Interview with: Yannick Bouyidou on the Importance of Collaboration When You Start a Business

Before coming to Business School Lausanne (BSL), Yannick Bouyidou was working for The Ritz Carlton Company in San Francisco. His experience taking an online class at UC Berkeley prompted him to look for more personal and direct learning experiences, where classroom size and teaching style encouraged communication between students and professors. “I enjoy very much being in real life situations, engaging with people,” He explains. “This is something that BSL does extremely well.” 

Working in seven hotels on four different continents, Yannick gained various valuable skills, including adaptability, resourcefulness, and resilience. As the world’s most innovative country, Switzerland’s startup ecosystem presented Yannick with many opportunities for entrepreneurial growth—allowing him to transfer the skills gained from the hospitality industry into entrepreneurship.  Read on to learn how partnerships, along with the BSL’s MBA experience, impacted Yannick’s entrepreneurial success. 

Bringing Personal Skills and Experience into the Market – Creating BY Excellence

For Yannick, it all started with the professors and the experience they brought into the classroom—giving students practical, real-life scenarios to learn from while simultaneously inspiring them. “It was the exposure of the professors, their stories, and their experience that was a game changer,” he says. “There is always a professor that stands out and you look up to. Lucky for me, this was my first professor.” 

André Delafontaine—professor, serial entrepreneur, and founder of Genius Life Academy—helped Yannick identify his key strengths and “genius zones”: relationship building, effective communication, and problem solving. Yannick was able to combine this with what he learned from his MBA degree, along with his experience at The Ritz Carlton to launch BY Excellence, his current company.

In his words, BY Excellence strives to “help companies of diverse industries leverage their customer experience and optimize their customer journey to create a sustainable competitive advantage.” Yannick’s MBA studies at BSL enabled him to transition out of corporate hospitality and into the entrepreneurial world. “It very much allowed me to identify my true meaning and purpose, which basically was always within me, but the MBA does such a good job in guiding you through the journey of discovery,” he adds.  

Through his MBA program, Yannick realized that the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds are two very different settings, where “[the skills and tools that] make you successful in one will definitely not make you successful in the other.” That is because corporations rely on causal reasoning – starting with a goal and using a set of means to reach it, while entrepreneurs depend on effectual reasoning, where the “goals gradually emerge” after working with a set of means. As such, Yannick stresses the importance of understanding an individual’s “toolbox of strength and competencies” and entering the market with an openness to listen and respond to what is most needed and wanted.  

With the help of his MBA background, Yannick was able to successfully launch his company, BY Excellence

Achieving Success through Meaningful Collaborations and Partnerships 

At the beginning of his MBA studies, Yannick learned that entrepreneurship is a team sport, one that heavily relies on collaboration. It was around that time that he met Dana Dementyeva, founder and CEO of incub&co — an incubator and start-up accelerator in Switzerland. The pair quickly  formed a partnership. As Yannick describes, “her support and guidance, in addition to my personal development, my [genius] zone, and previous work experience made all of this happen.”

Switzerland’s start-up ecosystem easily promotes collaboration, making it a big part of entrepreneurship. This is particularly the case due to everyone being so interconnected. In addition to receiving government incentives to launch start-ups, entrepreneurs can further build on their business by making the most out of these networking opportunities. “If you are willing to put in the work, and if you are agile enough to identify how to make the most out of this situation, you can be very successful,” Yannick notes. Since most start-ups fail, Yannick believes it is important to “embrace failure” and view it as a learning opportunity. Here, it becomes essential to focus on what one can control, ensuring that “the downside is acceptable, rather than only looking at the potential upside.”  

BSL’s teaching style equips students with the knowledge and platform needed for a successful entrepreneurial career

The Value and Impact of Earning a Business Degree in Switzerland

In Yannick’s view, the most unique aspect of BSL’s MBA in business transformation and entrepreneurship is the teaching style, which uses experiential learning as a hands-on method for understanding business concepts and scenarios. “The program itself is unique because, in the span of a year, it really gives you the most important aspects of what business [and entrepreneurship] is about,” he explains. In this way, the program gives you the knowledge and platform needed for a successful career. 

“An MBA is an amplifier,” Yannick states. “That means the more you put in, the more you get out.” Rather than start his company at the end of his MBA program in August 2021, Yannick decided to launch BY Excellence in November 2020—allowing him to make the most out of his program.  

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