Interview with Philip Christophers, KEDGE Global Executive MBA Alumni

Philip have been part of KEDGE Global MBA’s 2011 intake. He responds to an interview with Benedict Germon, EMBA marketing coordinator and development, about its experience.

Can you tell us more about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised in Germany and left for England aged 16 to get my A-Levels. After completing school I enrolled at Loughborough university for studies which incorporated Economics with languages. As I was a good rugby player,  I left for France in my third university year to play for the CA Brive Corrèze club in the French first rugby division now called TOP 14.

Following a rather decent year I was signed up by Premiership club Bristol Shoguns. Whilst playing professionally, I travelled to the university and back many times to complete my studies. For the next 9 years I was a professional rugby player where I played for Leeds Tykes and Castres as well as obtaining international honours for England.

In 2010, after 18 months of various injuries, I was laid off by my rugby club and started an MBA in Toulouse. When I succeeded to obtain a contract in 2011 with 2nd division side Aix-en-Provence, I transferred the credits I had completed in Toulouse to KEDGE Business School to finish my studies whilst playing professionally once again.

In 2013 I hung up my boots and started working as head of exports for two companies in the construction business travelling to around 50 countries and setting up a distribution network for them. It was a challenging endeavour which taught me many things on a personal and professional levels.

Having recently left the companies I have been working for since 2013, I am currently contemplating my next career step. 

Can you tell us what brought you to KEDGE Executive MBA?

I had always thought of doing an MBA, because I believed this would help me gain experience in the business world which at the time I lacked due to the fact that I had played professional rugby most of my life.

How did the EMBA help you with your career / project?

It helped me grow significantly as a person and in comprehending the business world better.

The mix between theory and practical case studies allowed to gain an insight into what would be required of me inside a company. 

Having completed the MBA before the end of my playing career helped me launch my first business job as head of exports.  

Philip, in short, could you tell us about :

  • Your main takeaway from KEDGE EMBA: At the time it enabled me to understand the complexity of the business world and what would be required from me to succeed in it. Moreover, I remember coming out of the program having grown in maturity with new insights and excitement about what the business world could have to offer. 
  • Your best memory from KEDGE EMBA: The seminar in Brazil, because of the inter-cultural experience and the great synergies which were created between the European and Chinese participants.
  • One (other project/concept you are willing to share (professional or not): I am currently contemplating enrolling into short academic courses to increase my knowledge base on various subjects, especially on the financial aspects and data-based decision making in business.
  • A passion you wish to share:  I am a keen traveler of the world, a passion which I like to share with my wife and children. We recently travelled to the Yukatan region in Mexico for four weeks where we learned about their amazing culture and were able to see the beautiful country side they have to offer. As a family we try to make a habit of travelling on a regular base to create great memories together.
  • The new business trends that currently fascinate/interest you: The Lean Start-up movement and the book from Eric Ries has had a great effect on how I see the way start-ups should be set-up and scaled. Some of the concepts of this movement favor experimentation over elaborate planning & customer feedback over intuition. Short-cycled experimentations allow you to gain an insight on what your clients really want and how this experience can help you scale your company or business unit more efficiently.

Philip, many thanks for your time!

See more about KEDGE Global Executive MBA programme