[PORTRAIT] Elliott Drouvin - Human aspect, what else?
ü Describe yourself in a few words
I joined IÉSEG in the third year when I applied to several places after obtaining a degree in Marketing Techniques. To be honest, IÉSEG was not the first place I had in mind for the rest of my studies. I’d taken several admission exams and made several applications, all of which - to my great joy - had been accepted, but IÉSEG quickly became the frontrunner after a visit of the School. I was really struck by the kindness, human warmth, and mutual support that I found there - things that seemed to me to be entirely lacking other establishments. I felt they had somehow managed to step outside the stereotype of the usual business school, while keeping a dynamism which is very much its signature. And it was this atmosphere that immediately drew me to IÉSEG. My experience there, in terms of what I learned as well as the people I met, means that I would do it all again in a heartbeat, 100 times over.
ü What have been the main steps in your career?
After travelling abroad a lot during my Masters in Marketing, I got my first job as a result of an internship. It was a bit of a dream scenario: being hired by the company at the end of your internship is perfect, if you’re happy there.That was also the reason I chose that internship. I knew there were a lot of opportunities in that particular sector of IT.
I spent four years with them, changing positions and responsibilities several times, before being approached by a company in the banking sector. As well as being very well paid, the approach came at a moment when I was ready for a change and wanted to discover other things and other sectors. And so having never particularly thought about working in the financial sector, I seized the opportunity to take on the job I do today, as International Product Manager of a payment solution (which is first and foremost a Marketing position).
ü What is your greatest achievement and what are you most proud of professionally?
I’ve always been lucky in that as part of my work I get to travel a lot. In particular I took part in the two biggest High-Tech gatherings in the world, which are the CES in Las Vegas, and the one in Shanghai. And I can tell you that it was pretty incredible!
ü What do you remember about your time at IÉSEG?
My most vivid memories are chiefly related to the people I met. Because for me, it is people who shape people - those we meet, those who teach us things and those we work alongside -. and I have maintained very strong links with some of them. That’s why I like to say IÉSEG is above all a community - because we share the same values, and because we are proud of them.
ü What was the school like a few years ago? Do you think things have changed or stayed the same?
I have taken part in several events, such as admissions interviews or orientation and advice days. And despite the new students, the new programmes and the new departments, I feel that the DNA is just the same. I’d just forgotten how young we were back then 😊
ü What links have you kept with your old classmates and with the School?
I’ve kept a lot of links with alumni, some of whom are among my best friends. As I have already said, for me IÉSEG is a community. I know that if someone tells me they went to IÉSEG, there’s a 99% chance we will get on!
Whether they are older or more recent graduates (there are fewer of those - I didn't leave that long ago), there is always this same DNA. If I’m talking to someone and we realise that we both went to IÉSEG, there’s a little look that passes between us, a certain trust that establishes itself. There’s almost a complicity, because we always have shared memories, and ultimately there’s a sense that we know who we are dealing with. The concept of the network is not just something invented by business schools 😊
ü Do you have a message for those graduating in 2019 whose degree ceremony is taking place in Paris in May?
The main message I would like to pass on to those graduating and to all those who come after them is this: that you shouldn’t be afraid to take a risk. Dare to try, don't be afraid of making a mistake - whether it’s deciding which direction to take, the choice of a masters or subjects, the choice of internship or destination ... whatever. The important thing is not to have any regrets. There is nothing wrong with making a mistake, on the contrary! We often learn much more from our failures than from our successes. It may sound obvious, even a bit of cliché, but it is ultimately so true.
So try, crash, and start again! But whatever you do, always do it because you like it and because it makes you happy. In the end, this is really what should guide your choices: enjoy yourself.