Why launching a startup after my MBA at IESE Business School?

Launching a startup is hard, but is at least as much intense and fun as studying an MBA. After two years going through the intensity of the MBA program, you’re ready to go on the next journey, the entrepreneurial one !


Pre-MBA / Pre-startup life

My background is in computer sciences engineering. I have been mainly working in tech before my MBA. During 7 years I have hopped from developer to software architect in different companies and different industries. I was clearly taking the career path of a IT technical expert.

During that period I realized to what extent IT is something that everyone wants but only few are the ones that are really good at it. Nowadays, coding schools are popping out because there is such a need. Also I realized that many people have startup ideas, but from all the ideas that people have, only few end up really being implemented for lots of good reasons (no time, no skills, no team, no money, …). Then I thought, but why am I not moving forward with a couple of ideas? In the end, I’m the technical guy, I should be able to build them.

I quickly realized that, in order to launch a successful startup, it takes much more than just having the technical skills. Then I realized that an MBA would be the right path for me in order to learn the skills that I was missing and get the international exposure to grow big. In particular, the IESE Business School with its MBA was clearly standing out and offering much more than many other programs for general management and entrepreneurship.


The MBA atmosphere

In 2015 I enrolled in the IESE Business School MBA in Barcelona for an amazing jouney. During two years I got immersed in an extremely different environment than the one I had been confronted before. Switching from developer and engineer collegues to business men with so many different backgrounds and cultures. It has been for me a transformational experience in many ways, but primarily in the frame of mind. Actually I realized that my premise of requiring technical skills to launch a startup was wrong… you actually need much more skills: business, finance, management, HR, … and actually every entrepreneur is lacking at least a couple of them. What you really need is the passion, the capacity to learn fast and more importantly, to gather the right people around you.

During the second year of the MBA I saw a lot of different companies coming on campus to recruit. They all seemed really nice with very competitive salaries and interesting jobs … but also very intense recruitement processes because lots of students want those jobs. At some point I really questioned myself about the path I was taking. Is it really reasonable to try the startup path after an MBA while so many great offers will probably never seem so close? Yes clearly, it takes a lot of motivation not to apply and stay aligned with your objective when you have all this FOMO around.


I felt that there was something missing in all those jobs. It felt like I would have to report to other people, have a determined career path and so many constraints I didn’t want to go for right away. Moreover, one of my main motivation is to have ownership on the impact that I have on people, profit and planet… how can I have ownership if my boss and my boss’s boss are actually telling me that this is what I should do. How can I stay creative and decide myself the path to take?

Something very big is happening in the world this decade, so many things are changing very fast. When you’re stuck in a job, you lose the agility to react to those changes and adapt. I feel that so many big companies are continuing business as usual because it’s the only thing they know… and the few employees that want to instill a change often struggle to get their voice to the decision power. I also feel that coming from a top business school, we also have the responsibility to give back what have receive in the form of impact, this is why launching a startup felt right for me at this moment.


Launching my startup: Stylicist S.L.

So my co-founder, Manish Jindal, and me just spent the summer working hard on the first release of our product. Stylicist was registered to the tax authorities a few weeks ago and we’re now a few days before the launch of our beta-release. Don’t hesitate to join asap if you want to follow us.

We believe that the fashion industry is stuck in a state of mind of consumption. So much marketing is spent on making you buy more and more… when does it stops? We feel that the system is broken. At every corner you hear about climate change, pollution and green initiative. Meanwhile in fashion, we’re still stuck in the good old way of doing stuff: purchase – use – dispose! We all know that the « use » part is often not to the whole capacity of usage of the piece of fashion.


Therefor we decided to implement the circular economy in this value chain and explore where we could improve. It felt immediately right to extend the lifetime of a piece of clothing, but also to guarantee it’s disposal in the right way. Thus we decided to assist the final user in the management of their wardrobe in order to optimize and make the best use of their closet during the complete lifetime of the items.

