Video Game Industry Needs MBAs As Well As Immature Kids!
After ten years in Japan working for two top video game firms, Louis Lamarre chose the EMLYON MBA to open up new career opportunities.
Louis Lamarre was born in Vietnam, raised in France, and by his early 30s became a seasoned executive in Japan’s $6 billion video game industry. He tells BusinessBecause why he left the industry that millions of geeks would love to work in to head to France’s EMLYON business school.
Louis, 34, completed his first degree in Business at Jean Moulin Lyon III University, graduating in 2001. He then spent ten years in Japan working in the video game industry for companies such as Marvelous Entertainment, which produces the Harvest Moon series, and Tecmo Koei, developer of Captain Tsubasa and Ninja Gaiden.
He is currently completing the full-time MBA program at EMLYON.
EMLYON MBA 2011 Louis Lamarre
Tell us about your career before EMLYON
I have worked in Japan for almost ten years, mainly in the videogame industry where I was a business developer, a game producer, and also managed a localization team that developed the foreign versions of our Japanese titles.
That may seem like a lot of different job titles, but in Japan, when you are a foreigner who can speak English and Japanese, they usually assign you responsibilities related to overseas affairs. That’s why I ended up doing everything related to the overseas business. I sure learned how to be a multi-tasker!
Why did you decide to do an MBA?
I seriously started considering an MBA two years ago when my professional career was kind of running on the spot. I had some good job opportunities when I was in Japan but I was always lacking something: not enough financial knowledge or marketing experience.
I got really frustrated, especially because I actually had those skills since my position as overseas business manager required me to know a little bit of everything. So, to give some legitimacy to these skills I decided to do an MBA.
Does an MBA help in the video games industry?
I think there is a misconception about the videogame industry. People often think that it’s an immature industry with a bunch of kids at the top playing games!
But if you want to work in this industry and shoot for higher positions, you need an MBA. All the senior business partners I worked with had an MBA from an American, English or French business school.
Which other schools did you apply to and where did you get offers from?
I approached ESSEC and HEC Paris but EMLYON was actually my first choice and the only school where I finally sent my application.
I had two friends who did the MBA program at EMLYON and they both confirmed the positive feedback I had read or heard about its program.
The low cost of living in Lyon, the reasonable tuition fees, and the quality of the courses made EMLYON a good compromise.
Give an example of what’s great about the MBA program?
The eight-month consulting project we had to do for the MBA was really interesting and original. Sponsored by Novartis, we had to help associations of patients with rare diseases to develop their potential and institutional capacity.
I wouldn’t have expected a business school to promote this kind of social consulting, and it allowed me to discover a totally different world: doing a social consulting project instead of the usual market study was really refreshing.
We’ve finished the main part of this project now, which involved doing an analysis of each association, identifying the issues and providing solutions, and we’re now writing our final report with our recommendations.
What recommendation would you give to MBA applicants?
Be honest! For the MBA programme, EMLYON is not just recruiting a background, but people with personality so don’t hesitate to show your differences during the interview.
Is there a moment you particularly enjoyed so far?
During the second quarter of the MBA, we had a one-week trip to Finland that all of us really enjoyed.
We had company visits and the classes that you’d expect but also, thanks to some extra activities, the experience was great for group building. The network we created inside the class will definitely last even after each of us is back in his home country.
Do you know what you'll be doing next year?
I like the videogame industry and I wouldn’t mind getting a job there again but, before using this option, I’d like to see if the MBA can open new opportunities in a different industry.
And what would you like to do in five to ten years? What are your professional goals and where would you like to live?
In five to ten years, I hope I’ll be managing the Asian or Japanese branch of an international company, using both the experience I got in Japan and my MBA.