2018 EDHEC Person of the Year award: an atypical profile

Published on 18/06/2018
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Sacha Poignonnec (EDHEC Masters in Finance, 2002), was elected 2018 EDHEC of the Year by the entire EDHEC alumni network on 14 June. Sacha started his career in an auditing firm but later moved on to digital entrepreneurship internationally.
Here’s a brief interview with the star of the event! 

Congratulations! What does this award mean to you?

I’m very honoured and delighted to be awarded this distinction. It really means a lot to me and I hope I can continue to fly the school flag and be a good ambassador for EDHEC.

What role has EDHEC played in your career?

I am very grateful for everything the school has given me, and I have the most wonderful memories of my years spent studying and in entrepreneurship. I took part in Junior Enterprise, helped organise the Course Croisière, and even ran an anti-tobacco campaign. All of those experiences taught me so much. The school also allowed me to build up unique aspects of my personal life: my wife went to EDHEC, the witnesses at our wedding were EDHEC classmates and have since become my best friends ... the school is part of my life and has given me an awful lot both personally and of course professionally. It opened doors for me. I started my career at Arthur Andersen thanks to EDHEC.

Why EDHEC? 

There’s something quite unique about EDHEC. In my view it’s the entrepreneurial spirit that defines the school, but it’s also that “challenger” mindset. When you’ve been to EDHEC you want to succeed, and that’s something that was strengthened by all those years at the school.

What advice do you have for those who find themselves in the position you were in a few years back? 

To all those who are still studying, I would say continue to make the most of it, take initiatives, participate in as many associations as you can … Time flies by at EDHEC, so try to squeeze as much out of it as possible. Be active, enjoy it, have a great time and work on your friendships, because they will probably last your whole life.

 

In my view it’s the entrepreneurial spirit that defines the school, but it’s also that “challenger” mindset.

 

In a few words, tell us about your career.

In 2007, I joined management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company. I was based in Paris and New York, where I was tasked with projects linked to strategy, growth, operations and organizational management for clients across Europe and North America. That experience enabled me to develop some expertise in mass retailing and a keen interest in entrepreneurship. In 2012, I founded Jumia (formerly Africa Internet Group) with Jérémy Hodara, another ex-McKinsey employee. Jumia was the first unicorn start-up in Africa. It offers a network of online platforms for e-commerce and digital services. We have a presence in 14 African countries and currently employ 3,500 people. In 2017, Jumia posted transactions worth almost €500 million. 

Career change? Moving house?