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08 July 2019

Our Incredible Life Paths - Pierre HURSTEL (TBS 1980)

Who were you at TBS?

- Why did you choose to attend Toulouse Business School?

Because I’m from Toulouse and, in particular, because my girlfriend was a student at Toulouse.

- Would you tell us about your time at TBS? (Studies)

Pretty classic. I liked law and finance, and wasn’t good in marketing and strategy, so I chose to get an expert-accountant degree.

- Do you have any stories from your Class to share? (e.g., associations, students)

In May 1968, the school had never gone on strike, but in 1978, bingo, we went on strike to get better courses and have a less old-fashioned control of our activities. 

Who are you today?

- What is your current situation?

My professional career has two distinct stages: working for a large corporation - EY, and then working for a small company - Matière à Réflexion

In 1980, I entered into auditing and, in 1991, I went to work for EY. Everything went from there. I was the Audit Manager of the Toulouse office, then in 1996 I went to Paris in the French Regional Banks Market Division, and began holding HR roles.  I was an HR auditor in Paris, then France in all positions, then Southern Europe and Global Managing Partner, and finally Global Chief Diversity Officer.

It was then that I realised that I was too far from the field.

Although I juggled countries, projects, and 160,000 skills, I felt that the part of me was committed and completely fulfilled, but another side of me was worn-out.

Worn-out from discoveries in booming fields, positive psychology, redesigning modes of management, social and environmental responsibilities, overseeing organisations.

So, at 54, I decide to leave everything behind and start from scratch. An SME. Zero clients. But I felt liberated. I had 160,000 ideas and a blank page.

The only thing I was certain about was that, if it worked out, I would devote two days a week to volunteering because I felt that if I spent a little time with each one, I could provide long-term help to those who hadn’t had my chances. And then I created our Association.

It’s been operating for seven years. Matière à Réflexion (Thinking Matters) helps decision-makers hear and support their businesses’ employees so that the latter know how to figure it out.

- Why did you choose this career, this particular goal?

It was because of my finance professor. In second year, he offered me a job at his firm. I went unchecked from there and ended up here. After having worked twenty-five years working at EY as Global Managing Partner, I still haven’t mastered everything.

- What did your studies bring you in your personal and professional achievements? 

They are the alpha and omega of everything that has happened - a helping hand; the assignments; the challenges; those who make you dream, then stand by your; and those who are so arrogant and toxic that you confront them.

What advice do you have for TBS alumni, either students or graduates?

Dream, dare, and deliver.


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