Nicholas Reed

Nik is the head of business and operations for Ravel Law, a legal research and analytics platform that he helped launch while studying at Stanford Law School. Prior to Ravel, Nik worked in management consulting at Accenture as part of the corporate strategy team where he focused on international mergers and acquisitions. 

Nik studied international relations and political economy as an undergraduate at Stanford, with a focus on the Middle East and the European Union. He then attended Hautes Etudes Commerciales Paris, where he received a Diplôme de Grande Ecole (MSc in Management) and continued to study political economy, this time focused on the EU and transatlantic relations. Nik also has a JD from Stanford Law School.  

Nik started his career at Merrill Lynch during the late 1990s internet bubble, as an intern for Henry Blodget. At Merrill, he learned firsthand about valuing internet companies and the perils of over valuation in exuberant markets. After graduating from HEC, Nik joined Accenture’s Corporate Strategy team to focus on M&A, working on deals between large international conglomerates as well as deals that involved the acquisition and integration of fast-growing internet start-ups in Silicon Valley.  

When not focused on business, Nik believes strongly in helping the international community and in community service more broadly. While at Stanford, he worked on the Afghanistan Legal Education Project, writing legal textbooks for students in Afghanistan, and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, helping Iraqi refugees apply for asylum in the United States. Nik has also volunteered on Presidential campaigns, worked at a think-tank dedicated to furthering transatlantic ties, and most recently has a hand in drafting legislation that would create incentives to help urban agriculture thrive in his home-state of California. 

Why did you apply to the Young Leaders Program? What are you seeking to get out of it?
Having grown up in a French school in the US, I learned about the strength of the French education system firsthand and experienced the benefits of transatlantic ties – from educational to cultural exchanges. I am now immersed in technology and start-ups in Silicon Valley, and am once again experiencing the benefits of our ties, this time through business. My hope in participating in the program is to be able to share my experiences and lessons learned living and working in the U.S. and Silicon Valley and to learn from French colleagues as to their experiences in French industry and in the EU and devise ways to help each other grow and gain.

What is an interesting fact about you that some people might not know?
I am not only the only non-artist in my family, I am the only member of my immediate family to not have directed a film to have premiered in a film festival. The black sheep in my family, I always liked math and languages.

What did you aspire to be when you were young?
Around age 7, I was interviewed for a theater magazine that was doing a profile on my father, a theater director. Among the questions asked, the reporter was wondering if I too aspired to be in the arts. My answer was "no, I'll probably be a baseball player but if not a lawyer or politician." Although my baseball career ended in high school, I did get through law school eventually!

You are obviously highly accomplished professionally.  What is one mistake you made that was a great learning lesson?
During college, I lived in a small village in southern Egypt as part of a self-designed study abroad project. For two and a half months, I followed strictly all the advice I was given about careful eating – only consuming cooked food from fresh sources. I mostly ate the food served to me by the family I lived with or at the local restaurants that I was told were safe to frequent. One day, feeling nostalgic, I went across the Nile and spent the day at a big Western hotel. Despite the advice I had followed to that day, I ordered a sandwich with fresh vegetables. I ended up sick, hospitalized with typhoid, and down for many months. The lesson learned was that a momentary desire does not merit months of pain;  although in this instance it was merely a case of food and diet, I believe the lesson can be applied broadly in many parts our lives.