Meet this week awesome studentpreneur: Marie Schneegans, 21 years old, Student in Financial Engineering and Applied Economics at Paris Dauphine University and Goethe University and entrepreneur with Never Eat Alone in France.
Each studentpreneur’s story is different and what works for some people doesn’t for others, however I’d like to point out of few things in Marie’s journey that are similar to the studentpreneurs I have talked to:
Instead of keeping her ideas secret, she tells everyone about her project and try to meet as many people as possible by inviting them for lunch. She is in the mindset of “fake it until you make it” and that’s how she found a free place to run her project. She is opened to new adventures, new people: she got exposed to the Free Space concept while couch surfing in Cambodia and she won a seat in an incubation program Startuphouse in San Francisco by competing in Startup Bus hackaton. Finally Marie reminds us that it’s not always easy to be a student and an entrepreneur; there is no more free time to see her loved ones. The support from the people around her such as her mentor and her boyfriend is one answer but so is meditation. So give a go to meditation to help you with your mindfulness. If you have a creative way to help Marie to manage her time post a comment on our FB page: facebook.com/thestudentpreneurpodcast.
The amazing French “etudiant-entrepreneur” status (Studentpreneur) in bullet points:
– Opportunity to run your own business instead of doing the compulsory 6 month internship.
– Free mentor (potentially an alumni of your uni!).
– Support network from a dedicated government organisation (PEPITE).
– Time adjustment and flexibility for your studies
– Same health cover has students
– Any student in France can apply: http://www.pepite-france.fr/
Book: Zero to One from Peter Thiel
– Have a lunch with someone you don’t know (check her Never Eat Alone app)
– Be open to diversity in background and age
– If you want it you can do it
Marie’s website: www.nevereatalone.io
“Meditation is a tool that helps me be more focused.”
“Be open with different types of people, try to communicate with everyone.”
“Fake it until you make it.”
“I have no money so I had to find a way without money.”
“Never eat alone.”
Julien: Welcome to Episode 21. My name is Julien Marchand, entrepreneur turned PhD student. Each week a student who is also an entrepreneur shares his or her story with you. If you enjoy this episode hit subscribe on your podcast player or on StudentPreneur.com.au. In this Episode Marie Schneegans takes us into her creative and energetic life of StudentPreneur full of travel and opportunities. She also describes what it’s like to be officially recognized as a StudentPreneur or ÉTUDIANT-ENTREPRENEUR and all the benefits that comes with it. Enjoy.
All right. Today we’ve got Marie Schneegans with us. Marie is 21 and she’s doing a double degree in two different universities so Bachelor in Financial Engineering and Bachelor in Applied Economics at Paris Dauphine University in France and Goethe University in Germany. Her latest business is Never Eat Alone. Is that right Marie? Do you want to introduce yourself a little bit more and talk about your business?
( #00:01:18-4 #)Marie: It’s a pleasure. Thank you Julien. After high school I went to study at Paris Dauphine and at Goethe University and at the same time I was doing other projects that always took my energy and passion.
( #00:01:39-1 #)Julien: What type of project?
( #00:01:41-6 #) Marie: First I started to microfinance in Cambodia.
( #00:01:47-9 #) Julien: Oh wow.
( #00:01:48-1 #) Marie: (laughter) I helped young people to start a business and make it sustainable.
( #00:01:55-2 #) Julien: How old were you?
( #00:01:57-2 #) Marie: I was 20 or 19 (laughter). I was 19 when I started microfinance in Cambodia.
( #00:02:09-9 #) Julien: Why did you start that?
( #00:02:11-4 #) Marie: I wanted to make a good impact and with my financial skills that I learned at university so instead of doing a traditional introduction to investment banking I wanted to be in a situation where I can help people.
( #00:02:25-3 #) Julien: So instead of doing investment banking internship you decided to do your own microfinancing in Cambodia. Did your classmate understood why you were not doing an internship in investment banking?
( #00:02:39-9 #) Marie: No, they thought I was crazy.
( #00:02:41-4 #) Julien: (laughter)
( #00:02:43-2 #) Marie: It’s fine. I’m used to that.
( #00:02:48-6 #) Julien: Did you actually go to Cambodia and why did you pick Cambodia?
( #00:02:53-2 #) Marie: Yes, I went to Cambodia for three months. I picked Cambodia because I have friends there who told me about the situation. There was opportunity to help the people so my answer was, we will find a way to go there.
( #00:03:10-3 #) Julien: Okay but Cambodia is not the safest country especially for a girl right?
( #00:03:14-5 #) Marie: Yes, I know. Another person from my university came with me.
( #00:03:18-9 #) Julien: Okay, good.
( #00:03:20-4 #) Marie: We met at the airport so we haven’t even had the chance to meet in real before so we’re both ready to go with someone you don’t know but that is all the experience is just to get out of what you usually do with new people and live with them for three months in a new culture. That’s lots of fun.
( #00:03:40-4 #) Julien: How did you do for the language?
( #00:03:43-9 #) Marie: I started before going to Cambodia to take some online courses.
( #00:03:48-0 #) Julien: Oh wow, you’re dedicated.
