Distance learning courses, telecommuting, placements/ internships… UTC students had a complicated year over 2020. The 2020 graduates have also been deprived of one of the highlights of their lives, the graduation ceremony. A celebration is therefore dedicated to them before the gala that will be held on December 4 at the Hippodrome de Chantilly (Racetracks). For this graduating class, marked by the health crisis, a Godfather was needed to reflect the resilience they had to show. The person chosen for this role is Patrick Hokayem, a UTC-Compîegne graduate, who supervised the commissioning of the «Military field hospital» in Mulhouse in March 2020.
What are the elements to take into account before considering a military career?
It is important to remember that the Army offers consideration first and foremost and transcends academic diplomas. What the armed forces are looking for are young people with character, courage, charisma, enthusiasm and initiative. In short, ‘a personality more than a CV’ as General de Villiers used to say. On this point, UTC provides all the qualities in its training to lead to excellent officers… Indeed, the UTC student is very early on plunged into teamwork as early as the CCs of the core curriculum begin, and one quickly sees who has it to be a leader… Moreover, he or she constantly monitors technological developments, without being technocratic, that allows to apprehend the technicality of a project without drowning in it and not to obviate the opportunities for innovation and quick resolution of the problems.
Looking back, what lessons did you learn from 2020?
Success in terms of agility relies on the delegation of tasks being implemented correctly. In a crisis situation, a person or a team trying to juggle with multiple tasks will not succeed: work must be limited to one or two specific tasks by giving full data and trust. There is little or no room for control; you have to move forward with the results produced by the team. If the initial expectations have been made clear, the result is there!
On the personal aspect, I remember from my days at UTC that ‘there is a life after the courses’… Fortunately, my wife and my son were of an unfailing support in spite of the subjection and the operational availability which were required of me. Even if it was not easy, one must preserve one’s own as much as possible: Family and friends are not the «spill over» of work-related emotions!
In the end, do you think that the year 2020 will be an asset or a weakness?
In all sectors, working remotely has often been a keyword, and this is not going to diminish… Engineering students have learned this the hard way, but have probably acquired (willingly or unwillingly) a certain number of skills to make the most of this remote work, to convince, and to obtain results through this means. From this point of view, this year is probably a strength for the future. On the other hand, we have to remain vigilant to the fact that people paradoxically need proximity management, especially when difficulties arise. So it’s not just progress meetings by video, faceto- face remains crucial!