Written on 06 Feb 2019.
Alix Akoun, MSc in Global & Sustainable Business student, shares her reaction to the recent EDHEC guest speaker talk held by Matthieu Proust, General Manager UK & Ireland at WeWork, a company that provides shared workspaces for technology startup subculture communities, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses and large enterprises.
WHY ARE EACH EDHEC’S GUEST SPEAKER TALKS DIFFERENT FROM ONE ANOTHER?
First of all, EDHEC talks in the MSc in Global & Sustainable Business are great opportunities to meet with top executives willing to share their knowledge.
Each event is a privileged time of a truthful exchange with a professional giving us insights not only on his career path but also on his personal life, with both success and failures.
Every professional, with their style, nourish our young avid minds with various interesting topics such as market evolution or managerial tips.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST DURING THIS TALK?
As a top-level executive, I was amazed by Mr Proust openness and sincerity.
With realness, he shared what has his journey been like.
Indeed, from a young age, he had a clear ambition which was to manage a “big company”. Therefore, throughout his life, he took decisions taking him closer to this goal. Leaving France to settle down in the UK some time ago, was an opportunity he seized in order to reach is objective.
As a former EDHEC student and now alumni, he put himself in our shoes with ease, helping us to project ourselves in the coming years.
HOW HAS THIS TALK RESHAPED YOUR PERCEPTION OF HOW REAL ESTATE BUSINESS CAN BE DISRUPTED BY BUSINESS MODEL AND TECHNICAL INNOVATIONS?
The disruption that WeWork is setting in the real estate sector is not only about offering office space. WeWork is aiming for a more transcendent intent. In fact, I discovered that WeWork also plays an intermediary role between landlords and companies willing to establish themselves in global cities, challenged by lease agreements. In addition to that, WeWork “create(s) a world where people work to make a life, not just a living”, by designing friendly, sustainable, and vegan ecosystems worldwide.
HOW DID THIS TALK HELP YOU TO RETHINK ON SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES IN DISRUPTIVE INDUSTRIES?
To conclude, Mr Proust shared with us his undeniable entrepreneurial spirit and wisdom. As a piece of advice, he encouraged us to keep on being students for life by continuously learning on various topics. He affirmed that this is a major key to happiness. Indeed, he strongly insisted on developing oneself by doing what we enjoy the most. For him, loving what we do reflects positively on our career path, and also shapes our personal lives and relationships with others.
In traditional businesses or in disruptive industries, Mr Proust inspired us to place well-being at the centre of my decision-making process, especially when searching for a first job or an end of study internship.