Philip Cacouris


Philip did the classic arts A-level trio of English, French and History, before going on to read English at Peterhouse, Cambridge.

Having tested the experience with a summer internship, he moved to the US to work in the entertainment business – and ended up doing various jobs, including long stints at Hanna-Barbera Cartoons in LA and at Time Warner in New York, while trying to kick-start an acting career, with lots of free Shakespeare and paid extra work on Melrose Place and Star Trek Deep Space Nine.

He moved to France to do an MBA and was then hired by his business school to work in executive education. For the last 12 years, he has worked at institutions that provide continuing professional education, including nine years specializing in the fashion industry (Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris and Conde Nast Center in Shanghai). He has lived in China for the last four years and has just started a new role at NYU Shanghai.

What guidance would you give to your younger self on the day you left St Paul’s?

Two things: don’t stress yourself out and don’t panic about the future – life is very long and you are lucky enough to have had a good start. At the same time, do start thinking about what you want to do as a career – talk to people, do summer jobs and internships to try things out, and think about how to connect what interests you and what you like with a particular job or industry.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Floss regularly. After 40, you will be grateful to have taken good care of your teeth as they start their slow and inexorable decline.

Why did you choose your current career?

I didn’t know that professional education was an industry when I was younger. Doing an MBA helped me to fill in some gaps and to validate or complete some experiences and skills I had acquired, and it’s a thrill to be able to help other people acquire the skills and knowledge they need to move ahead in their careers. It’s also really interesting to be able to glimpse into lots of different industries and job functions, and to try to understand where the sticking points are in people’s professional development.