomas Havy and I'm a 2019 graduate of the GEM Grande Ecole Program. In parallel, I also earned an Advanced Master's in Strategic Analysis and Economic Intelligence from CY Tech (previously, EISTI).

The fact I've always liked challenges motivated me to be highly engaged in my studies at an early age. When I turned 17, I left my high school in Brittany in order to attend a preparatory school specialized in the entrance exam for Sciences Po (Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris). Once I passed my baccalaureat, I decided to switch to an economic prep program that enabled me to join Grenoble Ecole de Management in 2016.

During my studies in Grenoble, I was part of the rugby team, through which I built strong relationships in my first year. I was also part of the student association Le Dahu, which helps develop and increase the visibility of commerce and tourism around Grenoble, a goal that was important to me. In my second year, I wanted to explore the world all the while focusing on the academic subjects that were of greatest interest to me at the time. As a result, I joined the Transcontinental Finance program, which is organized in partnership with Pace University in New York. I studied business finance, market finance and portfolio management. I was also able to travel a bit, mostly to Louisiana.

Although the teaching at Pace was excellent, I decided that finance wasn't the right career path for me. For my gap year, I turned towards consulting. As I've always had a strong interest in the business world, economics and geopolitics, I wanted to deepen my knowledge of these subjects by choosing a master's that was in line with these interests.

Why did you choose the GEM/CY Tech double degree program? What did you expect? Where do you expect to go from here?

Honestly, economic intelligence was quite a hazy concept for me before joining the master's. Apart from my general interest in the business world, my choice was primarily motivated by the desire to learn more about this subject and my eagerness for a new challenge because I knew the program would be difficult. This master's was a revelation. I've never felt so satisfied by a class, and this despite the particular context (strikes and the current health crisis). It went well beyond my expectations! The program is first and foremost very operational: In addition to the work/study format, students must also carry out a year-long project to solve concrete challenges submitted by real companies. These projects can cover all types of subjects from competitor analysis to economic interference by foreign entities. In addition, the teaching team is comprised of entrepreneurs, intelligence professionals, behavioral experts, etc.

All of whom have varied and interesting experiences to share in business. High-level experts were also called upon occasionally to add to the variety of content. This program enables participants to acquire skills that can easily be used in all types of professional careers, which was a determining criteria for my choice. Throughout the year I learned a lot about simple and efficient methods to collect and analyze information, which actually kind of dulls our common myth of spies with ultra sophisticated tools for listening and searching. After having finished my degree, I started working as a strategy consultant for a firm specialized in health, a sector that is obviously at the heart of current affairs. I often use what I learned at CY Tech in order to quickly find relevant information or identify future trends in the sector.

What's your perspective on economic intelligence? What do you believe are the qualities or advantages of this topic for a manager?

In France, we've often had a limited view of economic intelligence as something that is synonymous with iffy practices carried out by secret governmental services. But many other countries quickly understood the importance of mastering information and have therefore gone further to protect their companies.

In fact, economic intelligence is a concept that is much more common than we think. It starts with a set of simple best practices: paying attention to what documents are shared, protecting your data, etc. One of the fundamental principles you have to remember is that everything should be considered as being of potential strategic interest. Just look at the multiple cyberattacks being carried out on hospitals in order to gather data about Covid… It's a subject that's important for everyone, not just managers.

In the current world, the problem is not to find data, but to know how to sort and analyze it. I believe that people who know how to identify reliable sources of information and efficiently collect relevant data will stand out in their business. In certain cases, managers have to be able to detect the real intentions behind a partnership or purchase offer: is it a win-win proposition or a means of getting hold of a specific technology, skill or know-how?

In hindsight, I'm really quite surprised that economic intelligence is not a more mainstream subject for higher education programs that are geared towards entrepreneurship, economics or international topics—not even a simple presentation of textbook cases like Gemalto, Alstom or Photonis… GEM stands out as one of the few (maybe the only?) business school to offer such an approach and I'm really happy to have taken advantage of it!

GEM offers 25 double degree programs and thematic certificates (law, economics, engineering, political science, design, literature, etc.), including two with CY Tech (EISTI).

GEM students can partake in the following CY Tech programs:

  • An engineering-management program that starts in the first year of the Grande Ecole program
  • The Advanced Master's in Strategic Analysis and Economic Intelligence as part of a student's third year
  • The school also welcomes engineering students from CY Tech to participate in the Grande Ecole program, which enables engineers to complete their training with specific management skills.
    To learn more about GEM academic partnerships and double degrees

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