( #00:03:48-4 #) Marie: Yes because it’s Khmer and it’s very different from French or German or English so to know their way of thinking.
( #00:03:57-4 #) Julien: Because you only speak three languages right?
( #00:03:59-6 #) Marie: Exactly and I’m learning Japanese. I have the languages but once I came there it was totally different. What I learned was nothing. I had to start again from the beginning and from time spent I always have notes on my phone with my own prediction of what people are saying. Step by step I managed it because in the very poor areas of Cambodia there is no wifi. They dont have really a way to express themselves in English so if you dont speak the Khmer it’s very hard to really understand the issues of the people.
( #00:04:39-8 #) Julien: You didn’t have a translator with you?
( #00:04:41-7 #) Marie: We had sometimes but not always. Sometimes they came. There is no hours. The best is to follow yourself. In French there is an expression ‘on est jamais mieux servi que par soi-meme.’
( #00:04:58-1 #) Julien: Never be resolved by anybody else but yourself and so did you start a business there or were you just doing research then?
( #00:05:10-0 #) Marie: Doing research and understood their needs. I wanted to go back there to really better understand and start a business, an entrepreneur with milk. That is importing milk from Thailand.
( #00:05:20-8 #) Julien: Okay, cool. What did you do when you came back?
( #00:05:24-5 #) Marie: When I came back I had to go back to university.
( #00:05:29-0 #) Julien: Yes, of course.
( #00:05:30-0 #) Marie: That was challenging and after that actually in Cambodia I had a big apartment so every week I have people thanks to Couch Surfing came in to my place. There was a girl from San Francisco. She told me she did a free space in San Francisco so it’s an open space where people from different background come together engineer, scientist, designer meet and collaborate on different projects like hackathons, 3D printing, or things like that. That’s the thing that I love. I me her in Cambodia.
( #00:06:04-4 #) Julien: How did you meet her?
( #00:06:08-1 #) Marie: Couch surfing.
( #00:06:10-3 #) Julien: Okay, coach surfing.
( #00:06:10-8 #) Marie: Once I head back to Paris, I always had this idea in my mind. I was at university but still something in my mind I was like I need to do this in for Paris. It’s going to help so many people to have free space where people can come and meet and I really felt the need and how I can help people in Paris. I started to just always speak about it every day to everyone.
( #00:06:31-6 #) Julien: You talked to everyone.
( #00:06:34-2 #) Marie: Yes and after that I went to a party. I wasn’t even invited. It was the Vogue party and I met someone who introduced me to an owner from a space where we could get it as donation.
( #00:06:45-1 #) Julien: How did you get in if you were not invited?
( #00:06:49-8 #) Marie: I was how do you say disguised and…
( #00:06:54-0 #) Julien: You had a costume (laughter).
( #00:06:54-0 #) Marie: I had a costume because it was costume party so people thought that I was part of that (laughter).
( #00:07:02-3 #) Julien: So you were networking with a costume.
( #00:07:05-6 #) Marie: (laughter) Exactly and when people ask me what are you doing? I wasn’t saying I was a student. I was like ah, I am the founder of Free Space. I didn’t even have a space!
( #00:07:21-0 #) Julien: As long as people believe you that’s what matters.
( #00:07:24-4 #) Marie: Yes and people call me actually my friend, he’s an owner of main space in Paris. Do you want to meet him next week? Okay, I have nothing prepared. I have no plan. Okay, let’s just have one week to prepare everything and it worked.
( #00:07:43-6 #) Julien: Fake it until you make it.
( #00:07:46-1 #) Marie: Exactly. That is actually my motto.
( #00:07:51-9 #) Julien: So you met that person and what happened?
( #00:07:55-7 #) Marie: After that the person introduced me to his friend who is a person who has many spaces in Paris. He has an agency for spaces.
( #00:08:06-0 #) Julien: Is that a co-sharing space?
( #00:08:08-2 #) Marie: He’s an ‘agent immobilier’.
( #00:08:10-5 #) Julien: Okay, real estate agent.
( #00:08:13-4 #) Marie: So normally it’s very expensive spaces. I really love the idea of free space, the values of sharing and people connecting from different backgrounds that he wanted to make a donation.
( #00:08:25-2 #) Julien: A donation, oh my God. That’s awesome.
( #00:08:29-0 #) Marie: I had no money so I had to find a way to have money.
( #00:08:32-3 #) Julien: You’re not looking for a cheap place. You were looking for a free place.
( #00:08:36-1 #) Marie: Yes, free. We couldn’t pay. That’s the whole idea of free space. It’s based on the sharing economy where everyone gives something.
( #00:08:43-5 #) Julien: That’s amazing. Then you needed people then.
( #00:08:48-5 #) Marie: Yes so I find after a team step by step so in the end we were 10 people from different backgrounds. We had a designer, a mathematician, an engineer, a neuroscientist and from different ages. I was the youngest one and it was until 50.
( #00:09:06-3 #) Julien: They were not all students. They were mature people.
( #00:09:11-3 #) Marie: Yes actually we were only three students.
