Matthieu GALLICIAN, GEM PGE 2014, Key Account Manager at CMA CGM

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Today, we meet Matthieu Gallician, a 2014 PGE graduate who currently holds the position of Key Account Manager at CMA CGM. Through this interview, Matthieu reflects on his career path and shares his professional vision, highlighting the importance of making career choices based on one's passions.

Could you briefly introduce your company and your role within it?

I work within the Shipping entity of the CMA CGM Group, one of the world's leading maritime transport and logistics companies. I am based at the headquarters in Marseille.

I currently hold the position of "Key Account Manager" within the "Specialized Products" department, where we market refrigerated container transport solutions, on which I focus exclusively. My job today consists of managing the maritime flows of a particular type of goods: the "seafood" segment (products from the sea, aquaculture, leaving the factory after processing).

What motivated your choice to join your current company?

Wanting to evolve in commercial functions in an international, dynamic, and multicultural environment, I quickly became interested in the maritime transport sector and naturally in the CMA CGM Group. The dynamism of this Group, its international dimension, as well as its scope allow for career development in France and abroad, in various fields.

What has been your career path?

I started a vocational university course by obtaining a BTS in Management, as well as a double degree in International Marketing and Management Sciences.

Quickly attracted by the international scene, I took competitive exams for parallel admission to business schools, which allowed me to access the Grande Ecole program at Grenoble Ecole de Management. I oriented my academic path towards Business Development.

I started my career in Tourism before going on a VIE (Volontariat International en Entreprise) in South Africa in the Durban region, as a Business Developer in the agricultural sector.

At the end of this VIE, I turned to maritime transport and joined the CMA CGM Group within the shipping lines as an Area Manager. My missions then consisted of optimizing the filling rates of the lines I was in charge of, as well as managing the pricing policy of a client portfolio in a given market.

I was then able to move on to a "Sales Manager" position where I was in charge of commercially animating the network of agencies in Europe and the Middle East in the sale of high value-added products (all the additional services we sell beyond a classic maritime transport offer).

Following this experience, I participated in the design of a CRM, as a "Business Owner" (role defined by the "AGILE" method in the context of project management). My role was to be the link between the different functions of my previous department and the developers of the solution, the goal being to build a viable and efficient solution for our sales teams.

Wanting to continue my professional career in commercial functions, I decided to return to a "Key Account Management" position which allows me to both be back in the field and to understand strategic issues through the monitoring of a specific industry.

What does your job consist of, your daily tasks (breakdown of your day), and your main challenges?

My work focuses on two axes:

A commercial part through the management of a portfolio of clients identified as VIP (having a significant potential business volume and being present in many countries). This part is broken down as follows:

  • Setting business volume objectives per client and monitoring performance
  • Negotiating freight rates and anticipating volumes with shipping lines
  • Commercial animation through the Group's network of agencies to streamline the supply chain.

A more strategic part through monitoring the evolution of the "Seafood" market worldwide:

  • Conducting market studies: evolution of fishing and aquaculture worldwide as well as consumption patterns by product type
  • Monitoring the volumes of goods transported within the Group in the "Seafood" segment
  • Participating in numerous specialized "Seafood" trade shows in Asia, Europe, and North America.

This industry is marked by extraordinary dynamism due to its nature - fishing can be unpredictable, so the quantities to be transported as well - but also due to its market - the presence of many traders playing an intermediary role between fishing fleets and importers worldwide. In fact, my daily life is punctuated by negotiations for business volumes that are difficult to predict and often substantial, which also requires constant monitoring of our loading capacity on board our ships.

More formal figure reviews are conducted regularly with each client to take a step back on the activity. The end of the day is usually calmer and therefore more conducive to working on in-depth, more strategic and analytical topics. Given the global scope of action, I travel regularly, mostly in Europe, but also in Asia (China) and the United States.

Your greatest success? Your most significant project?

Having only been in my current position for 8 months, it's difficult to take a step back on successes and significant projects over such a short period. However, my most significant project at CMA CGM is having participated in the creation and structuring of a new department when I held my previous position as Sales Manager. To achieve this objective, it was necessary to:

  • Support subsidiaries to identify suitable profiles to support the commercial activity locally
  • Structure the commercial approach by product and by zone
  • Establish annual sales objectives by product and by country
  • Train the sales force
  • Facilitate adoption with our customers
  • Carry out the reporting of the commercial activity.

All these points have been covered, our subsidiaries have also become very autonomous, which has allowed us to work more on strategic subjects.

Leaving this position by observing such a degree of autonomy of our subsidiaries in my area has been very rewarding.

What are the development possibilities within your company?

There are many development possibilities within the Group, both vertically, with the possibility of taking on responsibilities, and horizontally, with sometimes the possibility of changing jobs and even areas of expertise. My career path is an illustration of the multiple possible evolutions: having always evolved in the commercial department, I was able to work in 4 different services in almost 7 years: the shipping line, the commercial animation of the network, the construction of a CRM, and now the marketing of refrigerated transport solutions. This allows me to acquire a certain versatility that will be useful to me in this industry where constantly adapting with agility is a necessity.

In your opinion, what are the 3 main skills (apart from the academic background) to succeed in your position?

  • Autonomy: this is a major skill in this type of position which requires taking initiatives to effectively coordinate an offer and a shipment, responsiveness to urgent requests, organization to manage one's time optimally,
  • Team spirit: the success of a project is the result of effective collaboration between all stakeholders (internal and external). Having a team spirit is essential to ensure the smoothest possible exchanges.
  • Adaptability: the problems dealt with each day require constant adaptation to the needs of each party involved. Adaptability can also be manifested by curiosity (mastering every subject being impossible, you have to know how to document yourself on subjects not mastered) or empathy (adapting the approach to a problem according to your audience allows you to get answers faster and often of much better quality).

What advice would you give to a candidate who wants to start a career like yours? (Choice of professional experiences during studies, electives, associations, etc.)?

I advise them to make choices that correspond to their objectives, but also to their desires. It is important to both acquire certain fundamentals and to take pleasure in learning.

My choices have been refined over time, through numerous internships, all carried out in very different conditions (sectors of activity, type of structure, international environment...).

Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to confirm certain choices, and sometimes to reconsider some of them.

All these experiences are and will always be very useful to me, whether in understanding the problems encountered by my clients or in my daily life with my colleagues.

Being confronted with different worlds allows you to better understand the expectations of your interlocutors, and therefore to be able to put yourself at their level when you enter into a commercial (and also managerial) approach.

Finally, I advise talking to professionals or alumni who have faced these periods of choice and who can always share their own experiences.

The subject of my oral entrance exam at GEM was: "Is the goal more important than the path to achieve it?". I will not answer it here, but my career path partially answers this question.

What does your company look for first in a candidate?

I would say that the company generally looks for agile candidates. Logistics is a complex sector of activity, with many challenges that punctuate our daily lives, and this agility seems essential to me regardless of the level of responsibility and the field of activity.

The demands of this environment push us to give the best of ourselves, which is characterized through the values of the CMA CGM Group which are excellence, exemplarity, audacity, and imagination. There is no doubt that these 4 values are sought by the Group through the state of mind of the candidates.

And finally, what is the word that characterizes you?

Perseverance. When I commit to a project, a task, a mission, I try to give the best of myself. And this best version of yourself does not always (and even very rarely) come from the first try. And I persevere to get closer to it.

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