Etienne Dalemont (student 1935-36, honorary fellow 1984) is the co-founder of the Association of Alumni of LSE in France, which helped him celebrate his 100th birthday in March 2010. He has had an impressive career in the petroleum industry, from its first fruits in the 1930s to holding a global position with the TOTAL Group. What led you to study at LSE? After some engineering studies in Paris and my military service, I wanted to study economics, which in the 1930s was a far more developed discipline in the UK than in France. I was fortunate enough to obtain a scholarship in order to study economic theory at LSE. Not only did this provide the chance for me to widen my scholarly orientation, but also opened my mind in general. I pursued this field of study and obtained a PhD in economics. What do you remember most about your time at the School? I was very impressed by the quality of the academic staff: the brilliant teaching and writings of Robbins, Hayek, Hicks and others. I was the only French student and was extremely impressed by the warmth I received on all occasions. The students had formed groups 44
of various political orientations or common interests and animated them with verve. All in all, I was very happy at LSE and the wide human experience has served me all my life. How did what you learned at LSE influence your career? At LSE, I nourished a great interest for price mechanisms in various types of markets. LSE introduced me to a very international environment, as my professional path was to become, and to democratic life and debates. Above all, I met many fantastic LSE students with whom I maintained close friendships for my entire life! I fully share Lord Dahrendorf’s feeling in his fascinating history of LSE: ‘LSE matters to those who have come to it. It is (…) an institution which has laid claim to a part of the hearts and souls of many.’ I am one of them!
What was your motivation for setting up the French alumni group? In 1982 Anne Bohm, the School’s alumni ambassador, came to Paris to meet some French alumni, including me. At that time, probably due to our professional constraints, we had little contact with each other, so decided to strengthen our links amongst ourselves and with LSE. Our group, initially informal, grew and grew: we met for lunches, dinners and debates, and we invited successive directors of LSE (I G Patel, Lord Dahrendorf, John Ashworth and Anthony Giddens) to Paris. It was not until autumn 1990 that we decided to give the group an official and legal status as a French ‘association’. Have you any advice for today’s LSE students? It is a privilege to be educated in an institution of the quality of LSE: one must make every effort to benefit from all that it offers, by working hard. But acquiring knowledge is not enough to make one’s life a success: one should set oneself ambitious objectives and have the determination to meet them. And never be discouraged along the way. Always remain open to the outside world, to others and listen to them. Why should alumni be active in alumni groups? Their first duty is to never forget the School and remain close, ready to assist with intellectual, professional and financial contributions so that LSE remains on top as an educational institution. On the other hand, they should also remain active in their social and professional circles: meet in regional groups, organise lectures, debates, social gatherings and assist each other in their professional careers. Etienne Dalemont was interviewed by Sylvie Audibert (Diploma in Business Studies 1994), committee member, LSE France.
direct people with similar interests, via their mobile phones, to the same venue and gives them an easy way to know what they have in common with others.
1999 Dana Denis-Smith (BSc International History), is managing director of Marker Global. She was recently named by Management Today as one of 35 top British businesswomen under 35. She started her career as a journalist, working for the Economist Group among others, before qualifying in English law and joining Linklaters.
Brady Calestro (BSc Sociology) is the founder of Mondokio.com, an international news website based in the US. Drawing on his studies at LSE, the site introduces a radical new approach to experiencing the news by allowing users to compare and contrast how news sources all over the world cover the same stories. LSE affiliated journalists, PR, web designers and potential investors are welcome to contact him at email@example.com.
2003 Matthew Asada (MSc European Politics) is now based in Washington, DC as a special assistant to Richard Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Previously Matthew spent two years as consul for political and economic affairs at the US Consulate General in Kolkata.