( #00:09:16-1 #) Julien: What was the mathematician doing there?
( #00:09:19-3 #) Marie: The mathematician was creating a new model about how to connect people and what is the best variables with econometrics. He wanted to make an experiment in the space.
( #00:09:32-3 #) Julien: In the space. Was everybody helping each other in the free space?
( #00:09:38-9 #) Marie: Yes and that was something I find beautiful is people didn’t know each other and they tried, that everyone bring some food, bring some chairs so everyone participates and gives his skills and I find it beautiful the way people interact with money. We didn’t experiment what people can do if there is no money inside the space.
( #00:09:58-5 #) Julien: Hang on. They brought the chairs. They brought the furniture because they was nothing in this space.
( #00:10:04-1 #) Marie: Yes.
( #00:10:09-6 #) Julien: There was no internet connection and nothing.
( #00:10:14-2 #) Marie: Nothing yes. You’ve got to have to bring something.
( #00:10:14-8 #) Julien: What about electricity?
( #00:10:17-0 #) Marie: So electricity we have. We had electricity.
( #00:10:19-8 #) Julien: Wow, luxury.
( #00:10:21-7 #) Marie: Yes, luxury but we had no toilets so we had to go in front of their space where there was a bar and they loved us because they had many clients thanks to us.
( #00:10:34-0 #) Julien: Coffee and toilets.
( #00:10:34-5 #) Marie: Yes, exactly. (laughter). You get it.
( #00:10:40-9 #) Julien: Oh wow, that is exciting.
( #00:10:41-6 #) Marie: That was lots of fun and thanks to that many projects continued in fashion especially. We did a fashion hatch where we combined technology, fashion and science and after that now as there was another space opening only for that at Co-Walking Fashion Space in Paris.
( #00:11:06-4 #) Julien: And those people met initially in your free space.
( #00:11:13-5 #) Marie: Exactly.
( #00:11:16-4 #) Julien: Did they get the new place with the same donator or do they found someone else?
( #00:11:20-9 #) Marie: No, it got government funds.
( #00:11:23-8 #) Julien: So it really grow.
( #00:11:26-4 #) Marie: It’s beautiful. It’s something like we dont know what will happen and that’s the magic of it and dont expect anything and just try.
( #00:11:36-2 #) Julien: There’s no Milestones and deliverables?
( #00:11:41-4 #) Marie: No. I dont like that.
( #00:11:44-5 #) Julien: So you have different people with different backgrounds trying to work together.
( #00:11:48-6 #) Marie: Exactly.
( #00:11:51-2 #) Julien: Do they have another job to kind of make money and pay bills and stuff like that?
( #00:11:55-6 #) Marie: Yes, they have another job. We also have internship so that was part of their university degree. Instead of doing a traditional internship, they could do an internship at free space.
( #00:12:07-7 #) Julien: That’s really cool so it was recognized by the university?
( #00:12:13-6 #) Marie: Exactly and I also got the part from the incubator of my university.
( #00:12:19-0 #) Julien: Because you went there and you told them about your free space?
( #00:12:21-2 #) Marie: Exactly. I told everyone.
( #00:12:23-4 #) Julien: You told everyone which is a good thing because people would think I’m not going to share my idea. I’m going to develop it but if you share it with everyone it grows. Yours grew like crazy.
( #00:12:35-2 #) Marie: Exactly and you never know what the other person will bring to the project. That’s the magic of it.
( #00:12:37-9 #) Julien: Yes and especially you. You’re looking for anybody with any background really. You want the mix.
( #00:12:47-1 #) Marie: Yes, from a homeless person to the CEO of a big bank, I love how people can interact and I really find that the diversity is key to make something new and be creative.
( #00:12:58-2 #) Julien: I think that’s the word creative because creativity is dead if you have only business people in entrepreneurship classes but if you mix all those different people then creativity comes back really.
( #00:13:10-3 #) Marie: Exactly and so I did that last summer. For three months it was a temporary space and at the same time I had to have internship in a bank this time so I was at UBS in wealth management in Zurich.
( #00:13:24-8 #) Julien: That was at the same time or later on?
( #00:13:29-2 #) Marie: At the same time. From Monday to Friday I’m in Zurich and we’re skyping with my intern and my team and fly from Friday to Sunday evening to Paris.
( #00:13:39-8 #) Julien: Your internship was in Zurich and your free space was in Paris. That is crazy. People will say why do this?
( #00:13:50-4 #) Marie: Actually thanks to mine internship in wealth management at UBS. I got the idea of my actual app because there so at the same time in free space people from different background meet and it was always amazing that the connections there and the energy. After doing the week I was at this bank where everyone was in suits and no one was speaking to each other and there were thousands in the same building. It was so boring. I’m like what do I do here? I started to sense and at lunch, at lunch I would always eat with the same people from my department all alone in front of my similar.
( #00:14:25-7 #) Julien: Sounds familiar.
( #00:14:30-4 #) Marie: I started to go to other departments and asked them if they want to have lunch with me that I can better understand what they are doing in their department.
( #00:14:36-8 #) Julien: So you didn’t know them. They were in another department but you still went there.
