Nikitas Koutoupes was born in Athens and graduated from Pierce in 1991. At school, he was President of the Student Government and won the Minnie Mills Award. Nikitas holds a BA from Princeton University (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa), and an MBA with high distinction (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School. He is currently a partner, and Managing Director of Insight Venture Partners, a $13 billion private equity firm investing in high-growth software companies. Prior to Insight, Nikitas co-founded Citadon, a software-as-a-service company that became part of Insight’s portfolio. Previously, he served as an Associate with McKinsey & Company, working on strategy, turnaround, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance engagements.
Nikitas lives in Manhattan with his wife Zineb Guessous, where they are learning to play zone defense (baseball) with their three children.
What are three enduring lessons you learned during your studies at Pierce?
- Hard work creates opportunity and access.
- Learn what you will need, but also learn about what you enjoy.
- The bus-ride from Piraeus to Agia Paraskevi can take a long time, so make the most of it!
Describe Pierce in three words.
Transformative, diverse, beautiful.
One of your favorite Pierce memories?
Celebrating our graduation, and the feeling of anticipation for what was to come.
What do you miss most from your days at Pierce?
Which was your favorite spot on campus?
The volleyball court. Spent practically every lunch there.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Georgia Marketos taught me to express myself in writing, to appreciate literature, and not to chew gum when I want to be taken seriously.
Have you kept in touch with any of your classmates?
I count a handful of them among my closest friends.
Did your studies at Pierce help you during your university studies and beyond?
Pierce changed my life. Without Pierce I would not have had the opportunity to come to the United States to study, which in turn created a set of opportunities which would have otherwise been entirely inaccessible.
What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received?
That life has more imagination than we do. It is therefore futile to try to control everything.
What (or who) inspires you most?
Your motto in life?
Mottos are inherently limiting.