Nadine Bilong (BBA 2017) has a dual Business & Art profile with a major in Media and Cultural & Creative Industry Management. After an internship at the Bolloré Group in Africa and some time at Bocconi University in Milan, she came up with the idea of developing a type of long-term, tailored coaching service for creative industry professionals, in particular those who have left their home countries in Africa. Nadine will soon be facilitating a conference on art and luxury at emlyon business school. Let’s hear what she has to say.
Sports, the arts, travel… you are passionate about many different spheres.
Yes, it has always been hard for me to develop and grow in one single area at a time. When I was in high school, in Lyon, I was already doing competitive sports and at the same time taking theater as an elective.
Why did you enroll in emlyon business school’s BBA program?
First of all because I love my city and how dynamic it is. Next, I was really interested in the school’s multipurpose approach, as well as its international dimension. In addition, the entrepreneurial aspect was a plus, as I knew that one day I would start my own company. Finally, emlyon is a very appealing brand, with a very strong alumni network. I remember that I found my internship in Sydney through the network. The Clarins Group had already hired an alumnus and that clearly made it easier to recruit me. There are a lot of emlyon graduates living in Sydney.
Today, you curate art exhibitions and coach artists on cultural projects, among other things. What is the link between management school and the arts?
You’re right, at first glance the link might not be that clear, especially seeing as business schools don’t generally place a strong focus on the arts. Yet, culture is a subject that is taken very seriously – particularly in France – but where there is a lack of investors to spur growth. More and more institutions are trying to bring on board people who can create value from their brands and attract capital. Artists may not like this term, but in order to keep projects alive, it is vital to promote cultural products.
Finally, I apply everything I learned at business school to the arts sphere. In the cultural field, you have to be highly operational, and I learned how to do this at emlyon.
You will soon be facilitating a conference at emlyon on art in the luxury sector. Can you tell us a little more about it?
I am a member of the Culture & Management Club and Anne Deslage (network coordinator), whom I was in contact with, wanted to focus a bit more on this topic at the school. The idea of luxury came to me later on. I feel it is important to bring out the essence of luxury, which means highly specific expertise and the craft trades, as well the concepts of design and creativity. It is a culture that is passed down from one generation to the next.
How would you describe yourself in a few words?
In two words: versatile and eclectic. Versatile because my philosophy is to adapt to whatever environment I am in, when I am welcome in it, and eclectic because I am open to discovering new things and I don’t like to put people in boxes.
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
After the Global BBA program, I went on to study multimedia at ESCP. My aim is to start working in the field of new media. I have a project for a new digital platform that focuses on everything from the arts to sports, and targets readers in emerging countries. I hope to get started fairly soon, around 2020.