At 38, Ludwig Wourms is the freshly appointed General Manager of 42 Antananarivo. From being a 42 Lyon student, deeply involved in the founding of its entrepreneurial chapter, to managing 42’s fifth campus on the African continent, he shares his motivations and inspirations.
What does 42 mean to you?
42 changed my life. I had a tough time at school and had to leave early to work odd jobs to support my family. After moving to Lyon, years later, I decided to go back to school and finally got my Baccalaureate (French A-levels) and later a Master’s degree in musicology. At the time, I was looking for music theory apps, some of which I liked but none were entirely satisfactory. So I started to imagine my own game, but I quickly got stuck because I didn’t have the skills to develop it.
That’s when I heard about 42. It was 2018 and I attempted my first Piscine, which I failed. At the time, I was disappointed but I realized during my second Piscine, in 2020, that I wasn’t up to it the first time and that I was right to persevere.
42 Lyon opened a world of possibilities to me as the campus was new and there was everything to do. Alongside my training, I’m proud to have contributed to the rise of the campus entrepreneurial chapter, which partly grew out of my need to create my own music theory application.
How did you come to manage the 42 Antananarivo campus?
During my time at 42 Lyon, I helped set up the Start-up Internship and was president of 42 Entrepreneurs and vice-president of the Student Union. I had built new partnerships with key decision-makers in the Rhône-Alpes region, and even set up two businesses (a video games company and a matchmaking service between developers and companies) to integrate them into the 42 Lyon tech ecosystem.
Axian, the main sponsor of 42 Antananarivo, had a General Manager role open. They agreed that I was a great fit for the position considering my previous entrepreneurial experiences and strong desire to bring projects to fruition. So here I am!
What do you like about your position?
As a General Manager with a small team (5 people), I love to initiate projects, connect people and help them thrive. For instance, we recently collaborated with Stellarix (an Axian subsidiary) to fund a grant for a CSR project in order to benefit our most under-privileged students.
Even though 42 is free, coming to school can still be a challenge for some students who don’t have time to work on the side to cover their living expenses. With these types of projects, we want to nurture talents who would never have had such an opportunity in life without 42.
What value do you consider important to join 42?
To me, it’s adaptability. Discovering new ways of working and being open to new ideas require a lot of flexibility and self-questioning. You might think that your coding technique is the best but through peer-learning you could realize that other techniques also work, perhaps even better than yours! If you are adaptable, you take the good in everything and that’s how you eventually grow and go further in life.
How do you see the future of education?
Project-based teaching should be the future of education. Like thousands of students around the world, I dropped out of the traditional education system because I did not fit in, and coming back to it later required an enormous amount of discipline.
Peer-learning makes it possible to create daily interaction with everyone, not just vertically with a teacher/tutor, but with the whole class, horizontally.