( #00:14:43-4 #) Marie: I had the email list, we have a contact list of all the employees from the bank so I just looked at the department and position and like ah, I would like to understand better how the innovation department is working, how the technical team is doing, to better understand the big picture of the company.
( #00:15:05-4 #) Julien: So you just email them and say, hey, can I have lunch with you?
( #00:15:09-6 #) Marie: Exactly.
( #00:15:13-3 #) Julien: It worked?
( #00:15:13-0 #) Marie: It worked. Some people were I am on holiday but if most of them if they were at the office they said, yes, it’s a pleasure and I even met with the CEO.
( #00:15:22-5 #) Julien: You even met with the CEO of UBS.
( #00:15:25-6 #) Marie: Yes, I sent him as well an email.
( #00:15:28-1 #) Julien: Your signature in your email was your name and it says intern or something like that.
( #00:15:35-0 #) Marie: Yes, exactly.
( #00:15:37-7 #) Julien: So you didn’t have a title or anything. That’s amazing. I think that is a lesson for all the audience that you can always email anyone and ask them for lunch because what is the worst thing that can happen? They say no, that’s all.
( #00:15:50-8 #) Marie: Or no answer. You have nothing to lose and we can just get an amazing experience so after that all my colleagues to my department pulled me like you know everyone. Can I come with you? End of my internship so I was thinking why not making mobile app to connect all employees inside a big company over lunch. After that I came back to university and participated in a hackathon.
( #00:16:16-4 #) Julien: Was it over the weekend like in two days hackathon?
( #00:16:22-8 #) Marie: Yes, exactly. Actually it was three days festival. I was not at university for one week so we started in Berlin in Germany and after went to Amsterdam and finished in Vienna in the Holfburg Palace and we went through from an idea to a prototype so we were not sleeping for three days and just worked hard and had fun.
( #00:16:46-8 #) Julien: That’s crazy.
( #00:16:48-6 #) Marie: I love the energy.
( #00:16:49-5 #) Julien: The energy from these events are amazing but you went to three different cities in three different days.
( #00:16:54-7 #) Marie: Six different cities.
( #00:16:54-9 #) Julien: Hang on, where you on a bus or something?
( #00:16:58-7 #) Marie: Yes, exactly.
( #00:17:00-2 #) Julien: I’ve heard about those things.
( #00:17:01-3 #) Marie: It’s for Startup Bus.
( #00:17:04-4 #) Julien: I heard about it. How did you find out about the Hackabus?
( #00:17:08-5 #) Marie: About the Startup Bus? I found out thanks actually the person who I went to Cambodia with microfinance.
( #00:17:15-4 #) Julien: Back to your first project. You applied and they said yes and so then you joined the bus. You had your laptop and like a change of clothes and that was it?
( #00:17:30-8 #) Marie: Yes, exactly. Food and good energy.
( #00:17:34-2 #) Julien: Did you sleep in the bus? I know you didn’t sleep much.
( #00:17:38-6 #) Marie: We actually slept in hostels because the internet connection was better there so actually we were sleeping sometimes in the bus to after and have enough energy to work where there is good wifi.
( #00:17:52-5 #) Julien: You met some developers there I guess?
( #00:17:56-0 #) Marie: Yes, exactly and that was actually my first team. We were five people from different backgrounds and it was lots of fun and actually we are one of the winners of this hackathon. At the finals they told us, ‘oh by the way, the winners are going to be incubated in San Francisco.’
( #00:18:13-6 #) Julien: Oh shit.
( #00:18:15-0 #) Marie: I was like oh my God. I love the States. I want to go there so I just gave my whole energy for the pitch and it worked.
( #00:18:25-4 #) Julien: So you’re going to San Francisco?
( #00:18:27-9 #) Marie: Actually we are already in San Francisco. We already started the incubation program.
( #00:18:34-4 #) Julien: So you started it?
( #00:18:35-5 #) Marie: Yes.
( #00:18:36-2 #) Julien: That’s amazing so you didn’t know before you joined that the first prize will be incubation in San Francisco?
( #00:18:41-7 #) Marie: I had no idea. They didn’t tell us before. It wasn’t written on the website. I just did it for experience and because I love challenges and meeting new people. I didn’t expect after to go to San Francisco. I’m actually now moving there.
( #00:18:59-3 #) Julien: Of course you’re moving there. The team is staying together like you’re all going to do it together, the five of you?
( #00:19:06-4 #) Marie: That was one of the challenges that I didn’t want to continue with them and they were not people I saw myself to go far with. They were not dedicated like I had experience with free space where people really gave everything to work hard and there it was not. The energy was different and for me the team is the most important so I preferred to ask them to leave the team and after that I found five other people so it’s three developers, one intern who is a co-founder.
( #00:19:40-3 #) Julien: And the previous people they didn’t want to go to San Francisco? They didn’t want to keep going?
( #00:19:45-9 #) Marie: Yes, they still want to. That’s a challenge actually.
( #00:19:51-0 #) Julien: You have to deal with that. That is going to be interesting.
( #00:19:53-8 #) Marie: Yes, exactly.
