A French SME through the eyes of an American intern

"As I arrived at ACIMEX to start the first chapter of my internship, I was a bit nervous. I had always fit in to a new group easily and was sure that I would get on with my new colleagues. Yet I was nervous nonetheless. Having only been familiar working in major institutions (complete with a nebulous hierarchy) in France and the US, I was going to be an intern in a French SME for the first time, and one I hadn’t chosen randomly: a local industrial SME known the world over for its “savoir-faire” and outstanding reputation. I certainly didn’t want to disappoint.

It didn’t take long for me to come around. The behavior I saw when I arrived at ACIMEX made me think of the cliché of an up and coming American start-up, as shown in countless films. This by itself was far from my preconceived notions of a French SME. Close collaboration between departments on a project, meetings to review work flow and evaluate changes that need to be made, and an energetic atmosphere. In becoming a part of this work environment, I saw the skills of 50 years of experience in action. From the get go, I thought that this would be a very formative experience, and I was not mistaken.

Recently introduced to international business, and despite my nascent skill set, I dove in to the very heart of my work accompanied by my mentor. It reminded me of my days as a French teacher, using a rather effective learning by doing strategy, except that this time, I was the one reaping the benefits.

My experience at ACIMEX has rhymed with fellowship. At times, I thought I was in a big family: tight-knit, easygoing, all while being earnest and motivated. There are also a few young ‘siblings’ supported by their elders. ACIMEX’s social policies take into account the potential of their younger ‘siblings’ in attaining its goals – innovation, excellence, and growth – values that matter just as much now as they did when ACIMEX was founded.

Already part way into the second chapter of my internship, I’ve had no change of heart. Au contraire! My collaboration with ACIMEX continues, and it’s something I can be proud of."

William, trainee in « Management of SMEs » degree, Victor Laloux High School in Tours, France

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