In an exciting new series of our Alumni Network Podcast we chat to EHL graduates who embarked on a bachelor’s adventure at EHL and then pursued master’s degrees across the globe.
Here’s a taster of the latest episode with Marie Espié. After graduating from EHL in 2017, Marie studied for a Master of Science Entrepreneurs, a joint program offered by HEC Paris and Ecole Polytechnique Paris. On graduation, she worked in several different sectors including restaurants, e-commerce and retail, before joining a tourism start-up in the role of Project Manager Officer.
A born entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship is in Marie Espié’s blood. Her father, also an EHL graduate, has his own real estate company, while her grandparents are entrepreneurs too. Yet on arrival at EHL, Marie’s aim was to eventually work for a big hotel chain or luxury brand. However, final year courses in business development and entrepreneurship began to change her mind, while time spent working as an academic assistant in the school’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Department was particularly inspiring.
It's really there that I said, ‘Wow, this world is super fun, it's super dynamic; I want to evolve in this area.
What do you like about the world of entrepreneurship?
“You're in the heart of innovation. You're constantly staying up to date. I think it's very important for me because I'm a very curious person and you're always learning new stuff and you're never bored. You can work on a lot of projects at the same time. You can do finance, you can do marketing, you can do operations, customer service. I love to work in a 360-degree job.”
What di d your master’s involve?
“The goal of this program is to offer complete immersion into the entrepreneur and start-up world and to give you all the keys to face this challenging world, and also to learn the soft skills and hard skills to launch a successful project."
How does this connect with your desire to work in hospitality?
I'm really passionate about the hospitality world. For me, they [hospitality and entrepreneurship] are very complementary. When I was at EHL, I thought it would be great to … link the hospitality industry with innovation and the tech industry to propose new services. It's why I wanted to do the master’s – to have another point of view, new ways of management, new tools.
Was there anything in your master’s that sparked your interest in a new way?
“I took the deep tech option. It was challenging, but it was super interesting because I had the opportunity to work with people who had projects in hardware or cryptocurrency or machine learnings. I had to keep up, but it pushed me to learn how to code, and to work as a data analyst last year. I'm really happy to have done that.”
You’re now working for a tourism start-up. How have your skills and experiences led to this?
“For me, it was the perfect fit because I'm doing project management, but I'm also doing a lot of data analysis. I'm building financial projections, I'm creating the analysis to help decision-making for the CEO and other teams, depending on their needs. I'm also doing a business review each month to help the CEO and to track all our progression and our growth. I'm very happy to work again in the tourism industry.”
Have the alumni networks of EHL, HEC Paris and Ecole Polytechnique Paris helped you in your career so far?
“They have been very useful and they are still. It's great to learn people’s experiences. For me, it's very inspirational, and it helped me a lot when I had to face a problem or when I had questions. I think it's very important to build your own projects, but you need support to make the right decision – which tool will make you more efficient and is not so expensive, or maybe you have a tool now, but your start-up grows and you need other tools. Your community is here to help you and you don't have to be shy. Eighty percent of the time they are happy to answer your question.”
What's your biggest wish for your career now?
Maybe it's a bit cheesy, but it's really enjoying what I do every day. I think for me, that's the most important. I really try to love what I do.