( #00:19:55-8 #) Julien: You’re going to San Francisco but of course you’re finished with your studies then?
( #00:20:00-7 #) Marie: I got the status student entrepreneur from the French Government. This allows me to first to not do an internship and doing my project instead because normally at university in France you need to do a six months internship in some degrees and so instead of doing the internship I could work on my app for these last months.
( #00:20:27-1 #) Julien: So you’re going to use the six months for your incubation program?
( #00:20:33-8 #) Marie: Exactly and actually now for my next year I’m applying for this STATUT ÉTUDIANT-ENTREPRENEUR. I am as well doing a gap here. That means that I can take a year off to focus on my startup.
( #00:20:48-5 #) Julien: Because if you dont have the student entrepreneur status you cannot have a gap here?
( #00:20:53-5 #) Marie: Not in my university because it’s very selective and you cannot just do a break in the middle of your studies.
( #00:21:01-1 #) Julien: This status gives you more flexibility really.
( #00:21:03-8 #) Marie: Yes and with also some time arrangements during your classes if you need. We also have mentoring and also one person, Philippine, and he’s always helping us every time I have a challenge or I have a question I could just email her. She’s doing her best to connect us with the right people.
( #00:21:24-5 #) Julien: She’s from the university?
( #00:21:27-3 #) Marie: No, she’s from Pepite PSL. That means that the statues has different people walking and helping these entrepreneurs. She’s in charge of Paris.
( #00:21:39-1 #) Julien: That’s a government program that actually is hiring people to look after student entrepreneurs. Is that right?
( #00:21:48-6 #) Marie: Exactly.
( #00:21:50-7 #) Julien: That is amazing.
( #00:21:52-0 #) Marie: I would recommend to everyone to apply and take that chain.
( #00:21:58-3 #) Julien: Is that only for French people? International cannot apply?
( #00:21:59-3 #) Marie: International can apply but they need to have like they need to study in France.
( #00:22:08-8 #) Julien: Fair enough. You can do this in every university in France?
( #00:22:12-0 #) Marie: Yes.
( #00:22:14-4 #) Julien: This was the first year they had this program right?
( #00:22:17-2 #) Marie: It’s new. I can’t remember exactly when but it’s new.
( #00:22:21-4 #) Julien: It’s good timing for you.
( #00:22:24-9 #) Marie: I’m very grateful that it helped me so much because I dont sleep a lot.
( #00:22:30-0 #) Julien: Did you try the mentoring that they provided?
( #00:22:33-9 #) Marie: Yes and so my mentor Homer and he also studied at my university so he understood my challenges and I meet him once a month to get feedback and some advice. Last time he helped me for my financial plan. Another time he helped me for my sales, how to structure it. It’s someone that really went also these stages from the startup and was also a student so he understand my challenges.
( #00:23:00-8 #) Julien: He’s an alumni from Paris Dauphine and is also a mature entrepreneur who is helping her out and that cost you nothing.
( #00:23:11-9 #) Marie: I dont pay anything.
( #00:23:14-2 #) Julien: Do you have to demonstrate progress? Do you get a grade for doing this?
( #00:23:19-8 #) Marie: Every month they send a form with questions about your progress, your challenges. What are the next steps of the next weeks? What did you achieve in this current month? Every month I need to give feedback.
( #00:23:35-1 #) Julien: You got your progress reports and feedback because they’re still learning how to help you I guess.
( #00:23:40-9 #) Marie: Exactly.
( #00:23:42-4 #) Julien: When you said you have time arrangements does it mean that if you have an exam you can delay the exam if you’re doing something?
( #00:23:51-8 #) Marie: That happened for me for free space. What I really liked with that is it’s possible to make your time table that means that instead of being in a class like everyone I asked to have only classes on Monday and Tuesday so I started 8 in the morning through 9 in the evening but then I had free from Wednesday to Friday so I can really focus on…
( #00:24:18-1 #) Julien: On your business. That makes sense.
( #00:24:20-7 #) Marie: I dont need to go every day to university because it’s lots of energy as well.
( #00:24:25-8 #) Julien: That’s crazy good.
( #00:24:27-2 #) Marie: Yes, it’s really good. I would encourage every student who wants to start a project to apply to the student entrepreneur.
( #00:24:34-9 #) Julien: And even international students go to Paris, study in Paris and get a student entrepreneur status. That is cool. Do you get paid?
( #00:24:43-8 #) Marie: No, not yet. It’s a good idea. We should maybe suggest.
( #00:24:50-6 #) Julien: Yes, suggest but you do get a health cover or something, a student health cover?
( #00:24:55-0 #) Marie: Yes. I’m still considered as a student.
( #00:24:58-4 #) Julien: So that is your private health cover kind of.
( #00:25:01-8 #) Marie: Exactly.
( #00:25:02-7 #) Julien: How can people apply for this status? Do you know?
( #00:25:08-5 #) Marie: Go on the governmental website and STATUT ÉTUDIANT-ENTREPRENEUR and they can apply online.