Now we’re all set and launching soon !! Follow us to know more about Stylicist:

Officially a graduate, and a Master of Business Administration!

Last day of the MBA: Mixed feelings. So happy to get at the end of this challenging journey, but also sad to have to close this chapter of my life and say goodbye to many good friends.

It’s time now to start writing the next chapter of my life and catch the great opportunities in front of me that I have been working for. This MBA has been so much more than a degree but a life changing experience.

These last 18 months have been a tremendous adventure. Now it’s over, but the important thing is that the end of an experience leaves a memory so good that it lives in the heart. I’m so grateful to all of the people that have crossed my path ! This has probably been the best 2 years of my life!

Thank you so much to all the people that have been supporting me during the whole process. First of all I want to thank my wife for her unconditional support! She probably deserves this degree even more than I do. She has been there at all times: encouraging me in though moments, preparing good food, raising our son, waking up at night for the baby in order to give me a few more hours of sleep, … I want to thank her so much for that.

These two years have probably been the most difficult one of my life in terms of hard work. But they have certainly also been one of the most beautiful ! Special thank to C2 family for spending the journey together, working hard and binding long lasting friendships together ! You have allowed me to grow personally and professionnally thanks to all your different characters that were all examples to me !

I also have special thoughts to all the friends I have been spending time outside of class hours. Were it in the mountains close to Barcelona or at the other side of the Atlantic. Thanks for following me in my crazy ideas, even if sometimes I’m a bit too crazy and I end up breaking my arm 😉

I can’t omit mentioning the IESE Entrepreneurs’ Club. Running this club and putting all my energy for making IESE Business School a little bit more entrepreneurial was a challenging bet. But along the process I must admit that I had the chance to meet with amazing people from IESE and outside of IESE that really inspired me and gave me the energy to move this forward. I hope that I was able to sow some seeds in the minds of other people showing them the way to start their own business ideas !

Finally I want also to thank all the remarkable individuals of our class who were by my side in so many occasions, from class work, to drinks and long philosophical discussions. It has been a real pleasure meeting you all. After building those friendships our new mission is to stay in touch wherever we decide to go for our next professionnal step.

Thank you to everyone who took this journey with me. I am forever changed.

Social media and the raise of extremism

Wait! What? Extremism and social media in the same sentence seems a bit strange right? Indeed, social media tends to refer to freedom of speech and openness; Extremism on the opposite refer to racism or closed mind, …

Well yes, I see a correlation between the rise of social media and the rise of extremism and I will tell you why! Let me explain you.

The problem of suggestion algorithms

In the old times, when you used to read the newspaper to get informed, or even when you used to watch TV you were bombarded with a lot of information. Some of which was interesting to you, some not. But at least you were aware of what happened in the world in a kind of generic way. Even if you were more interested in the results of the last football championship than in the presidential elections, you could not avoid reading the cover page of the newspaper with the face of your new president. You had still the freedom to chose which TV channel or which newspaper to buy in function of your affinities, but in general you tended to be a little bit informed in an objective way.

Continue reading

How cybersecurity is playing a role in global geopolitics – ProtonMail case

Global context – Why cybersecurity is more important than ever?

Terrorism, with its footprint in global scale from 9/11 in New York to ISIS Paris attacks, has put security the top issue of governments worldwide. The Paris attacker’s final text message claiming the start of the attacks, which was founded in the phone dumped near to the attacked place, is a strong argument for strengthening cybersecurity and building up national surveillance.

However, the pervasive secret surveillance programs have given rise to the debate on privacy and the legitimacy of such programs to allow governments to collect private data of citizens, as well as foreigners in some cases, who are not suspected of any connection to terrorism or any wrongdoing. PRISM, the top classified program, is the largest surveillance initiated by the President Bush after 9/11. The whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who was a former NSA (National Security Agency) contractor, has risked his career and life to challenge the privacy as one of the fundamental human rights in the digital age. He revealed that the NSA was not only scanning suspicious Americans, but virtually everyone that was communicating on the network.

