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Learn while travelling? It's possible, thanks to this KEDGE Alumna!

A buyer by training, Elly SOUGH (MAI graduate, class of 2015) decided to leave everything to take on the mass tourisme industry by creating The Travelearner!

Hello, Elly! To start with, can you tell us about your educational background: what did you study at KEDGE, and before joining KEDGE?
After obtaining my BAC, I joined an engineering school with an integrated prepatory programme: the ECAM in Lyon. I spent five years studying intensively with a magnificent view over all of Lyon. At the end of my engineering programme, I decided to move into business and a career as a buyer, which seemed a perfect fit, since I wanted to work in both human relations and managing technical projects. So, I joined the MAI programme at KEDGE for a Specialised Master's Degree, which confirmed my interest in purchasing. I have fond memories of my one-year long work-study programme, thanks to the high-quality speakers that responded to real problems I was facing in the professional world. The fact that I got to spend one week per month in Paris also meant I saw only the positive aspects of our capital! 
Tell us about what you've done since graduating: what jobs have you held? What did you learn in these positions? 
Once I received my diploma, Alstom Transport (the company I was doing my work-study programme with) offered me a job in Shanghai as Electronics and Mechanics Buyer. So, I jumped on the opportunity to discover a new position, in a new department and country. I was in direct contact with local suppliers and strategic decision-makers and the train production lines made my days very interesting. Working with different cultures also really helped me open my mind. After returning to France, I joined LAB (an engineering company specialised in smoke treatment). Moving from a major group to an SME meant that I had to show a great deal of agility and responsiveness, and I loved it! We had to work closely with our suppliers, the project teams, but also the offers department so that things ran as smoothly as possible. Managing purchases, in project mode, for a company that isn't very diverse is a different and pleasant challenge to take on. 
Tell us about The Travelearner, your new project.
I left the industry in April 2017 to create The Travelearner. It's a platform that creates connections between people in France and all over the world to find authentic experiences. At the end of my contract in the SME, I asked myself whether I wanted to continue working in the industry or not. I had a hard time finding meaning in my everyday tasks even though they were very intense and seemed important. I wanted to change the world in my own way, to make it more open and caring. My partner (and husband) then told me "You love to travel and discover new things, I like to learn and meet new people. Why not create our own company to offer everyone the possibility to travel in a different way and create real links with people?" Sourcing mechanical pieces and sourcing tourism activities with a high added-value, it was an easy choice! So I accepted and started developing our website: !

"The idea, with The Travelearner is to flip the mass tourism industry upside down and recreate human connections, which we have lost in our rush to see as many tourist attractions as possible."

We to revive curiosity for traditions, knowledge, and cultre. Not only by watching but by having an intimate and practical experience with a master in his/her field. We offer authentic activities in France and abroad that allow you re discover local know-how. Meet with people who are passionate about their work, like a local fisherman/woman who can show you traditional fishing techniques or a chef that can teach you about local cuisine and flavours, you are sure to live a magical moment and create unforgettable memories. 
What are your objectives for the future? 
Our objective is to become a leader in the creative tourism sector thanks to the wide range of destinations we cover, but also a technical solution that simplifies communications with isolated areas. In order to reach our goal, we are going to launch a fundraising operation with the BEELYS incubator, which we will be joining in November. 
What did you learn during your time at KEDGE Business School, how did that help you? 
My education at ECAM helped me learn to how to draft requirement specifications and create a project management schedule. Thanks to KEDGE, I learned how to build a complete business plan, interpret financial information, implement strategies, and draw up contracts. I use these skills almost daily. The engineering/purchasing teaching are very complementary. 
If you had one piece of advice for KEDGE Alumni who would like to follow in your footsteps, what would it be? 
My advice would be to dream and act. We all have a tendency to be afraid of leaving our comfort zone, but once we've taken the first step, we can only learn by walking, so long as you try. 
For more information about THE TRAVELEARNER:


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