Philippe charts a new path with inspiration from Cisco Networking Academy


“I learned IT from scratch with Cisco Networking Academy.”


Philippe du Fresnay looked set for a career in international business administration. Having studied business in France, Taiwan and Shanghai—using his business school acumen to pick-up modeling jobs along the way—he was working as an executive when everything changed.

“I lost my job as an exec when I started losing my eyesight in 2011,” he says. “So I went into teaching as it was another dream of mine.”

“I started as being a French-speaking, non-IT-savvy, business school student. Over the years, I grew to become a visually impaired, English speaking, IT researcher and legal scholar on the blockchain. Notably thanks to Cisco Networking Academy.”

Above: Giving an interview on Cybersecurity related issue on French TV channel France 24

Cisco Networking Academy forms the basis

Philippe attributes Cisco Networking Academy with providing him a sound basis in technology. “I learned IT from scratch with Cisco Networking Academy,” he says. Crucially, it also introduced him to cybersecurity, which led to his interest in blockchain.

“In Asia I used to work on Initial Public Offers: a legal thing, but from the business perspective. I found Initial Public Offers got more complex with time. After I came home and completed INSEAD [graduate business school], with my eyesight already decreasing, I started teaching Cybersecurity with Cisco Networking Academy and I got to know about the blockchain,” he says.

After visiting the French stock exchange, Philippe recognized the opportunity to apply Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) to the blockchain as an alternative to traditional markets—what has subsequently become known as Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Having unsuccessfully applied for PhD study several times already, Philippe met an influential professor and explained his interest in ICOs and was given a chance despite his lack of legal background.

Further education

“I worked the best I could to complete a PhD in Law on ‘ICOs in the US, Europe, China and major offshore financial centres.’ Since then I became a Harvard Business School alumnus, a legal PhD with honors and passed the French bar exam,” he says. “I can’t thank my professor enough! Cisco Networking Academy helped a lot as well.”

Above: Speaker at panels at the Los Angeles Blockchain Week and the Boston Blockchain Week.

Indeed, it is not the first time Cisco has helped Philippe in his endeavors.

Long-term advocate

“When I went to Shanghai for my American MBA I got more modeling jobs by applying marketing tactics I learned in business school such as having a website, a rare thing at the time.” One of the jobs he picked-up was a television advertisement for Cisco.

“I did the Cisco TV ad not even knowing it was Cisco,” he says. “But this particular ad paid for half my MBA tuition fee so thank you Cisco!”

Above: shooting of the $100M Cisco campaign "This is the power of the network. Now." On Shanghai’s Bund, 2003.

“I've always been doing many things, trying many things, meeting with success and failures. But I dont think anyone one would have guessed I'd become a model one day, or later on a lawyer despite my visual impairment,” says Philippe.

“We have our own resources that we must develop, and our own limits to reduce. We have to have faith in ourselves but not succumb to hubris. I have personally always tried to make lemonade out of lemons.”



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