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09 July 2020

Yasmina AZZOUG (TBS 1996) - Novelist

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"I don't believe in premeditated paths, I believe in hybrid and mixed paths"


 Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Toulouse.

I have a career in managing sales development, was an entrepreneur.

I am curious new experiences, so I’ve learned about many different business environments (multinationals, SME, microbusiness, start-ups, cultural engineering, etc).

I’m now in the process of changing my career to a writer! 

Why did you chose TBS for your studies? Tell us about your time as a student at TBS!

By attending TBS, I knew that I would work towards the "Consumer Products" major because I was very interested in everyday brands. I do not know if it was as clearly aware as I am today, but multinationals are excellent playgrounds to sharpen your analytical skills, to be creativity, and to develop a taste for excellence and surpassing your limits.

The instruction given TBS is precise enough and technical enough to allow you to build a very effective toolbox. At the same time, the fundamental openness to this type of teaching makes it possible to discover very different types of companies. I think it was Geneviève Cazes-Valette (fantastic teacher!) told us that, in addition to the educational content, TBS teaches us to learn. This has been proven to be true, and has been a real competitive advantage. We are taught to comprehend situations and people, to understand them, and how to interact with them.

Have you any stories about your year to share with us? Were you part of a student association at TBS?

I have several!

I escaped the hazing afternoon because I was sitting my licence exam! I also remember all-nighters completing projects and turning them in at the last moment... Finally, I can't forget the internship I did for a semester in Ecuador.

What are you doing today and how did you get to this point in your professional career? (You can describe the milestones in your career)

I had a typical course. I did a “Bac C” because I had good grades, which opened many doors for me. For a long time, I vacillated between prep-HEC and medicine!

I ended up choosing to do a Grandes Ecole Programme in business for the opportunity to practice diverse trades in various sectors. After I left school with a major in "Consumer Products", I held marketing positions (product manager, then customer marketing manager), then in positions in key accounts at multinationals for their PGE (Colgate, Bic, L'Oréal), and in agri-food (Occitan Cheese Products).

At the same time, I had always been involved with things that would become, little by little, essential: culture in general and for literature in particular. Instead of getting a Master's degree in Cultural Engineering (whose academic content was similar to what I had learned at TBS), I got a Bachelor's degree in Modern Literature, then a Master's degree in General and Comparative Literature at Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3. My challenge was to transfer my skills in design and project organisation to occupations and issues that were more aspirational for me. I participated in literary events (for example, the Paris Book Fair) and international cooperation (Culturefrance, now Institut Français).

After that, as I wanted to return to Toulouse, I started working as a “go-to” market strategy consultant, mainly working with SMEs and start-ups. Finally, two years ago, I made the decision to devote my time to writing my first novel.

Now, I’m giving myself time to try it out because it is in line with what is essential to me. I am in the learning and experimenting phase. I’ll find out if the economic model is viable over the months to come. In addition, this direction is not set in stone. It may lead me to other things.

Learn more about Yasmina's first novel "History and Geography"


What advice would you give to TBS students and/or Alumni, who are looking to follow your career path?

As soon as I joined TBS, I knew that I wanted to get marketing and sales jobs because they matched my personality and my skills. This became clear during my internships.

Nevertheless, my career track shows that I don’t believe in set courses, but ones that are more of a hybrid and blended nature.  mixed races. Today’s graduates are fortunate they live in a time when this idea is more accepted than it was in my "era"!

I’d advise them to stay curious and learn something new every day, and not only limited to the TBS environment. Attend conferences or listen to podcasts (from TEDx at the Collège de France), read (novels, essays, magazines, ...), meet people from all backgrounds, network - especially when you're not doing an internship or in a job, and respond to requests for help.

Don’t sacrifice your humour, don’t be a caricature or atypical at any cost! Look for your own road and your successive paths. TBS provides one of the rare educations that allows this agility!

How did the Alumni network support you?

I followed with interest the creation of the TBS Foundation, as well as its different afterworks because you can discuss and perfect your “pitch”, whether or not you are looking for new opportunities. It's important to come face-to-face with others because it allows you to think and grow.

I get lots of messages, often specific questions about a company, or a request for coaching for an interview. I always took the time to answer or meet people. It's important to reach out, even if it's only a little thing and only for a few minutes.

I think of it as a network that is more optional than obligatory ... My best friend is also a TBS alumnus!      

1 Comment

1 year ago
bravo pour ce beau et riche parcours Yasmina
tu as oublié toutefois de nous préciser le titre de ton roman et l'endroit où on peut le trouver... dommage. J'ai hâte de le lire

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