Every year, the ESSEC Alumni Success Stories round table brings together graduates who have gone on to inspiring careers to share their experiences with the 350 first-year Grand École students. The 2018 event, hosted by Véronique Luizet (E92), with Andrée Chakhtoura (E04) - BoA Merrill Lynch, Céline Boisson (E05) - Google, Franck Luisada (E98) - BCG and Olivier Cotinat (E04) - serial entrepreneur.
This year, Alumni Success Stories brought together four guests with profiles as varied as they are exemplary, who told the story of their career paths at a round table held in the Grand Amphitheatre at the Cergy campus. The event was hosted by Véronique Luizet (E92), Vice President Regional Sales Manager France & Switzerland at Factset.
Speakers included Andrée Chakhtoura (E04), who has spent her entire career at the prestigious Bank of America Merrill Lynch. After holding Analyst roles in London and Hong Kong, she was appointed Dubai Managing Director in 2016. What a meteoric and truly international career path—just like Olivier Cotinat (E07), albeit in a different direction. This serial entrepreneur has founded no fewer than 5 startups since 2001: MoHo in 2008, Flayr in 2013, Schoolab in 2014, Snapfan in 2014 and Tapbuy in 2016. He also travels all over the world as a lecturer, including at Stanford and Berkeley. His motto? “Failure is a central part of an entrepreneur’s life. The most important thing is understanding, learning and being able to surround yourself with the right people.” It’s the same story from Céline Boisson (E05), who became Head of Marketing for Digital Skills at Google after a range of positions in marketing and communications at companies as prestigious as Unilever and BETC: “To find out what you enjoy, you need to get to know yourself, learn to always be introspective, meet people through the ESSEC network and use the tools that are available to you.” Franck Luisada (E98), who became Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group after an entrepreneurial journey and a career as a consultant at Gemini Telecom & Media and Oliver Wyman, shared this advice: “The network is an opportunity to discover and spend time with people who talk to you about their work to find out what suits you!”
The students were truly inspired by these talks and later had the opportunity to chat with the guests in the relaxed atmosphere of Le Foy’s and ask them questions face-to-face, with the graduates helping the students to make the right career path decisions, imagine their future professional lives and achieve work-life balance. After all, that’s the spirit of the Alumni Success Stories: showcasing the success of the older generations to help the younger generations achieve success in turn.