Bio: My name is Maxime Reboulet, I am French currently working as Middle East & South Asia Area Director for a French company named MLT Minet Lacing Technology. I graduated in 2017 from a Master’s degree in Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship (MIETE) at the University of Porto. My will to study/work in an international environment was triggered when I first flew up to the UK. That eye-opening experience enhanced several new and unexploited resources that have stood out throughout my time abroad in Ireland and, Portugal.

João José Pinto Ferreira (JJPF): Maxime, thank you so much for your kind availability and for your time to participate in this brief interview. The first and logic question is, how did you know about MIETE and what made you apply to our Master Program?

Maxime Mathieu Reboulet (MMR): Thank you for receiving me today. Well, when I was in Galway in Ireland studying for a bachelor’s degree in business, I wanted to keep at it in this field and also I wanted to get more knowledge and skills in becoming an entrepreneur. I still have a dream to one day have my own business but the great part of this Master is that it can be used for not only creating/rolling out a business but also working on a new business project inside a company. Also, I applied to MIETE because the University of Porto has a good reputation internationally and also because I heard good feedback regarding the Master from other students.

JJPF: I remember when you applied to MIETE, you were already living for some years in Ireland. Was moving Porto easy? Was it a big change?

MMR: Actually, it is a great question. It is like a honeymoon. At the beginning, I was very existing because it was an adventure and I did not really know where I was heading to because I did not know Porto and Portugal at all. After some time, I actually got a bit frustrated because I did not understand very much the culture of the country. And then, I got to understand it better by learning it, I made good friends and the Master was very interested so, I started to feel good about it and I enjoyed myself living there.

JJPF: You joined MIETE along with other colleagues. Which major challenges did you feel upon arrival and along the Master Program?

MMR: In fact, I came across many interesting challenges such as upon arrival making trustful friends. Along with the Master Program, it was the way of working with multicultural and multidisciplinary groups onto some projects. As colleagues from different cultures, we did not have the same way of working, the perceptions and so on. With a step back, those were wonderful challenges to face and it made me grow to become who I am today.

JJPF: The Master degree was concluded with a dissertation on the topic of culture issues in international business. Would you share with us a bit of the research you conducted?

MMR: Yes sure, for that i need to start by the context, why I chose this topic:  “Awareness and mitigation management of cultural issues in France, the United Kingdom and Portugal”. In 2013, I flew up to the United Kingdom to learn English for 6 months at the enchanting city of Oxford. Learning English was challenging for me as a French person. However, what I though was a piece of cake turn to become a nightmare. Indeed, being exposed to different cultures from anywhere in the world made me utterly confused and bewildered about the way I should behave with people. I was understanding English but I was not understanding what more profound, cultural differences… At that time I was not aware at all about this topic and I was making a lot of misconduct behaviour, cracking some poor jokes, stereotyping the culture, and even comparing with mine (showing indirectly that French were better than others). I do not know how I made long-lasting friends though I am certain that I did not have just friends at that time. Gaining experience very well, but I was still being a fluent fool… After a while and some deep reflections about a Master’s thesis I was willing to take up the topic of how culture impact the managers in SMEs. I had the best supervisor possible, Manuel Aroso that helped a lot in reaching the top of my capacity and he transmitted his passion for the topic. Now, I am fond of this topic, this is part of my life and will always be for the job I do, for the people I hang out with, for my day-to-day life, this topic is fundamental and should be for anyone.

JJPF: Looking back, which were the major MIETE contributions to your career?

MMR: MIETE, helped me in many ways to understand first the process from A to Z to create a business or work on a project. Recently, I actually contributed to the start of a huge project within the company I am working for to organise the initial steps to make a project viable. Without it, they would surely be taking more time to make the project. The technics of brainstorming, doing observation, the Business Model Canvas and so many other points, are key and need to be learnt. My thesis is also so useful for instance in my job when I visit customers in the Middle East, I feel like it is working very much and it helps me avoid making crucial mistakes, especially for serious deals.

JJPF: Maxime, thank you so much for you time. At MIETE we wish you all the best!