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The Sopra Steria Group’s digital transformation consulting firm is expanding its efforts with NEOMA students to increase the number of graduates from the school who already work there.

Traditionally, Sopra Steria would recruit more from engineering and tech schools. But since 2015, the dedicated “Next” branch has needed business school students for its consulting positions.

Making themselves known

Not as well known by students as its competitors like Capgemini, Accenture or Wavestone, Sopra Steria however is a digital transformation consulting leader in Europe and has more than 46,000 employees in 30 countries, with 3,400 consultants in Europe and 1,900 in France working for the brand Next.

To improve its reputation with its potential future employees, the company is developing a new school relations strategy.

Two NEOMA graduates, Paul Rouanet, HR Digital Consulting Manager at Sopra Steria Next and MiM Class of 2018,  and Alexandre Michel, Consultant in the Transport department of Sopra Steria Next working on IT Transformation and TEMA Class of 2019, were entrusted with developing the partnership between the school and the company.

As consultants at Sopra Steria Next and NEOMA campus managers, we are responsible for the partnership’s daily operational oversight. As those who interface with the school, our role consists of identifying, promoting and coordinating actions performed with students,” Paul Rouanet said.

Visiting the campuses

Since signing the partnership with Sopra Steria Next and TEMA, the Tech & Management programme at NEOMA Business School, in July 2020, the events and efforts have increased.

This collaboration takes the form of conferences and talks given by professionals in the courses as well as company tours, both in-person and virtual. There are a dozen occasions each year for students to learn about the company’s missions and professions, the technologies involved, and to talk with employees.

Since the start of the 2021 school year, the actions have extended to other programmes. For example, in February 2022, the HR Consulting entity of Sopra Steria Next presented its activities and career opportunities to students in the MSc Human Resources & Consulting programme.

The two campus managers also helped with the pre-selection in February for the public-speaking competition organised by Sopra Steria Next – whose final based on the topic of digital ethics and  which will include a NEOMA student, takes place in March at the main office of the Sopra Steria Group. The subject was not chosen randomly. “Data protection, digital thrift and ethics governance are important points for us,” Paul Rouanet said. “Our participation at the school enables us to advance in this consideration by learning from the interactions we have with professors and students. Most of our efforts are marked by these aspects of corporate digital ethics, trust and responsibility.”

Recruit and retain

Sopra Steria Next often has its NEOMA graduate employees come interact with the students to create a sense of closeness.

The feedback from school graduates helps students envision themselves working with us,” Paul Rouanet said. “It’s important for us to recruit from the same school because it creates links between consultants, a cohort effect. People end up staying longer, which responds to our need to retain our employees. We have focused on the goal of recruiting at least twenty students each year.

Then, to advance more quickly in the missions given to them, the employees that we recruit go through an integration programme, then have ongoing training for two weeks a year, and they receive managerial support at different levels (entity, HR, mentor).”