Gervais N. Kamga

Gervais N. Kamga
Ph.D. in Telecommunications, 2018

Founder and CEO, Move to Top

Gervais Komgo

“The Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications research centre at INRS offers a stimulating and encouraging environment. It has allowed me to excel. I have made a lot of progress on all levels. Not only in terms of academic development, but also on a personal, professional, and entrepreneurial level.”

As a child, Gervais N. Kamga attended a small rural school in Cameroon where the environment was hardly favorable to school learning. In fact, Gervais experienced rather difficult study conditions that were not conducive to academic success. Nevertheless, through perseverance and determination, he managed to distinguish himself by his good results and hard work, so much so that, upon completing high school, he participated in a national mathematics competition and was selected to represent his native country in the Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad. Various competition entries followed, as well as financial support, which allowed Gervais to travel to Morocco to pursue his endeavour. In 2011, he graduated from the Mohammadia School of Engineering with a degree in engineering, specialized in electronics, networks, and telecommunications.

His academic talents during his engineering studies were noticed by a professor, a graduate of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), who told him about graduate programs offered at the Centre Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications research centre. Gervais was interested and decided to move to Montréal to advance his knowledge in the field of wireless communications, under the direction of Sonia Aïssa, professor and scientific director of the Wireless Laboratory at INRS. He then undertook a master’s degree in telecommunications and obtained a doctorate in telecommunications in 2018 with an “excellent rating.” He recalls: “I was very lucky to meet Professor Aïssa who supported, guided and inspired me throughout my journey at INRS. I experienced many difficulties, but I persevered. The Centre Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications at INRS offers a stimulating and encouraging environment. It allowed me to excel. I have made a lot of progress on all levels. Not only in terms of academic development, but also on a personal, professional and entrepreneurial level.”

Gervais shares two highlights from his time at INRS: “First, the time when I took part in the public speaking competition ‘Ma thèse en 180 secondes.’ It was a great source of pride for me to be selected to compete in the national final. It accentuated a moment of personal triumph for me, as I had just finished my PhD. Moreover, I had to represent the whole of INRS at this competition. Second, my other memorable moment was when I was told that I had obtained my PhD with ‘excellent’ marks. These two memories not only highlight my academic achievements, but also allowed me to develop other important aspects of my career.”

Although he considers that his doctorate did not start well, Gervais believes that it is thanks to the perseverance he has always had that he was able to overcome the obstacles. “Success is a matter of strategy and mental attitude. Every time you fail, you have to learn from the situation, learn from your mistakes and start again stronger. With this approach, I was able to complete my doctorate with the highest honours. It further supports the fact that in life, no matter where you are, and no matter what difficulties you are going through, you just have to look ahead and stay the course.”

And what is the most important lesson Gervais has learned from his time at INRS? “That anything is possible in life. If you have a dream, protect it. Go for it. Work on it. If you can’t do it, it’s not that you don’t have the ability to do it, it just means that you haven’t got all the ingredients to make your dream come true. This is a great opportunity to analyse what you have done, to look at your mistakes, to study your failures, to question yourself, to look at the strategies you have used and to ask yourself the question: what state of mind have I been in throughout the journey? Did I believe in myself? Did I feel like giving up? And try again until you get it right.”.

After obtaining his PhD, Gervais launched his own company, Move to Top, which aims to transform the lives of young people, both personally and academically. He works with them on what he deems essential skills to successfully achieve one’s goals and ambitions: self-esteem, leadership, and focus. He also teaches effective work and organisational methodologies. “You have to work on the person and not just the knowledge. My business is based on my own background and story, and I want to share my experience and the strategies that led me to success.”

When asked what advice he would have for our current students, Gervais answers without hesitation: “that a good student is not just one who focuses on academic success. It is also a person who is open to personal development, to leadership, and who wants to work on their confidence. Every test in our journey is an opportunity to work on our self-confidence and perseverance. You have to seize it. Generally speaking, my studies at INRS have allowed me to surpass myself, as I had also done earlier in my life. I was also able to work on my organisational skills and my creativity. INRS was a real springboard for me to embark on this incredible adventure, that of my company,” he concludes.

[Interviewed in November 2022.]

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