Hello Moniqua! Thank you very much for answering this interview! Can you introduce yourself and what you are doing at the moment?
I am 24 years old, after my baccalaureate ES I have oriented myself towards a DUT in Business Management and Administration, option Human Resources. I had the opportunity to do a two and a half month internship in Human Resources in the banking sector, which interested me a lot, and I chose to reorient myself towards a professional HR degree in a consulting firm. Then I joined Ascencia Business School, where I continued my studies in human resources, still in a work-study program in the banking sector as an HR development officer.
After a one year break where I invested myself in many personal projects, especially humanitarian ones, I went back to school at Ascencia this year to validate a level 7 RNCP title in HR, and I am currently working in a consulting company.
Today we’re going to talk about the projects you did in Egypt in February 2020 and June 2021. You made two videos to present these projects, can you summarize them quickly?
I had already been to Egypt a first time for a first humanitarian project in January 2019 and in a family setting. I decided to fully invest myself in a second humanitarian project, and I wanted to build it from scratch.
Then, for my professional project, I wanted to live a real experience abroad in HR, and after having made contacts in different countries such as Canada, the United States or the United Arab Emirates, I finally committed myself in Egypt to study HR in the heart of a major project: the construction of a monorail. This project convinced me to step out of my comfort zone, and I knew that I would learn a lot by analyzing the differences and similarities of the different Egyptian HR methods.
How long did it take you to put together this comparative study project, and how long for this humanitarian project?
For my humanitarian project, I took between 40 and 50 days to set it up, and I invested a lot of time in piloting this project. I started it in mid-December and we left in mid-February.
For the comparative study between French and Egyptian HR, it is the result of a long reflection. I knew I wanted to leave to discover new things, but I built the project in Egypt over 3 months, from January to March-April.
Did you know Egypt well before?
Yes, because Egypt is a country that fascinates me enormously by its culture and its history, and to which I am attached on a personal level. For the humanitarian project, it was a continuation of my previous experience. To do my HR study in other countries than France, Egypt was interesting because I saw on the ground a large project like the monorail, and the work culture is not at all the same as in other countries.
In what context did you go to Egypt to do this associative project? Was this your first humanitarian experience?
I went as part of a religious association, but it was not my first experience since I had already gone during my DUT. We had set up a project in Morocco in 2017 to help people in need in orphanages, hospitals, and retirement homes. This first experience marked me and pushed me to continue humanitarian work. In 2019, I went to Egypt to help children in need. We did a multitude of activities, which were enriching for them and for us. In 2020, after stepping back from my two humanitarian experiences, I wanted to invest myself even more, and I did so as an organizer of a new humanitarian mission in order to be able to realize this project in its entirety.
In your video, you explain that one of the main differences between the French HR culture and the Egyptian HR culture is the fact that there are two teams, one in the field and the other in the office. With your experience, which HR culture do you think is the most effective in the construction industry? The “two teams” as in Egypt, or the centralized one as in France?
I think that both cultures are effective, but appropriate to the project and the work culture of each country. However, there may be similarities in the way the two countries work.
In my opinion, both methods work, but I find that Egyptian HR, with the two-team method, can monitor the teams on the ground in real time. This direct visual allows for more concrete and efficient actions, and it allows for real-time monitoring of the progress of work, decisions, etc.
In Egypt, I observed that this “two-team” approach was very effective because the HR team on the ground and the one in the office were very complementary. Studying this complementarity was very enriching for me.
Would you like to work in Egypt in the future?
That’s an interesting question: I particularly like the country, and if tomorrow I have the opportunity to go there, why not! To learn new things and enrich myself professionally and personally, no matter what the experience is: I want to be constantly learning, so that I can continually improve my skills.
Congratulations for these two beautiful projects, do you have any advice for students who would like to build international humanitarian or professional projects like you?
At the base of my projects, there have always been simple ideas, which have been built up over time. For students, when you have a project with an achievable goal, you have to stick to it, not give up, especially in the humanitarian field because these are enriching experiences but often emotionally rough.
For the professional project, I really wanted to go into the field, so you have to face reality.
Finally, about HR, which is the professional field that really interests me, I would like each student to try to enrich Human Resources with their experiences, with the different methods they will have the opportunity to discover during their internships and their experiences abroad. The new skills and methods that students will bring will shape the HR of tomorrow, so don’t hesitate to enrich yourself and share your experiences!