It’s been nearly three months since Edward Snowden started telling the world about the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance of global communications. But the latest disclosures, by the Guardian, New York Times, and ProPublica are perhaps the most profound yet: the N.S.A. and its partner agency in the United Kingdom, the Government Communications Headquarters, possess significant capabilities to circumvent widely used encryption software in order to access private data. (The New Yorker: How the N.S.A. Cracked the web)

Email, as one of the most important communications channel, has gained a lot of attention in the US presidential campaign in 2017. Especially, the Clinton’s email scandal and Wikileaks about her emails have accelerated the debates about security and privacy. Yet, regardless of the scandal, both Clinton and Trump stated in the campaign that cybersecurity would be top issue to address in their presidential agenda: how to work with tech companies to protect cross-border data flow without jeopardizing citizens’ privacy.

Continue reading

Artificial intelligence is taking over us!

Will the world champion of Go get beaten by a computer soon?

I try to follow the news about machine learning and artificial intelligence. Recently I saw some interesting news! A computer managed to beat the European champion of Go! It’s not yet the World Champion, but we’re getting there quickly: the challenge is planned for March !

Go is harder than chess, and the concensus among scientists was that this was going to happen in a dozen of years only. The game of Go has long been viewed as the most challenging of classic games for artificial intelligence owing to its enormous search space and the difficulty of evaluating board position and moves. The program combines the recent developments in deep learning and an intelligent research to be several rounds in advance of the other player.

This was published in Nature magazine here.

What about artificial intelligence in Poker?

Texas hold’em (also known as Texas holdem, hold ’em, or holdem) is a variation of the standard card game of poker. Games like Poker is a family of games that exhibit imperfect information, where players do not have full knowledge of past events. Whereas many perfect-information games have been solved since a long time (e.g., Connect Four and checkers), no nontrivial imperfect-information game played competitively by humans has previously been solved. But this has recenlty been solved too : a team managed to completely caracterise optimal strategies in all the possible configurations of the game (See « Heads-up limit hold’em poker is solved« ).

Should we worry?

This would certainly not reduce the attractiveness of those games for human being: it’s not because we invented cars that we stopped walking nor running. But the areas where human are still stronger that the machine tends to be reduced more and more. We still have a big adventage: the supercalculator in our brain is only consuming 50 W, which is 1 billion times less than our computers.

finger me Artificial Intelligence

But maybe the first intelligent species that the human will meet is one that he will create himself …

Business management for human beings

Building companies fit for the future is building companies for human beings

Employee centric management

Management innovation can only be done by challenging current approaches. How many times did you heard about « customer first », « customer is king », … Are we sure this is the only way? Is this always the right way? It is certainly a good way to do business because it has been proven by lots of successful businesses.

What about the employee? Do we care about him? Why is « burnout » employees the new normal? Why do most companies squeeze their human resources as much as possible before changing them? What is the root of this problem? Maybe they squeeze their employees because they know that their employees will leave at some point … why? Because we don’t care about them !!

What if one tries to put the employee first? A happy employee will do a better work and serve the customer better. He will also stay longer, keep and develop his knowledge and develop confidence around him about the product. Worth trying huh!?

Well apparently this is something that some companies start to try. And I think it could become a new standard !! There is no reason to continue squeezing employees … there is no reason working becomes unhealthy !! Have a look at the video below to get convinced 🙂

Have also a look on some interesting comments in the feed of the video here.

Business creativity

But what about motivation? Most common beliefs are that the more you reward people, the more people will be motivated. And this is apparently true, but not in any situation. This is only true for mechanical tasks. When it comes to creativity, it’s another story.

Surprisingly money don’t make people more creative !! You have to give them free time and confort ! So guess what? We are again speaking about caring about your employees if you want more creativity in your work environment. This is aligned !!

So keep in mind that customer satisfaction is key for business, but employee satisfaction is key for survival !! Which one is the most important? I don’t know ! But make sure you keep both on top of your priorities as a business leader.