[Job portrait] “My career has always been, directly or indirectly, tied up with the international dimension”

21 January 2021 Human ressources International Story

Alexandrine Blanc, an engineering graduate from INSA Lyon, manages the Department of Surface Ship Combat Systems Architects. Alexandrine joined Naval Group as a subcontractor in 1995. After working in functional integration, she became a Combat Systems Architect on various programs, including the FREMM multi-mission frigates. She worked on two consecutive programs for the Norwegian navy: the modernisation of the 14 Hauk-class patrol boats, followed by the design and construction of the 6 Skjold corvettes. Alexandrine also spent 2 two years in Malaysia (2012-2014) on the Gowind® programme, focusing on the Transfer of Technology and know-how.

“When I was a student, working abroad was less common than it is today; now it’s almost mandatory to have some experience abroad as part of your study course. But it’s not for everyone. Working abroad, or for export customers, means that you must be able to question yourself. There’s no point in turning up with preconceived ideas. You have to listen twice as hard and be twice as patient, explaining what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and listening to and understanding the needs and constraints of customers and partners that you don't know so well. And accept that things are done differently. Because other navies have their own specific geopolitical contexts, histories and operational expectations: it's about their sovereignty. It is up to us to understand that and to adapt.

My entire career has been marked out by the international dimension. I have had the opportunity to work on many export programmes, but always with a common thread: combat systems for surface ships. Today, I am still strongly connected to the international side through my team of architects, who are in permanent contact with foreign customers. In general, because Naval Group's international dynamism is very strong, our export activity has borne up well.

For Naval Group, international development is essential. This drives us to innovate, to move forward in new ways, and to improve our industrial performance because the competition out there is strong, and the commercial context poses constant challenges. Being international makes us agile, and forces us to be ever more efficient and ready to question ourselves: we have to keep prices down, go faster at every stage, adjust to new partnerships, while all the time maintaining the requirements of quality, safety and reliability on which Naval Group's reputation rests.

Would I work abroad again? Why not… providing all the stars are aligned. In any case, if I were a young graduate today, I would be won over by the many opportunities offered by Naval Group.”