Kedjen Corinne Diegba, SMIB Alumna, tells us about her journey in the Consulting industry and how the SMIB has continues to boost her career in Consulting. She also shares some valuable advice with females looking to join the industry.
Tell us about your background and career path.
Hi everyone, I am Kedjen Corinne Diegba, currently working in managing and digital strategy consulting for FSI clients. I first graduated with an engineering degree in Computer science, then I went to the SMIB where I followed the Strategic Consulting track.
What does being a woman in consulting mean to you?
Being a woman in the consulting field means, first and foremost, working in a stimulating environment, where you are constantly learning and where excellence is a priority. After that, I think that as a woman I add a certain touch of elegance and precision to this profession. Being a woman in this field also means that you sometimes face difficulties but that you can quickly turn them into opportunities to surpass yourself.
Did you enter the industry with any preconceptions and have these changed since then?
When I entered the consulting field, I had no particular preconceptions. I just knew that I would have to work hard and a lot. I also thought that it would be difficult to reconcile my professional life with my private life. I was not mistaken, I have to work a lot. As far as the work-life balance is concerned, I would say that it's a question of priority for everyone. As long as they are set, we will try to set limits to everything in this sense.
Did you encounter any challenges in entering the industry and how did you overcome them?
Entering the consulting industry was a challenge because of the very difficult recruitment processes, but we were well trained at SMIB and I was able to do it. However, the first few months were very challenging. I had to learn to adapt to the client environment and to bring them value while being very autonomous on the subjects. At this level, the self-training and mentoring of the elders was a great help.
How do you think we can encourage more females to fulfill their goals of entering this industry and why do you think this is important?
It's important to encourage women to enter the consulting industry simply because they are as valuable in the marketplace as men and I also think consulting is a real career accelerator. That being said, I think the best way to encourage those who are still afraid is to share the example of women who are in consulting and who are thriving. It will be about telling true stories, including failures and fears, but ultimately showing that it is possible to make it. Initiatives like this feedback interview are therefore welcomed.
How did your experience in the ESSEC SMIB help you in your career development?
At SMIB, I learned to develop my openness to the world and to work with people from different cultural and professional backgrounds. This is a quality that allows me today to have a great facility of adaptation in my work. Moreover, the SMIB has allowed me to widen the scope of my professional opportunities through the network to which I have had access and also through the skills that I have been able to develop. SMIB has been and still is a real boost in my career.
What advice would you have for aspiring female consultants?
Be yourself, be authentic, don't try to masculinize yourself. Your authenticity as a woman will be appreciated in this profession. Occupy the space unapologetically and if some doors seem closed to you, either you have to push a little bit more or you are not knocking on the right doors. But in any case, be sure that you have your place. Think about your priorities, project yourself into your career, work hard but also take care of your mental health by avoiding toxic work environments. Learn, don't stop learning, and don't forget that you are valuable and just enough.
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