Elisabeth Catarino - Autodidact and today a NEOMA BS graduate

On the job market, two profile types stand out. The majority choose to acquire knowledge through certified training schemes before pursuing a career. Others opt for an alternative route by starting their careers in the field before opting for a certification that then accounts for their experience. Elisabeth CATARINO took the second option by validating 20 years' professional experience abroad with a NEOMA BS EMBA. Portrait of an incredible journey spanning three continents.

Elisabeth Catarino is French. She has been working at EMC-DELL, a multinational IT company, for several years, and where she has recently been promoted. “Since December 1st, I have been in charge of the global deployment of our solutions. Based in Paris, I manage a team of technicians that represents more or less 20% of my department’s service force and about 50% of the segment’s revenue. This represents about 1000 people. To do this I have a management team in each of the 7 competence centres located worldwide: USA, Egypt, India, China, Russia and Argentina.” Elizabeth is one of the only non-American women to hold such a position. "Do you realize that I work for a company that controls half of the world's data?” A promotion that acknowledges Elisabeth's 13 years with the company. Elisabeth obtained this position through her work, her managerial skills and her composure in moments of crisis. Yet nothing could have predicted such an incredible journey at the outset..

A French-style self-made-woman

I don't often talk about my studies... however, it can be characterised as quite atypical. I started with a first year in the Faculty of Arts. I took a few courses without really knowing where it was going to lead me. At the time, I really wanted to travel. That's why I decided to drop everything and go abroad to try my luck when I was 20.” Without any higher education diploma, Elisabeth still managed to convince a start-up to take her on. A service sector company that quickly recognised her potential. “After only a few months, I was given the opportunity to move to Dallas in the US to open an office. At the age of 22, success came around quickly. This was followed by a series of openings in Mexico and Brazil. It was from there that I became a specialist in Latin America even though I spoke very little Spanish. A very enriching experience where I learned a lot about doing business. I was then sent to Mexico where I was hit hard by the financial crisis that was affecting the telecommunications sector. Despite this, I was able to stay on course and was hired by Ericsson, still in Mexico. I learned a lot about management as well as the whole technological aspect. After this 4-year experience, I finally joined EMC, as a specialist in the IT sector, in Mexico, where I was appointed national customer manager. I've now been part of the team for 13 years. I've risen through the ranks with this company, that was taken over by Dell in 2016. Today, being Vice President of Technical Affairs for EMC-Dell, one of the world's largest IT companies, is an opportunity I would never have imagined at the start of my career.

Bridging a lack of recognition in her home country

For a long time, Elisabeth did not feel the need for a diploma that would recognize the value of her experience. However, when she joined EMC, such a desire emerged. “Finally, I still felt the need to endorse everything I had learned in the field with a diploma in my native language. That's when I set myself the objective of obtaining an MBA in Paris, while pursuing my regular activities. Paris Dauphine did appeal to me, but I was afraid to follow a course I felt was a little too traditional for my taste. Then I discovered what NEOMA BS was offering. It really was love at first sight! It was undoubtedly the Humanship aspect that won me over.”

Elisabeth therefore enrolled on the NEOMA Business School. EMBA. A training course that allowed her to consolidate and affirm the skills she has acquired over the course of a 20-year career. “This training course really allowed me to grow. But above all, it allowed me to assess the extent of my knowledge and to have a solid academic base to work from today. It was a real challenge for me. It took me some time and a lot of mental exercise to find the required spiritual opening. Throughout the course, I also had to juggle my professional obligations with my training, but the outcome has been positive. I feel like I belong to a real family today.” Now a graduate, Elisabeth continues her activities with the same commitment. Her career is far from over. She is forging ahead with confidence, strengthened by the recognition of her experience and her academic validation. It has all come full circle.
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