( #00:25:20-3 #) Julien: I’ll look for the website and put it into the show notes. Basically thanks to that very timely program that did not exist last year for instance you’re going to be able to spend six months in San Francisco to do your incubation program that you won Hackabus that you found out thanks to the person that you met when you did your microfinance project in Cambodia. Is that correct?
( #00:25:49-1 #) Marie: It’s thanks to Startup Bus. It’s exactly that.
( #00:25:59-0 #) Julien: There’s no link between all of them but I think the link is you just go and do it. That’s what you did and do it. You just opened yourself to more opportunities. The way you did reach out to a lot of the employees at UBS that just reflect who you are and how you do things.
( #00:26:14-9 #) Marie: I just love to meet people from different backgrounds because we learn so much from each other. When I am in a new space I just love to meet people and reach out.
( #00:26:27-2 #) Julien: That’s going to be amazing when you’re going to San Francisco. When are you going?
( #00:26:29-5 #) Marie: In two weeks.
( #00:26:32-8 #) Julien: Do you know what is the name of the incubator?
( #00:26:37-0 #) Marie: It’s a called Startuphouse. It’s a place where we can sleep. There’s a kitchen. There’s a co-working space. There’s mentoring. There’s pitches, investors there so there is everyday something different.
( #00:26:48-9 #) Julien: You’ve got everything. You can stay there and you can work there and you can present your pitch. Can you spell the name again? Okay, got it. I’ll put it in the show notes as well. That’s where you are now. You must be pretty excited.
( #00:27:03-1 #) Marie: It’s a new experience.
( #00:27:08-0 #) Julien: That is amazing and especially with your personality of trying to meet everyone. You’re just going to love it. What skills do you feel you’ve learned from each project and you transfer to the next one? What skill was really important?
( #00:27:21-8 #) Marie: Being open to be with different kind of people and who was different kind of skills. That means that some people are very analytic, some people are very spontaneous, some people are very shy and be open to try to make your best to communicate with everyone because it’s really important to manage good and well the team you have. It’s important to be very communicative with them and to call them and always encourage them and walk together.
( #00:27:51-7 #) Julien: You’re also learning about managing a team.
( #00:27:56-4 #) Marie: Exactly. That is actually what I’m doing most of the day. It’s managing the team and being sure that everyone understands what she’s doing and the rampage and going fast always managing them.
( #00:28:10-3 #) Julien: At the moment you’re doing it remotely or you’re all together?
( #00:28:14-9 #) Marie: Part of the team is here. Part of the team is already in San Francisco. I have to go back here for my university.
( #00:28:24-0 #) Julien: That’s a very good learning.
( #00:28:26-4 #) Marie: The incubation program started in June so I was already in San Francisco in June.
( #00:28:28-8 #) Julien: So it started already.
( #00:28:31-5 #) Marie: Yes, exactly and now I have to go back here to meet some clients and for university presentation and after I go back in two weeks once I’m done.
( #00:28:40-4 #) Julien: So you’re in between the program. How do you manage to balance, you talked a little bit about it but how do you manage your studies and running your business? I understand you’ve got some time arrangements but still I mean that must be pretty tough because you’re going to one of the top university in France.
( #00:28:57-9 #) Marie: Yes, it’s very challenging and sometimes I also cry and think that it’s very hard and I dont have free time to meet my friends and family so that’s something I’m challenging with it’s the free time with the people I love like I do when I feel stressed, a lot is going on. I try to close my eyes and focus on breaths and doing meditation.
( #00:29:25-1 #) Julien: You do some yoga or something?
( #00:29:28-9 #) Marie: I do yoga. Big on yoga, the hot yoga. Meditation is a tool that helped me to be more focused and manage my project and be less stressed.
( #00:29:39-6 #) Julien: Do you do that often like once a week or something?
( #00:29:41-7 #) Marie: Every morning when I wake up before checking emails, before having breakfast. It’s my first not task but something that I start my day.
( #00:29:57-4 #) Julien: How do you do this?
( #00:29:59-2 #) Marie: I have in my room, a little place where I have my mala, a tool for meditation and you say your mantra, spiritual phrase that you get from a saint so I was in India for that. I say that 108 times every morning. I start my day with meditation and moving exercises.
( #00:30:23-9 #) Julien: That helps you deal with managing your team but also the stress of having no free time to be with the people that you love.
( #00:30:32-0 #) Marie: It’s also allows me to be more present in the moment. Instead of focusing on your to do list, you focus on your breath.
( #00:30:43-8 #) Julien: Mindfulness, I’ve started to do the same thing but not as good as you. I listen to a podcast for 10 minutes and I breathe in the morning. That is baby steps.
( #00:30:51-9 #) Marie: That’s great. I started with one minute of meditation and then step by step into it. Start with a goal that you can achieve that means that you dont do a thing like I will do one hour every morning. Start with one minute. Step by step you increase.
( #00:31:10-8 #) Julien: That’s absolutely right.
( #00:31:13-5 #) Marie: You will love it and you want to do it again.
( #00:31:15-8 #) Julien: My wife does an hour of yoga every night and every night she goes come on, do it with me. Man, an hour. It’s just too long for me at the moment but mindfulness is really becoming a big trend in young entrepreneurs and it’s funny that you mentioned it now. I think I’m going to have to podcast an episode just about mindfulness for StudentPreneur.
