« Believe in yourself, train, expose yourself », could easily be the motto of Mohamed Soltani, ex-member of the French karate team, who transformed the katas’ ethic into a life discipline: the quest for technical perfection leading to efficiency, mental availability in association with decisiveness, self-control and transmission.
He grew up with his seven brothers and sisters in a family where respect, first virtue of karatekas, was paramount. He was studious and good at languages, and took a Technical Baccalauréat in Mechanics. « I had the intuition that I should add some commercial know-how to gain some perspective on the technical side of things. »
Mastering different languages, and understanding the diversity of different cultures allows us to preserve a real degree of freedom in a global world. Without this, how can we develop empathy, communicate, negotiate, interact with others, and succeed together?
He discovered new potential too, during his Technical Sales studies. « I became aware of the science in sales: the intelligence and the concepts you need to put into action in order to increase your chances of reaching an objective. »
To go even farther, he went straight into the 2nd year of Prepa classes, and armed with all his determination, began studying German and prepared to sit his exams.
When it was time to do his military service, his title as Champion of France opened the door to the section reserved for high level athletes, where he met the French football players Bixente Lizarazu and Emmanuel Petit, the swimmer Franck Esposito and the judoka Djamel Bouras. He won the title of European champion, and put his project of going to business school on the back burner.
He was recruited as a Sales Manager at Electroclass, an SME in the Fichet-Bauche group specialised in automatic stock systems. In eight years, his territory extended to the south-east region of France. « That was the result of an interesting meeting with the right General Manager. »
He managed to convince his employer and the French Karate Federation to co-finance part of his MBA. « I had budding entrepreneurial spirit, and an empirical approach to development strategies. I couldn’t enter my ’’blue ocean’’ without a method. » He participated in the creation of a high-level track in his discipline, whilst at the same time targeting industrial companies for his next professional step.
Schneider Electric head-hunted him, and sent him to Algeria as Sales and Marketing Manager. In just a few months, he had increased the strength of the local liaison office, which became a full-blown subsidiary.
Next stop: Saudi Arabia. This was an important change, to this huge high voltage competitive market, dominated by American groups. Mohamed Soltani concentrated on product range and sales policy, learned Arabic via direct current with a University professor, and ended up in direct drive with the customers, as Director of Operational Sales. « It was the great moment of truth! »
He came back to France in 2005, for the HYPERLINK "https://www.linkedin.com/vsearch/p?title=Corporate+Sales+Efficiency+Manager&trk=prof-exp-title" Corporate Sales Efficiency department, which plays a connecting role between sales and marketing. He then became a generator of customer relations tools for the heads of subsidiaries in 48 countries.
Four years later, he joined the newly created ‘’Global marketing’’ unit, and contributed, via strategic planning and marketing, to the galvanisation and development of operational units throughout the world. « I love to design innovative, ambitious, audacious projects, at the service of collective success. »
Even if, to stay resistant, Mohamed Soltani has added marathon running to karate, he remains first and foremost a karateka: guided by integrity, reliability, and loyalty, especially to his School and to the Graduate Association, of which he is a member of the Board.
EM Lyon: MBA 2000 Translation : Carole Bausor, ILTC Date de parution : 01/06/15