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Alumnus of the month - December 2012

Nicolas Marotte
European Business Certificate, 1987

Miriam Kennet

Nicolas Marotte recently became CEO of SAS MUSICALS, a production company specialising in musicals that brings a touch of New York’s “Broadway” to the heart of Paris’s nightlife.

This appointment represented a major career change for Nicolas, who previously served as Managing Director for Kraft Foods’ Business Unit and Marketing Director for Danone, two of France’s most prominent Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) brands.

Nicolas gained the European Business Certificate at LSBU in 1987 as part of an exchange programme between South Bank and his former business school in France: “When I finished my business studies in France, I was young and inexperienced. There were different exchange programs existing at the time, but the opportunity to live in London was very attractive. I got very positive feedback from previous South Bank students, so I applied and got the opportunity to cross the channel the next year.”

Nicolas believes his glittering career in business marketing would not have advanced at such a rate without the experience he gained at LSBU: “Without LSBU, it would have been impossible to join the Marketing team at Danone. Getting this degree plus having an international background was essential to starting my career in the best way.”

Just like many of the current international students here, Nicolas took advantage of the social and cultural opportunities afforded to him as a young resident in the capital. He immediately felt welcomed by home students and took part in sporting activities such as tennis and football. To help finance his studies he took a part-time job working in the bustling markets of Covent Garden, an experience Nicolas remembers with fondness: “I really love this area and going to work was a huge pleasure. A break in a pub was part of the ritual and there was always such a buzz.”

The combination of a vibrant social life and studying a course he was genuinely interested in sparked a passion for retail marketing and consumer goods: “I like powerful brands, I like food and I like being able to deal with consumers.” Having worked for Danone and Kraft (now Mondelez) for almost 25 years, Nicolas still maintains an innovative approach and does not shy away from changing the rules if necessary.

“We only have one life to achieve all we want. I needed a different challenge, one that would not only incorporate my talents but also mix hard work and personal pleasure.” This goes someway to explain why he swapped consumer goods for theatrical musicals. Despite the success of Les Miserables, French musicals are still not well-established within the country. Yet it is an industry that requires marketing and financial skills to ignite the growth potential of this market. With his experience in adapting to different environments, countries and businesses, Nicolas arrived at the perfect time.

As a final year student, entering the graduate recruitment market can feel like a daunting prospect. Throughout his professional career, Nicolas explained the qualities that helped him to progress: “Respect your employers and colleagues. Be ambitious, creative and flexible. To work with pleasure and passion will set anyone apart from the competition.”