( #00:31:38-1 #) Marie: Actually that helped me so much and all those people asking: “oh Marie you can show me how to meditate so actually now I give a guided meditation?’
( #00:31:48-4 #) Julien: You’re sharing now your method for stress relief with other people.
( #00:31:56-6 #) Marie: I did one yesterday night and I also started a non-profit with young people.
( #00:32:01-5 #) Julien: Because you have so much free time (laughter).
( #00:32:05-2 #) Marie: No because I really feel the need I can help people with mindfulness so I created that non-profit to help young people to be more conscious in your everyday life and step out of the comfort zone and do things that they love.
( #00:32:22-8 #) Julien: My wife will love you.
( #00:32:24-4 #) Marie: That is something I feel to be important. I’m not paid for that just something that helped me so much and I really believe that it’s something that we can help people with and have a positive impact.
( #00:32:39-0 #) Julien: It’s funny because you still have your personality of sharing that come into play. You learn it and you want to share it again. That is pretty cool. You’re doing it just for the love of sharing but something is going to come back to you just for that again. You’re not even expecting it at the moment.
( #00:32:57-2 #) Marie: I dont expect. I’m just learning every day.
( #00:32:58-2 #) Julien: Going back to your degree, you’re doing a double degree in two different universities and you’re running businesses. Have you failed classes? Have you missed classes?
( #00:33:13-7 #) Marie: I missed many classes because I’m usually not at university. Actually I have an exam in one week. It’s econometrics and I just had that two days ago. Other people started in March so I have one thousand pages for one week.
( #00:33:29-8 #) Julien: It’s pretty hard econometrics.
( #00:33:33-0 #) Marie: I know and I’m doing online courses right now. After your call I have an online course.
( #00:33:39-9 #) Julien: I’ll make sure it’s not too long so you can enjoy your online courses.
( #00:33:45-3 #) Marie: I know. I look forward to it but I love my teacher. She’s so funny. She makes everything look fun so I always remember the formulas and the logic thanks to her. She really made it funny.
( #00:33:57-0 #) Julien: She makes econometrics fun.
( #00:33:59-7 #) Marie: She’s the best teacher.
( #00:34:01-1 #) Julien: She’s going to have a lot of students.
( #00:34:04-0 #) Marie: I always recommend her and she’s very flexible. She really understands that I’m a student and entrepreneur so she understands sometimes I dont have time to make my homework. I dont understand everything. I didn’t have time to look at it before or I have to cancel last minute because I have a meeting with a client. She understands that and I’m very grateful.
( #00:34:25-8 #) Julien: Do the other professor at your university understand the same thing?
( #00:34:31-9 #) Marie: I told him about it and he doesn’t care.
( #00:34:33-2 #) Julien: You talked about it and?
( #00:34:36-3 #) Marie: And he doesn’t care. He doesn’t want to help me anyway. I have to find another way but it’s okay. No problem.
( #00:34:47-1 #) Julien: Yes, exactly. It’s pretty standard anyway so can you tell us how you learn and what do you recommend people to do to learn like do you read books? Do you listen to podcasts? Do you read blogs? Do you talk to people? How do you think you learn?
( #00:35:02-3 #) Marie: I have never read books about entrepreneurship. The only book I read is Zero to One. I would recommend it to everyone. It’s a book that was very inspiring for me and mostly with people and by doing. That means oh I have this client to me. Okay, I manage to find a way to convince him to buy my app. I always learn in doing. I never know the theory or what other people do. I just follow my intuition.
( #00:35:41-9 #) Julien: You learn with people it’s because you have a lot of people surrounding you. You’ve got a mentor through the STATUT ÉTUDIANT-ENTREPRENEUR so you learn from him as well I guess. Is there also people in your supporting network around you?
( #00:36:03-1 #) Marie: I have my boyfriend. He’s as well an entrepreneur.
( #00:36:06-1 #) Julien: He’s an entrepreneur as well.
( #00:36:08-8 #) Marie: So he understands my challenges and if I finish late because he’s always also walking. In the morning he likes to go jogging together, running together. We really want to grow together.
( #00:36:25-3 #) Julien: He’s an entrepreneur and he’s got his own business.
( #00:36:28-3 #) Marie: Exactly.
( #00:36:29-5 #) Julien: Do you actually get to see each other except from jogging together?
( #00:36:32-3 #) Marie: We live together.
( #00:36:35-0 #) Julien: At least you see each other at home.
( #00:36:38-2 #) Marie: I mean if I’m in Paris. Sometimes I’m in San Francisco. It’s not every week that we are together but we try to. We Facetime every day.
( #00:36:49-0 #) Julien: How can you afford the flights to San Francisco because that is going back and forth? That is not cheap?
( #00:36:53-4 #) Marie: Yes, it’s very expensive and thanks to my internship in wealth management at UBS. I can afford the flights.
( #00:37:01-6 #) Julien: It was paid. It was a paid internship.
( #00:37:04-8 #) Marie: Yes.
