A truly wise man never plays leapfrog with a Unicorn.

Bertrand Laborde

General introduction / background

Bertrand is currently Strategic Partnerships Director at Studyportals. But the love story between Bertrand and Studyportals goes far back in time, to August 2009. As Studyportals was then craving to add a French touch (who would not?) to her team and hence striving after reaching new heights, Bertrand miraculously landed in Eindhoven during this summer of 2009.

Why someone from this amazing (and modest) country would adventure himself beyond its borders? Bertrand was attending a double degree programme (from which he graduated in March 2011 as an Industrial Engineer), a partnership between his engineering school Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble INP – Génie Industriel), and the Eindhoven University of Technology (MSc in Operations Management & Logistics). Studyportals jumped at the chance, and Bertrand became the first non-Dutch employee of this young and ambitious start-up called MastersPortal at the time. MastersPortal has become Studyportals (and then Studyportals, dropping the capital P), and now counts more than 25 different nationalities within its team!

In March 2011, after his graduation, the part-timer Bertrand had the chance to get a full-time position of Account Manager for France and Spain. In March 2012, Bertrand got promoted within the University Value department to the position of Region Manager for the ‘Latin region’, which consists of France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Wallonia. He climbed another step of the ladder in January 2014, becoming Head of University Value for Western continental Europe. Between 2016 and 2018, Bertrand has proudly and responsibly been Studyportals’ Chief Commercial Officer, leading the wonderful and caring University Value team. His most recent job migration within this awesome company was in March 2018, when Bertrand became Strategic Partnerships Director, leaving his management position and working again directly with the good-hearted people of the Higher Ed industry every day that he is in the office.

Bertrand is also very proud to be part of the EAIE Marketing & Recruitment steering group since September 2016 as an elected member. He finds it a real honour and pleasure to contributing to the development of the entire world through higher education.

Key motivation

Giving students all the help they need to make the best choice for their future in terms of education, should they want to stay in their own country or to expand their horizons, is Bertrand’s biggest motivation. We all contribute to that here at Studyportals by making our programme database as rich as possible, and by efficiently putting these motivated students in touch with the worldwide universities that fit their profile best.

Bertrand is convinced that higher education is a powerful tool for the development of one country, an opinion strengthened by projects like the “big 100,000 initiative” in the USA, stories like the influence on the development of the Silicon Valley from Indian graduates, and experiences like the growth of the Scandinavian economy always investing in education.

Favourite Studyportals element/experience

Bertrand has been very moved when the first charity partnership was officialised at Studyportals, with UNICEF back in 2013. Studyportals´ development was then benefiting to the “Schools for Africa” UNICEF project in Guinea-Bissau. Scholarships on the name of each of the Studyportals employees have been awarded to African pupils in 2013, and the creation of 2 primary schools has been allowed thanks to us.

Personal message

“I would like to sincerely thank all the great people from the Higher Education Institutes that I am working for. It is a pleasure to serve and advice people like that who are guided by the motivation of making a difference in their country and in the world through Education. This is an incredible mission and adventure, and I am proud to be part of it under the flagship of Studyportals. I have the feeling that these last years in this field are just a beginning, and I am looking forward to the years, to the decades to come.”

Favourite activities

Trying hard to understand Dutch humour is a very interesting activity, but unfortunately not very gratifying. Facing no improvements in almost three years after landing in this country, Bertrand decided to join the pony-water polo club of Eindhoven.

It consists in playing water polo but instead of swimming, you have to ride a pony. In spite of the fact that a pony cannot hold a snorkel nor swimming, this activity is much easier than understanding a Dutch joke.

[Okay, maybe French humour is not better]

Favourite Listed Programme

Bertrand has the dream of making his own wine someday, walking in the footsteps of his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, who have all been farmers. None of them has ever worked with grapes though, but this should not stop Bertrand as there are plenty of study opportunities to gain such knowledge. His heart would then guide him to the Mastersportal and to make a search in the “agriculture & forestry” discipline, adding “wine” as a keyword. More than 25 Master’s programmes result from such a search, in countries like Australia, Italy, South Africa, and… France