Hospitality Industry
2 min read

Master's student portrait: Guillaume Foussier's entrepreneurial road

EHL Insights
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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 second episode with Guillaume Foussier, who graduated from EHL in 2013, before pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts with a major in finance at Harvard University in the US. Since then, he's worked in social impact investment and financial analysis before founding the startup platform AceUp, which provides human-centred leadership coaching for individuals and teams.

 

Developing an interest in finance

Guillaume Foussier hadn’t always been interested in finance, so it came as a surprise to him that he decided to choose this as a specialism while at EHL.

 

His internships during his bachelor studies confirmed to him the importance of financial literacy, and after graduating he interned as a financial analyst at the firm Raymond James in London. It was as a result of all these experiences that this native French speaker decided to develop his skills further by pursuing a master’s with a finance major at American Ivy League university Harvard.

 

Harvard has a stellar reputation. Did your time at EHL give you the confidence to apply?

“With no doubt, what EHL gave me the confidence to do is be able to pursue higher education in English, which is obviously not my mother tongue. And I'm pretty sure that I would not have tried to go down that path if I hadn't had the experience I had at EHL.”

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How did EHL prepare you for the challenges of your master’s?

“In BOSC3 I did this specialization in finance and I remember working really hard because I wanted to prove myself. Also, coming back from this internship I did in London, where I was surrounded by people who came from highly prestigious universities, it was important for me to prove myself academically. I think EHL helped me develop confidence through this journey in being able to really invest in myself academically and succeed.”

 

How did Harvard help you develop interests that now feed into your company AceUp, which specialises in leadership coaching?

“When I was at Harvard, I was able to do this major in finance because at this point in time it had become my comfort zone, so to speak. But I also did a minor in organizational behaviour, which was the first time I started to really develop this subject matter expertise, that is organizational development, leadership developments, neuroscience, behavioural change. And really understanding the science behind how we help an organization develop a set of values, leadership principles and behaviours that can help people come together and work in a way that drives connection, collaboration, innovation at all levels of the organization. [AceUp is] absolutely the aggregate of all these experiences from EHL, from Harvard, that came together to serve a purpose that was very meaningful to me.”

 

Your interest in coaching developed further after having some coaching yourself. How did that affect you? 

“It was a life changing experience for me in so many ways. And then I started this idea, a kind of obsession, of how we could leverage technology to make coaching more accessible, transparent and also affordable to all, so that we could really help people at any level of their career, and people from any background, have access to a solution that could profoundly empower themselves to thrive in their life and career.”

 

What advice would you give EHL students about to graduate?

“I think what is important is to get out of your comfort zone, try new things. You will probably fail, and that's okay, that's part of the journey. But it's really important to take action and try to be bold in some of the challenges you want to give to yourself and try to overcome. Because it's really through these experiences that you're going to shape a conviction of what is the right fit for you and what is actually giving you meaning or purpose. So just keep trying and just keep failing, and what you really are meant to do with your life will become obvious along the way.”

 

What’s your biggest wish for your career?

“To be able to impact positively the lives and the careers of many.”

Listen to the full interview with Guillaume Foussier here

 

 
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“I guess I was curious intellectually to be able to develop my technical and analytical expertise in this subject matter. And I had the chance to have really interesting teachers at EHL that gave me the interest and the passion to learn more.”
Will Guillaume Foussier, Co-Founder & CEO at AceUp