Meet Ludivine CHALENÇON, Associate Professor


The answers to the first questions are marked by a terse modesty: perhaps because Ludivine is still wondering what led her to accept having her portrait drawn. The young doctor tests the water and willingly admits that she "likes to know where she sets foot". A necessary precondition for releasing pressure and speech, a relative shyness though when you know that this very recently appointed lecturer spends part of her weeks “performing” in lecture halls. The path followed by Ludivine can be traced back to the dawn of her transition to secondary education. This loyalty cannot even be denied by arithmetic: "I am a pure product of this School; I spent eleven years out of twenty-nine here". Here, trajectories are stubborn and consecration is earned through abnegation. Welcome behind the scenes of iaelyon, where vocations are awaken before its pretenders even discover the real nature of their aspirations. 

In spite of her success, Ludivine is no exception and also started by searching for an answer to Gilbert Bécaud’s famous question which never fails to plunge young high-school graduates to the depth of introspection: "And now, what shall I do?" For this “wizard at maths”, her taste for numbers naturally converted to a taste for finance. Like a carnival, her years of Bachelor’s in Economics-Management have flown by with joy and good humor and no questioning. When she chooses a Professional Master’s in Finance, the aim is clear but the intentions are more blurry: “I wanted to keep the practical aspect of working in a company but at the same time teaching had always excited me”. At the smorgasbord feast of “à la carte” courses, she seizes the opportunity to take a step to the side and register in a module on research work “just in case, just to see what the daily life of a university lecturer is like”. This little deviation became a bifurcation since it proved to Ludivine that research was not only about wearing the seat of her pants on the university benches : “At the beginning, I attended this tutorial for its content on teaching, then I discovered its practical aspect and research: I got caught up by the game”. Before throwing herself into the University jungle, she feels the need to make the persistently vague contours a little more precise. Her meeting with François Lantin, an Associate Professor in Accounting, is the kick-start which defuses the fear of the thesis: “He gave me a fair, pragmatic and transparent view of life as a Ph.D. student. He further convinced me”.

I am often teased about my knowledge of all the University maps

Stacks of books and posting lines, Ph.D. work has all the impedimenta to down the toughest and most motivated ones. From her intimidated first steps to the saving obstinacy, Ludivine manages to write her thesis on International Management in four years, “removing one apprehension after another”. And if the writer’s block trap closes on her inspiration, this Haute-Savoie native could very well have recharged her batteries in the mountains where the climate usually puts ideas back in place. But not at all. Ludivine had already found her haven for which she had developed “an emotional relationship” and whose name resonates in an efficient three vowels logo: “I wrote my entire thesis at iaelyon”. Besides, she knows the smallest tortuous nooks of this School, with its architecture designed by Dedalus which has already tortured generations of students with a poor sense of direction: “I am often teased about my knowledge of all the University’s maps”. It is however thanks to the influence of her thesis supervisors, Ulrike Mayrhofer and Alain Marion, that Ludivine is torn from her rock to do some travelling, combining business with pleasure: “I went on exchange to the University of Charlotte, in North Carolina and I also spent six months at UQAM in Montréal. I started to enjoy meeting other cultures. It allowed me to broaden my perspective”. To think large, as some would say.

On November 25, 2014, in one of iaelyon classrooms, the atmosphere becomes more sententious while a jury quietly prepares for what he does best. On this day, one heart is beating faster than the others: "Defense is highly stressful! You feel as if years of work are being played out in one afternoon". No need to prolong the suspense, the much dreaded catastrophe failed to occur. Ludivine earns her Doctorate with very honorable distinction and unanimous congratulations from the jury. To crown this tremendous achievement, the Association of Directors of Mergers-Acquisitions awards her the Prize for Best Thesis: "I was delighted, this really is a strong recognition by professionals”. Because iaelyon always manages to retain its talented students, it offered Ludivine to exchange her student status for a lecturer’s one. Of course, this ending was also expected. The opportunity to take the place of those who guided her steps was too good to be declined: "It is an exciting work because I keep in touch with companies and my research contributes to nurturing my teaching. There are of course time constraints, but apart from that we enjoy an amazing freedom". A kind of entrepreneurship without the sources of concern. Ready to transmit her love for her work, Ludivine has already notched her first point: "My thesis years inspired my husband who embarked upon the PhD adventure while working as a tax advisor". Demonstration of bravery or declaration of love: the choice is yours!