Edouard Serre

MBA '11

Business Development Director
Distribution Leader Price Madagascar

What do you do professionally?

I have lots of fun, doing a few things: 

  • Day to day, I am the business development director for Distribution Leader Price Madagascar (DLPM), a family-owned company that operates a chain of supermarkets and various food manufacturing facilities. Here, I manage our dairy production facility, making different sorts of yogurts and cheeses, and I help grow the business by expanding our reach on the island. In 2014, we are opening shops in two major cities. I supervise these projects, from construction to opening.
  • On the side, I am also the co-founder and managing director of Graph'Air, a charter company. Currently, we own and operate four aircrafts, from a small Cessna 182 that seats four people, to a luxurious Beechcraft Super King Air 200 that can transport up to nine people in an executive cabin.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

With my job at DLPM, I get to have both a very "hands-on" role with our dairy plant and a very strategic role when expanding our market reach. This is extremely satisfying, as I get to lead both with my hands and my head. There is no satisfaction greater than seeing a product you made in your own little chain being sold in a store on the other side of the fourth largest island in the world, knowing that all along, your supply chain has managed to keep it fresh. If you know Madagascar, you know how much of a feat this is to accomplish.

With my little airline, I get to fly some really cool toys and go to some really cool places in Madagascar and the surrounding islands. Plus there is something to be said about trying to get a little airline off the ground. This is, by far, my most exciting adventure.

What is the biggest challenge you face?

The lack of infrastructure in Madagascar is both my biggest challenge and my biggest opportunity. Here, we have no highways, and the roads we have are riddled with pot holes. However, we have great airports… The math is pretty simple.

What sorts of interesting places has your position taken you? Do you have a favorite?

I have a soft spot for a little paradise island in the northwest of Madagascar. It is called Nosy Be. Reunion Island, Mauritius and the Seychelles are also all fantastic.

What is the best professional advice you've received?

Bill Mayew, who desperately tried to teach me financial accounting, made me promise, whatever I do, to hire an accountant… I also really am thankful for all the people who pushed me to keep on being an entrepreneur. 

Aside from your current role, what is your dream job?

I would really like to own an airline. Although I call Graph'Air a little airline, the road to that status is not even paved yet. But that is what makes it interesting.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love the outdoors. I love to climb, and to hike. I try to get one adventure in per year. Last year was the GR20, known as Europe's toughest long-distance hike. This year I am planning a 10-day hike around Lake Baikal in Siberia.

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at Fuqua?

Everything I remember from my time at Fuqua must be important… But if I have to choose, two things come to mind: Soft skills matter more than hard skills, they allow you to work in groups effectively. The other one is learning how to properly use Microsoft Excel. This program is simply amazing, as long as you use a PC.

Who was your favorite professor?

Tough one… Shane Dikolli and his ability to make managerial accounting the most fantastic topic on earth, and Pino Lopomo, my Game Theory Jedi Master. 

What is your favorite Fuqua memory?

Too many. I can't possibly choose one. But here are some: 

  • Hiking part of the Appalachian Trail with S-Master Bob, Bear Grylls, and Midnight… When you hike the AT, tradition dictates that you get a trail name. These guys will recognize themselves. 
  • Team Room 60.
  • Anything with Section 6

What does Team Fuqua mean to you?

Team Fuqua to me is the essence of this business school. It is forever part of who I am and who I want to become. Team Fuqua is an extended family that constantly reminds me to be accountable for my actions, always strive for better, and never take the easy way out. I firmly believe that being part of Team Fuqua is a responsibility to better yourself, and an honor to be part of a network of truly amazing individuals.