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Max Métral, ESSEC Alumnus and Formula 1® Insight Manager: “I’m a fierce believer in the power of grit”

02-10-2017
 Max Métral, ESSEC Alumnus and Formula 1® Insight Manager: “I’m a fierce believer in the power of grit”

Every month, in partnership with ESSEC Alumni, discover the careers of graduates who have succeeded by following their desires.

For Max Métral a career in the international sports industry had always been in his sights and ESSEC provided the unique opportunity to set his own course and explore the horizon. This led him across the Channel to the UK, Manchester City FC and now Formula 1 racing. Full revs on Max Métral and life in the fast track.

Max Métral recently joined Formula 1® as Insight Manager, with a role to transform data into meaningful insights and actionable recommendations to drive decision-making across various departments such as Sponsorship, Sales, Strategy, Marketing, CRM, Ticketing, and Digital. Formula 1® new management plans to put fans at the centre of the sport, to engage them and bring them closer to the sport and the drivers. ‘Data analytics has an important role to play in this view,’ states Max. ‘It has now become a must-have for every company across all industries, and the Sports Industry is no exception.’

From dream…

‘For me it had long been clear that I wanted to have an international career within the Sports Industry.’ This dream, for want of a better word, began to crystalize when he joined ESSEC at the age of twenty. At the time the only thing he knew was that he had a real interest in the Sports Industry. Nevertheless, it was way too early to call it a passion, and he was not 100% sure he wanted to make a career out of a growing interest. ‘ESSEC provided me with plenty of opportunities to learn and grow through many different experiences,’ states Max, whether choosing classes or building professional experience through internships and projects with multinational companies, interact with professionals and worldwide leaders, running his own student association, going to the USA to study in an MBA program, and last, but importantly, being part of a thriving community.

Via data analytics…

An initial professional internship saw him working for E-Cotiz, a start-up in the Sports Industry, created by ESSEC Alumnus Jauffray Dunyach and based in the ESSEC incubator. Those few months opened Max up to an amazing experience and served to confirm his interest for the sports sector. Later in studies, he was inspired by ESSEC Professor Nicolas Glady who helped him realize that extracting value out of data was something that he loved to do. Max then joined the newly created Accenture Strategic Business Analytics Chair which gave him the exciting opportunity to work for different worldwide companies, notably the chance to work on a key data analytics project for the 6 Nations Tournament with Accenture. ‘Being a big rugby fan, that was a big hit for me!’ recognizes Max.

According to Max, the Data Analytics specialization helped him not only develop the key hard skills required to be a Data Scientist – math & statistical modelling, as well as database programming – but also trained him in the necessary soft skills required to be an efficient analytics leader – problem-framing and solving, data storytelling and the importance of effective communication. Still enthralled by the idea of a career in the sports industry, he also added a second specialization to his ESSEC degree by joining the International Sports Marketing Chair which gave him the opportunity to go to Switzerland and London to meet renowned sports organizations – among them the UEFA, ICO, FIBA, and World Rugby.

To reality

When graduating, Max kept his sights firmly on entering the sports industry knowing that the two lead markets were North America and Europe. When the opportunity arose to work for one of the world’s top football clubs it was too good to pass up. His early career sent him to work as Data & Insights Analyst for City Football Group in Manchester, one of the most innovative sports organizations in the world with its multi-club ownership model that includes no less than Manchester City Football Club in England, New York City Football in the USA, Melbourne City FC in Australia, the Yokohama Marinos in Japan, Girona FC in Spain and Atlético Torque in Uruguay. Of his experience at City Football Group, the word that comes to mind is “‘amazing”. ‘I still come back to Manchester quite often to enjoy proper football,’ he adds. After his experience in football, Max Métral now finds himself as Insight Manager for Formula 1®. The impression is that Max’s career is revving up for a few more exciting years of work, challenge and discovery.

An ocean of opportunities

Max readily acknowledges that studying at ESSEC provided him with an accelerator towards reaching his dream. ‘For me ESSEC is like an ocean of opportunities,’ he states. ‘But like any ocean, it can be quiet or stormy. There are so many opportunities that you can drown quite easily,’ he adds. ‘You can get lost in the vast number of choices you can make, but worse, you can also choose not to make any choice and stay within your comfort zone by following the path of least resistance. But on the flip side,’ he continues, upbeat, ‘ESSEC gives you the unique opportunity to set your own course, and to explore the vast blue horizon. You can shape and chase your own dreams, and you have the flexibility to rearrange your direction if you change your mind.’

Memories of the School are many – and positive. At the top of the list – emotions! For Max, this meant the joy of winning a title with the ESSEC Rugby Team, the sense of accomplishment when finalizing the organization of a renowned rugby tournament (Tournoi des Grandes Écoles) and the pride of having run a professional student association (ESSEC Solutions Entreprises) for two years and having worked for a wide variety of clients across various industries. Second, comes the relationships. ‘I had the chance to not only make wonderful friends at ESSEC, but to also meet and exchange with amazing individuals from a many backgrounds and cultures,’ states Max.   

The ESSEC network – both broad and international in reach, also exists, though Max doesn’t see the network as a means to an end. ‘I’ve never “used” it,’ he says, ‘but I’ve selflessly given and received from it.’ He cites the Cercle ESSEC Sport Business as a telling example, meeting several times a year during a series of very friendly events, as well as the chance to meet and exchange with great mentors during his years at ESSEC, most of whom he now considers friends. 

The alchemy of success: true grit and curiosity

When asked if he has any advice for current ESSEC students and young graduates, Max is adamant: ‘I am a fierce believer of the power of grit.’ Drawing on Angela Duckworth in her books and TED Talks to reaffirm his belief, Max adds that grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals; it isn’t innate but must be cultivated. ‘I would advise them to be curious and explore their interests as much as they can,’ he asserts, urging students and graduates to refuse the easy solutions and not be afraid of difficulty or complexity. Moreover, they should embrace a growth mindset. ‘They shouldn’t be afraid to chase their dreams,’ he says, adding a quote from Duckworth: “Talent counts, but effort counts twice”. Pausing slightly, perhaps looking back at his own journey, Max finishes by adding: ‘I finally truly believe that they can achieve any of their dreams through dedication, hard work and deliberate practice.’

Discover other ESSEC graduates' careers on the ESSEC Alumni website

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