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EHL Success Stories: Patile Minassian, founder of Aokas

Discover our Alumni success around the topic of sustainability.

For the 6th edition of EHL Success Stories, we welcomed 8 of our Alumni to share their success. The topic this year was sustainability.

Who is Patile Minassian?

Patile Minassian (AEHL 2014) is the founder of Aokas: “The shop that decided to change the world”

During her second internship in Cambodia, Patile founded Make a Little Difference, an association that provides emergency help to families living in remote rural areas. After her graduation, she joined Procter & Gamble where she first worked in Corporate Communications and then as Global Sustainability Functional Expert.

In 2017, she created AOKAS, a social business whose goal is to create business opportunities for people at the bottom of the social pyramid in Cambodia. She works hand in hand with local craftsmen, imports and sells finished products in Switzerland.

Can you describe yourself when you started EHL in one word versus now?

In 2009, I would have described myself as "Innocent". 10 years later, I describe myself as "Down-to-Earth"

What are the best moments you keep from your studies at EHL?

My 3 favorite moments at EHL were:

  1.  My internships: the most wonderful experiences and great memories,
  2. My senior year,
  3. The various presentation in front of all my classmates, I used to love talking in front of an audience.

Looking at where you stand today, how do you think EHL made a difference in your life?

EHL has clearly made a big difference in my life, it gave me the tools, the confidence and the knowledge to succeed.

What were the most rewarding experiences during your studies at EHL?

This is an easy one! My 2nd year internship in Cambodia changed my life and my perception of the world.

Tell us something that you learned at EHL and that you are using every day.

IP (Interdisciplinary Project) was really useful because it taught me how to develop a new hotel concept from A to Z, from Market research, to Finance, to Marketing, to Human Resources and Sales.

I am convinced it helped me a lot in the process of creating my company.

Other topics that I also carry with me like: Strategy, Management, Marketing, Finance, HR.
And of course: "Savoir-faire" & "Savoir-vivre".

How do you see your career evolving?

In the reality of this ever-changing world I am not able to reply to this question with certainty…

5 years ago I was not expecting to be where I am today and to do what I am doing today, my career will evolve that’s for sure but I am not yet sure exactly how.

Life taught me that even if we have a very clear idea of how we want our career to evolve, things don’t always happen as we planned so I stay OPEN.

What would you advice to young people that are not sure about their career aspirations?

Here are a few:

  1. Don’t put pressure on yourself, it’s really OK not being sure about your career, just stay OPEN and take every experience as an opportunity/a chance to learn and to grow personally.
  2. Listen to your inner self.
  3. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
  4. Be thankful for what you have.
  5. Don’t compare yourself to others, we are all unique.
  6. Live your life impressing yourself don’t live your life trying to impress others, because in the end there will always be people to judge you.

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