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Career enquiry: find your red thread and be curious around it

Published 19 August 2022 in Career path • 5 min read

When it comes to forging a long and varied career, make sure you stay curious and ready to shrug off expectations that do not reflect your personal interests and values, says MBA graduate Corinne Avelines. 


After more than 20 years working for medium and big corporates, Corinne Avelines, CEO, SIBIUS (MBA 2009), followed her curiosity to join a food tech and then two healthcare startups. Making career decisions that match her evolving interests and need for change has been integral to her progression and drive.

Avelines’ career began as a Business Director for several engineering firms over 12 years. While expecting her first child, she decided to move country and follow an MBA course with IMD, to increase her international exposure and address gaps in her business knowledge.

“I was the oldest person in the cohort and already had a significant amount of experience, but I have always enjoyed questioning and putting myself into the new starter’s position again,” she said. “I wanted to fill the blanks [in my knowledge] with the MBA; strategy, finance, supply chain were the subjects I needed more exposure to,” she said.

After the MBA, the corporate world beckoned, and Avelines took chief digital officer roles at navigation company TomTom, coffee and tea company D.E. Master Blenders (now JDE), and then paint and coating manufacturer AkzoNobel. At the same time, Avelines’ advisory work also kept her connected to the startup world, as a non-executive advisor for three early-stage startups in MedTech, tourism and strategic consulting. She also took the opportunity to develop her non-executive journey, as a supervisory board member at Transdev NL (public transportation) in the Netherlands and Spadel (mineral waters) listed in Belgium.

As a result, she was able to make a full-time move into startups. “I needed a change. The corporates were great but involved time-consuming politics and bureaucracy. I decided it was time to change for the more dynamic, fast-paced and innovative culture of a startup,” she said.

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