Prof. Paris de l’Etraz’s masterclass, held in Tokyo on Febuary 19th, brought a big crowd of attendees drawn by the topic: ‘Think like an entrepreneur’.

Drawing on both his long and illustrious work experience, as well as his decision to take on the challenge of starting his own company, Prof. de l’Etraz explained what makes an entrepreneur and what he/she needs to do to succeed. Prof. de l’Etraz spent over 20 years in investment banking and venture capital, mainly at UBS Bank and ABN AMRO. Since 2005, he has continued to be in the business of either raising funds, setting up new companies, selling or buying companies through his group Amazing Lab.

However, his description of ‘quants’ (mathematically minded individuals who exhibit a closed mentality and cannot deal with ambiguity at work) really brought the room alive, many participants recognizing themselves in his description, and others wondering if they are, in fact, quants as well.

Prof. de l’Etraz explained that in our rapidly changing world, higher levels of certainty cannot be created by generating more information, being obsessed with objectivity and the sacredness of numbers. It’s in fact open-mindedness that is critical to face uncertainty and understanding the complexity of globalization and new business models in order to create sustainable corporations in the long-term.

The Q&A session after the masterclass was particularly lively, and conversations about being a quant, and how an IE education can help to overcome one’s ‘quantness’ flowed over drinks.

If you missed his engaging presentation, you can review his latest TEDx presentation on the same topic here.