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Key words: resilience, agility and initiative!

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!

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