From France to Quebec – How to Adapt as a Business Analyst

In France, companies do not manage their IT projects in just the same way as in Quebec. That’s why expatriates who want to become business analysts in Quebec sometimes have trouble positioning themselves. Advice from an expert who made the leap.

Let’s begin with the name – business analyst. “In France, it’s a term reserved for large corporate groups,”  points out Camille Amathe, a business analyst who came to Quebec 4 years ago. “And then we say business analyst, in English of course!”

In France, the AMOA consultant (Assistant to the Contracting Authority) is the counterpart of a business analyst and the AMOE (Assistant to the Project Manager) is similar to the functional analyst.

Except for overseas, the role of those who embark on a career as a consultant is not cast in stone. “In France, skills are not in silos so much,” observes Camille Amathe. “A consultant is a jack-of-all-trades. You can do project management, business consulting. You are there to serve businesses,”

In Quebec, the business analyst has a very specific role and tasks, as well as a more standardized academic pathway. It is possible to have a Bachelor’s degree in the field and to obtain certification.

“Certification is not really necessary in France, while here it is quite the opposite. As a French expatriate, you really have to change your thinking and realize that certifications are important.”

Camille Amathe advises reflecting on the role that you want to play in an IT project, then to “professionalize” by seeking the required certifications (beginning with the IIBA certifications: ECBA, CCBA and CBAP). “It provides credibility with employers,” she adds.

Cultural differences

In addition, French people wanting to become business analysts in Quebec have every incentive to temper their expectations compared to the treatment consultants receive in France.

“In France there is a tendency to pamper consultants, because they want to keep them,” says Camille Amathe. “Companies want to retain their consultants, which is not the case here, except for a few companies.”

People from France must not rely to much on their degrees to find a job. Camille Amathe invites expatriates to invest time in networking.

“It’s important to go to events organized by the industry, attend conferences, take the time to meet people in your field.”

Camille Amathe leads by example, since today she sits on the board of directors of the IIBA – Montreal Section, as Director of Marketing and Community Relations.

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