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Florent, former V.I.E. program, United States, and now with a permanent contract

Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

My name is Florent, 30 years old and a Supply Chain Analyst for Polyamides (BU HPP).

I trained as a general engineer at the Ecole des Mines d'Albi, and have a master's degree in Organizational Management from the Université du Québec in Chicoutimi.

Before starting this VIE with Arkema, I worked in the Supply Chain of a pharmaceutical laboratory, then as Deputy Program Manager in the aeronautics industry.

What did your job involve? What skills did you need?

I worked in Customer Service in the High Performance Polymers Business Unit, in the US, near Philadelphia, with the task of delivering the right quantity to the right customer at the right time. This job requires good interpersonal skills, clear communication and organization. The aim is to satisfy the customer by anticipating the consequences of industrial and logistical hazards on the supply chain. 

How did your recruitment and integration go?

First of all, we had to register on the Business France website. This site lists all the VIE positions available, and you have to apply for them via the site. Interviews differ from company to company, but the pattern remains classic: HR interview, manager interview in France and interview with the manager in the host country. In the case of Arkema, I also had a deferred video interview: the candidate has 30 seconds to prepare each question in English, then the video is analyzed afterwards.

Arkema assisted me with the administrative paperwork to obtain my visa. As for settling in, a person appointed by the company to look after expatriates picked me up at the airport to take me to the flat-share I'd found through the network of other interns/VIEs on site. She also helped me open a bank account and obtain a social security number.

What were your first impressions when you started your mission?

I was very well received by the local teams, which made my integration much easier. I wasn't the most comfortable in English, but I quickly made progress by getting out of my comfort zone. The Americans are very welcoming and I was able to share many experiences with them before COVID: tailgate before a soccer match, a run sponsored by Arkema or events on campus.

How would you sum up your VIE at Arkema in 3 words?

Challenging. Enriching. Fulfilling.

What advice would you give to those who would like to do a V.I.E at Arkema?

As the VIE is in great demand, you need to be able to rely on your network to strengthen your applications and go out looking for your VIE. Applying to Business France is just the tip of the iceberg! But if you're motivated, curious and determined, don't hesitate to apply to Arkema!
Last but not least, there are many groups on social networks that bring together VIE communities, providing good advice and relevant feedback.

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