Interviews

Norha VAGANAY

Year 2001, Chemistry - Process Engineerings

"I work in Sigma-Aldrich, Houston, Texas, which supplies equipment and products for research in chemistry and biochemistry everywhere in the world. I am a scientist (researchernora_160) in the ’Custom Products" division in the technological development group. We synthetize DNA sequences and peptides.

I have various tasks, such as:
- Synthetizing products outside our catalogue range. This includes making product modifications which means finding the synthesis route purification conditions
- Transferring new processes to production, i.e. writing the procedures, and training technicians, etc.
- Giving advice or resolving problems that might arise in production
- Participating in the development and improvement of existing processes to be able to offer a better product to the clients, or reduce production costs
- Working closely with the marketing department to devise and make new products.

At CPE, I studied in the chemistry and process engineering department. After my second year here (4th year higher education), I went to work for one year in the USA where I began a masters on an exchange programme. Once I had finished it, I stayed in the USA as I had family there, and due to having the freedom and opportunity for whoever really wants it.

I think that biotechnology is a very promising field because its applications are unlimited. There is something for everyone as different specialties may be necessary within the same project. For example, in "VisiGen Biotechnologie", chemists, biologists and physicists each work on a different part of the same project. As you are often working for small businesses that are dependent on investors, employment can sometimes be a little precarious. However, the interaction between different people and domains is what makes me passionate about Biotechnologies."

 

Xavier BORIES-AZEAU

Year 2000, Chemistry - Process Engineerings

“I graduated from CPE Lyon in 2000 in Chemistry - Process Engineering and continued my studies with a thesis on polymer synthesis at the University of Sussex in Brighton in England. At the end of my thesis, I was employed by DuPont Teijin Films at the R&D Centre in Middlesbrough in the north of England. For a little over 4 years I have been working and managing a team of three people working on research and development of polyester films for optical and electronic applications. In 2006, I had the opportunity to go and spend 8 months in Japan where I worked on a shared project with our research centre in Gifu, near Nagoya.

CPE’s role in my career has been decisive on two occasions. Firstly the year in industry I did with Rhodia, encouraged by the school and facilitated by its industrial contacts, enabled me to establish my career plan and gave me the maturity (relative!) that attracted my current employer. Next I was able to do my thesis abroad by means of an interview that CPE co-ordinated with Arkema.

The various stages along my career path now serve me particularly well in an international environment where significant experience in different settings – companies and countries - make it possible to understand the technical and human issues more easily.”

Jérôme TESTE

Ecole Supérieure de Chimie Physique Electronique de Lyon - Year ICPI 1996

“I currently run an electricity company working in the building industry that I took over on 1 October 2006. Its turnover in 2007 was in the region of 950 k€ and it employs 15 people.

During my first 9 years of work, I had various experiences in large groups listed on the CAC 40. I therefore worked in management functions in informatics in banking (in Paris) and industrial (in Fos /s Mer) environments. Then the desire to start a business in the area where I was born (the Loire area) took hold! In 6 months and after going to EM Lyon to do a module on taking over a business, I found that rare thing: a small electricity company working in the building industry. In my position at the head of this small business, which I have for nearly 2 years been gradually structuring employing the methods of an engineer, I have the true contact with society that I was looking for.

My diploma saved me time and gave me credibility when arranging to take over the business (banks, labels, suppliers). Even if technically my diploma is not used much day to day, the spirit of synthesis and analysis that I developed during my studies has been essential. Another important point: human experiences, voluntary work and my placements contributed to shaping me as an entrepreneur.

For information, I also had the opportunity to take over an electricity business that came up through the CPE past students’ association!”