( #00:37:04-5 #) Julien: You’ve shared with us like a super positive story of everything happens the right way. Did you have at any time have any failure or tough time that you can share with us?
( #00:37:16-8 #) Marie: Yes with pleasure. Actually beginning of this week was very challenging because I just arrived back from the States. I know have an exam. I need to go back to the other university. I need to meet clients. I need to meet investors. Every day I just have no time with myself and I just missed my friends and family. I always miss their calls. The only way I speak with them is them watching my website on Facebook. I miss them so much and I just want to go on holiday and be disconnected with the nature and be with the people I love and I just feel like that I can’t now because I have too many obligations and responsibilities that is I do nothing the team is not working. I need always to follow up. I need to meet the clients, I need to after that meet them again and it’s always work, work and after the emails I’m very bad with managing my emails so I’m struggling right now actually with time management.
( #00:38:28-1 #) Julien: I think that is one of the key problems with like most of the StudentPreneurs that we’ve had on the show especially because the rest of the people around them dont understand everything that you’re doing because you’re having different lives. I think you’ve got a good way of starting to manage it through mindfulness because then you can live in the moment and if you see those people even briefly at least you’re in the moment with them. You’re not checking your emails on your phone or doing something else but that’s a tough one. At the same time do you think you could be on holiday more than 7 days, you will not go crazy about doing something more than being on holiday.
( #00:39:10-5 #) Marie: Even two days I would love now. Just two days holiday.
( #00:39:15-2 #) Julien: That sound pretty tough. Hopefully you’ll find a way or if any of the audience found the way they’ll contact me. We’re looking for answer.
( #00:39:25-6 #) Marie: And looking for a creative answer.
( #00:39:28-7 #) Julien: I’m still doing my PhD and one of the key topics that I’m looking at is how do student entrepreneur manage their different identities of being a student, identity of being a student, identity of being an entrepreneur, identity to be a girl, identity to be a daughter and it’s hard. It’s tough. It’s a real life. I’ll email you if I’ll get creative answers.
( #00:39:52-5 #) Marie: We’d pleasure. I would love to.
( #00:39:53-7 #) Julien: The last question is what do you think university should do to support studentprenuers it looks like with the status of student entrepreneur in France it’s pretty good. Is there anything else that university should do you think?
( #00:40:10-5 #) Marie: I think already a big step and I find it very convenient for students starting their projects. We also have a very good incubator at university and Anne Sophie who is in charge of helping students that wants to do projects is very helpful. He’s always sending us emails or is calling us or is introducing us to other people. He’s doing workshops about how to write a financial plan and I think to have this kind of environment inside the university is very helpful for a student who wants to try something so he doesn’t need to get out of university to find support.
( #00:40:55-3 #) Julien: That’s really good. The support is what keeps you going to get the motivation to get for next week and next week and next week. That’s kind of one of the answer for you in the sense of when you’ve got your downs at least you can always go to that person and to your mentors.
( #00:41:15-2 #) Marie: It’s very important to be surrounded with people from different backgrounds and different ages.
( #00:41:21-5 #) Julien: You’ve been saying this consistently during the interview like different backgrounds, different ages, this is how you learn, this is how you get supported, this is how you keep going. This is one of your key ways of going on with life.
( #00:41:37-4 #) Marie: Yes.
( #00:41:37-9 #) Julien: Wow, what an interview. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. That is just an amazing story with a lot of learning. Is there anything else that you want to tell the audience like the final advice for all of them?
( #00:41:51-0 #) Marie: I think the reason one quote I love ‘Quand on veut on peut” that means when we want we can. We just try and you will learn a lot from it.
( #00:42:00-6 #) Julien: I think you’re a very good example of that saying. Thank you very much and all the best for your exam in econometrics. No I’m kidding. All the best for your incubation program in San Francisco. That’s more important.
( #00:42:16-2 #) Marie: Thank you very much. I enjoy every moment and I wish you also all the best and good luck to your podcast. I look forward to it.
( #00:42:24-8 #) Julien: Thank you. Thank you very much. Bye.
( #00:42:27-6 #) Marie: Have a beautiful day. Goodbye.
Time to wrap up. Each studentrreneur’s story is different and what works for some people doesn’t for others however I’d like to point out a few things in Marie’s journey that are similar to the studentpreneurs that I have interviewed.
Instead of keeping your ideas secret she tells everyone about her projects and try to meet as many people as possible by inviting them for lunch. She’s in the mindset of “fake it until you make it”. That’s how she found a free place to run a project. She’s open to new adventures, new people. She got exposed to the Free Space concept while couch surfing in Cambodia. She won a seat in an incubation program in Startuphouse in San Francisco by competing in Startup Bus hackathon. Finally Marie reminds us that it’s not always easy to be a student and an entrepreneur. There’s no more free time to see her loved ones. The support from the people around her such as her mentor and her boyfriend is one answer to that but so is meditation. You’ve got to give a go to meditation to help you with your mindfulness.
If you’ve enjoyed this podcast hit subscribe on the podcast player or on our website StudentPreneur.com.au and until next week keep breaking the stereotype and the mindset.