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06 January 2020

Our Incredible Life Paths: Jean-Sébastien GUICHAOUA (TBS 2016)

BDS Graduate in 2001, leader of SirozSport , and passionate about cars .... Today Jean-Sebastien is director of the Retromobile Event in Paris : A skillfully driven career !


Would you say a few words about yourself?

Why did you choose Toulouse, and TBS, to study?

The good atmosphere that I felt during admissions, the reputation of the school with employers (which has never been disputed since it was founded), the fact that my father, mother, and grand-father studied at Toulouse, even though we or from Brittany… these were all signs!

Can you tell us about your time as a student at TBS? 

When I started at the school, I didn’t really have any idea of what I wanted to do.  But through the different people I met, mainly in regard to the associations of the school (the Student Board), internships, and my gap year in New York in the US, I left the school with more confidence in myself and with some experience, and ready to face a professional career.

Do you have any stories from your year to share? (student associations, projects, professors, etc.)

I have a great memory is from when we won the election of the Bureau des Sports in 2001. At the time, we were having difficulty raising funds, but nevertheless we managed to organise a good number of events for students: a day at Sesquières and a party at the Arthur Club, a nightclub near the school which has since disappeared. I remember that some of us did what was needed to meet the campaign budget. Who remembers SirozSport? Maybe not many, but the atmosphere there was fantastic! Even now, I am great friends with many former members of different associations.

Who are you today?

What were your main objectives when you started work after your degree ? What were your motivations?

My aim was to work into the automotive sector. My main internships were with manufacturers, and I found that the field touches on everything: sales, marketing, finance, logistics, etc.

What’s more, I’ve always been attracted to cars, so I might as well work in a sector I liked.

What are you currently doing?

I’m the Director of the Retromobile event in Paris, one of the largest trade fairs in the world for classic cars.

Why did you choose this area of activity ?

My professional career has always been related to manufacturers, car auctions, and trade shows. My predecessor, whom I replaced in 2018, remained at the helm of the Retromobile event for 40 years. My job today is to create dreams for 135,000 annual visitors. What's fantastic is that I can combine my love of automobiles and contemporary history, while meeting incredible people. I hear beautiful stories every day! Additionally, there is the managerial and financial dimension. The stakes are high, and I have to remind myself every year to ensure that the event is up to the task.

At what moment did you know that this was the career for you?

I knew when I went to work for the Comexposium group, which is one of the world’s leading event organisers.

I immediately liked the atmosphere, and I quickly knew that this was where I wanted to continue my career. The ability to combine automobiles and events planning was a great opportunity that I couldn’t let get away!

How did you get to where you are today in your career? (The milestones to be taken into account.)

I started at Décathlon as a manager, which was a super experience in the field, with management and real responsibilities. Then I held different commercial and marketing positions in the automobile sector - Citroën in Cologne, Germany, Mercedes Benz France, and British Car Auctions – which I’ve never left.

Today I’m with Comexposium, which organises forums around the entire world. I started as a business director for two BtoB international forums, Equip Auto and Solutrans, in the automotive aftersales and mobility sector, before I took the helm of Retromobile.

What did your studies bring to you in reaching your personal and/or professional achievements?

On the personal side, I had a second family with my involvement in the student associations. That’s where you not only develop self-confidence, solidarity, sharing, and working in a team, but you also get a sense of celebration!

On the professional side, I did internships and met people who helped me chart my path to be the person I am today: someone who is professionally fulfilled and happy with everyday life.

Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

Maybe still at the head of Retromobile. I still have so many things to learn! Plus, we plan to develop a project in the USA in the next few years, and maybe one in Asia as well.

What is your position on being involved with the alumni network?

How has the alumni network been a support to you?

I have always been supported by the Alumni network. I have had periods of downtime between jobs, but I’ve always been able to bounce back in a positive way because of the network. I think that there’s real solidarity between the school's alumni.

How would you recommend using it?

The network is essential whether you’re a student or a graduate. Feel free to use it. Sometimes I’m asked for advice and I always take the time to answer. 

What advice do you have for TBS Alumni, whether students or graduates?

For students, enjoy your school years because they are too short. You’ll meet people who will leave their mark on you both personally and professionally. Other than taking the courses, which are important because they help you develop your knowledge, don’t hesitate to increase your experiences through the school’s associations and with internships. These will also determine, in part, your future career.

Finally, are you willing for Alumni to contact you directly if they are interested in your career path ?

No problem. They can feel free to contact me. My personal email is:


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