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LAMIN KONTEH – A CHILDHOOD DREAM THAT HAS BECOME A REALITY TODAY

Maison Konteh is the story of a bakery born in Gambia and with a rich heritage. It is also, and above all, the story of Lamin KONTEH, an EMBA graduate and a start-up financial manager, who took his career in a completely different direction in 2013.
 

Lamin Konteh was born in Africa, in Gambia, to be precise. In his village of Konteh-Kunda, he knew from an early age that he would become a baker. This would not only be a tribute to his ancestors (his great-grandfather was a baker) but would also allow him to take up a noble profession and enable him to provide for his family.

However, once in France and after a brilliant academic career, Lamin abandoned this path for a career in accountancy. "After gaining a diploma in accounting and a degree in management sciences at Paris Dauphine, I quickly climbed through the ranks," he explains. "Even making it to assistant CFO with a big company. A position that wasn't fulfilling.  Because I am constantly striving for more, I decided to take up a new challenge and enrol on an executive training course. The NEOMA Business School EMBA was perfectly in line with my requirements. My objective was, in the short term, to become Managing Director of a company. The course provided by NEOMA BS allowed me to aspire to such an ambition.

The expression of a quest for meaning

Whilst following this training course on the Paris Campus in 2013, Lamin had a moment of inspiration. He realised that the career he was pursuing did not correspond to his true aspirations. 

"I talked about my doubts with my colleagues, my teachers. And just like a family, they decided to accompany me on this journey. That's when I decided to concentrate on my true desires, the desires I'd had as a boy, that were still inside me: to open my own bakery, just like I'd always dreamed of doing. This meant I could satisfy the need I had to create my own business and also to work in a field that has always fascinated me: gastronomy."

Lamin's battle then began. He left his position and began to search for internships with the very best professionals, such as the award-winning baker Thierry Meunier. He managed to follow a training course at the Baking and Pastry School in Paris whilst following his EMBA. "As soon as I had graduated from NEOMA Business School, I immediately planned to take a vocational training course to validate my professional experience. I then followed a long-term pastry making course. I was lucky enough to work with such professionals as the pastry chef Jean-Michel Perruchon, a "best worker in France'" award-winner. And through daily self-sacrifice and struggle, I finally managed to find the perfect time and place to start my bakery."

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An activity destined for growth

Launched in January 2016, Maison KANTEH, "the literal translation of the name of my village in Gambia, KONTEH-KUNDA," offers products adapted to a clientele from the 15th arrondissement in Paris. An advocate of quality products, he favours organic and Label Rouge products for creations that as equally aesthetic as mouth-watering. Today, his fine bakery and pastry shop is constantly busy. "Today, I am so satisfied. Finally, the EMBA triggered me into action. It is what gave me self-assurance, confidence in my qualities, leadership and communication skills, and above all, the guarantee of personal development. This is also what spurs me to look further ahead today. My objective is to make Maison Kanteh a national or even international brand, and perhaps to expand into Senegal or Gambia in the next 3 or 4 years. Without forgetting the ethical dimension that I have learned."

Visit Maison Konteh at 141 rue de la Croix Nivert 75015 Paris.
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ARNOLD MIGAN: PUTTING PEOPLE BACK AT THE HEART OF THE COMPANY WITH HUG


Arnold Migan, NEOMA BS EMBA graduate, is proposing to put well-being back at the heart of corporate strategy with his startup through moments of leisure, relaxation or shared activities. An idea that came to him soon after a particularly painful episode.

 

Sometimes significant events happen in your life that open your eyes to the world. This is certainly the case with Arnold's story. In 2006 Arnold Migan was working for a major French company. "I'd been working for this company for several years. At that time, I was doing quite a lot of sport, and also because I like a challenge, I expressed a desire to join the NEOMA BS EMBA. A demanding course that would allow me to develop a real sense of management. A vision of evolution and stated ambition that my company did not want to support financially." Disappointed but not resigned, he decided to self-finance the course and study in addition to his full-time job. This meant giving up his sports and extra-professional activities. The months that followed were particularly difficult as he juggled busy work weeks with weekend classes. "This heavy workload and the resulting stress eventually manifested itself physically. One morning, I woke up with my face totally paralyzed.... A real shock. It was at that moment that I came up with the idea of creating a company dedicated to well-being in the workplace to give meaning to the importance of people in the business world," Arnold explains.

 

HUG - the Human Growth, is a company created to provide well-being for people in organisations in a different way. With the HUG'n Go range - a 20-minute relaxation, meditation, sports or massage session, where you are, as you are - Arnold would like to offer employees a certain comfort in their work environment. "The idea for the different activities came to me as a direct result of my own professional experience. After my burnout, I really needed to focus on my own well-being and also the well-being of my colleagues. After getting back to my former self, I felt I had to help others to take care of themselves. The pressure of achieving results in today's world forces us to overlook what is truly essential: feeling good in your mind and body and prospering in a healthy environment. There are many ways to develop this feeling, but more often than not, managers or company directors simply do not have the time or the willingness to exploit them."

 

A bespoke à la carte offer, adapted to all companies

 

HUG's offer has been designed to be adaptable to every context. Together with the experts who work alongside me, we propose a tailor-made solution that is adapted to each organization. A solution where time is no longer an obstacle. A solution that is easily applicable and accessible to all, since no infrastructure or sportswear is required to set it up. And finally, a solution where no sports level is required, since the idea of performance is absent from the proposed services. Today Arnold is pursuing his dream project and prospering fully in his company. His ambition is to finance an association for the prevention of burnout and a sports association for people with disability.

 

HUG is only just beginning but is already enjoying growing success. Proof that a painful event can sometimes lead to real success.


DIANA GONZALEZ DIANA GONZALEZ
In Business Creation - Open Innovation Sector
Graduating in 2019

Arriving in Paris from Bogota, I worked for 10 years in a large company before then founding my own. I participated in another startup and I am currently starting a new creative project.

I felt I needed to build skills and step back from my past experiences, so the idea of an Executive MBA came quickly to me.

As for the choice of the school, NEOMA Business School came quite naturally at the top of the list thanks to the quality of the faculty, its entrepreneurial spirit and its proximity to its students. Once again I felt that it was the piece of the puzzle that missing from my current life project.

I'm not afraid of the unknown, I like to build my life as things happen and challenges are drivers that allow me to go beyond my limits. My expatriate life and my life as an Executive MBA student have been like that and more. It is made up of encounters, of choices and constantly taking stock of oneself.
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City in my bag, a unique concept seducing the curiosity of professionals and tourists!

On July 5, City in my Bag, a young French start-up, won the Tourism Innovation Trophy. Sabine GOBERT, Alumni NEOMA BS (EMBA – 2011), has been behind this innovative concept for several months. Today, international opportunities are beginning to open for her and her innovative idea.

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