Lyon is my favorite city in the world

Hana Machkova refuses to choose between her career and her family life. Married for thirty five years and the mother of two grown up children, Hana who has long been captain of her volleyball team, is not the kind of person to conceal her interest for top positions. A strong woman "but not harsh at all", she hastens to add. If work has tried in vain to make her, there is only one enemy capable of affecting her: meanness.

Founder of the Franco-Czech Institute for Management, member of Prague Diplomatic Academy of Foreign Affairs, President of the first Business School in Eastern Europe, ranked in the Czech "25 Top Women", Hana has several positions. She has recently been made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur At the French Embassy, others would have remained speechless. Since she was rewarded for the academic ties established between the Czech Republic and France, she decided to surprise with a ceremonial address in her mother tongue and in her adopted language: "It is rather rare not to call upon a translator. On this day, it was very moving to combine both languages. And then, this award is the peak of my carrier. After that, I have no other ambition… or may be becoming an active grand-mother!", she joked.

Hana arrived early at her morning appointment: "As soon as my plane lands here, I feel happy. Lyon is my favorite city in the world". She walks on its piers, admires its architecture, meets again with her colleagues at the Manufacture des Tabacs, but also reconnect with the language of Molière which she has practiced since the age of eight: "My parents were both intellectuals ; they wanted me to join a prestigious school to learn foreign languages". A gifted and diligent student, she remembers nursery rhymes which she hums while blowing on her coffee. If the young woman willing to work abroad will join Prague University of Economics and will devote her research work to the analysis of the French Canadian Economy, she will soon get back to her first love: French.  

In her last year of studies, her level and her attendance were noticed; she was offered a future as a Ph.D. student: "My family includes fourteen professors, and since I was little, I have been playing at being a primary school teacher, so I said to myself “why not becoming a French language teacher." This project kicked off but was interrupted by the birth of her two children: “In Eastern countries, family is very important and a woman must stay home to raise her children. Even if it made me very happy, I must say I felt a little sad… I have therefore asked to have the opportunity to teach at least one hour a week”, Hana explains resolutely. But “ her real career" begins when she learns that she has been chosen to receive a scholarship from the French government to join EM Strasbourg in order to complete her research work. "This is your chance! You must go!", her parents and her husband told her. If Hana felt she was still a bit young and feared being away from her family, she speaks today about this move as her best investment. When she came back, all doors were being open to her, her ties with France increased tenfold. While teaching Marketing at the International Trade Department, Hana commits naturally to what gave her so much: “Nowhere else do I find the strength of Francophilia, I am a great Francophile”.

To succeed you must be optimistic, generous and never lose your smile.

In order to strengthen the academic links between her host country and her homeland, she commits to the foundation of the French-Czech Institute for Management and launches new successful partnerships, similar to the one with iaelyon: "At IFTG, we learn French Management methods. Today, I hope we inspire each other but at the beginning, I was very much guided by partners. In particular, for the development of the Master’s in Management and Business Administration and iaelyon degree in Prague", explains the member of iaelyon International Advisory Board. And since Hana Machkova cannot be stopped, it is now as the first woman President of University in her country that she undertakes new reforms and ensures the pursuit of her commitments in favor of the international dimension. Today, she is responsible for seven hundreds professors, among whom her son Martin, graduated from iaelyon, and nearly seventeen thousands students, and cannot hide her pride to see Prague University of Economics send each year nearly a thousand of them abroad: "My daddy, Dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and national coach of the Czech ice hockey team, always told me: “Hana, to succeed you must be optimistic, generous and never lose your smile. My success came that way. I believe it is true: when you give a lot, you receive too”. Because it is healthy to take time for yourself, Hana entrusts her son Martin with the position of Executive Director of the Franco-Czech Institute for Management.

And with a concern for rigor, the President of the University decided to stop after more than thirty years of teaching: “I am very diligent with my courses and I have always told myself that when I will not have time to prepare them perfectly, I will take a break. But I remain hard-working and my next challenge is to write each month an article related to Management or Economics for the “Leader Voice” section of a Czech review. "My son tells me that I am always working, but how could it be otherwise when you enjoy it so much?” she exclaims before measuring how lucky she has been over so many years. A success she owes her “tolerant" husband, her parents who supported her to learn French, the scholarship from the French government, of course, and more generally this country which helped her go away and find her way "I owe everything to France, absolutely all my career!”. According to her success has nothing to do with miracle and it will always require more than a hide-and-seek. She admits that it is also due to her good study and her unwavering will. "It is only if you are able to see it and if you are ready to take it that chance will find you. I was very prepared" she concludes blushing, without knowing that once more, Hana has taught, before going, one of her beautiful lessons.