Alumni Spirit | Isma Zmerli, ECE alumnus, engineer, speaker and mentalist

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Ingenious engineer, Isma Zmerli Today, he absorbs his audience during conferences or mentalism sessions where he brilliantly mixes humor, show, magic and storytelling. On stage or in close-up, he highlights the methods that allow to develop all the potentialities of the mind when we agree to collaborate and to leave aside our limiting beliefs.

Science and mentalism

After a BAC S at the lycée Henri IV, Isma entered a scientific CPGE (Classe Préparatoire aux Grandes Écoles), guided by his appetite for math and his taste for logic. It is therefore quite natural that he continued his studies by specializing in Big Data & Analytics at ECE, from which he graduated in 2020. This training allowed him to become a Data Scientist in innovative startups such as Agorize or large groups like L’Oréal.

However, this predisposition for numbers eventually led Isma to put development and data analysis aside, in order to enter the doors of illusion and more specifically those of mentalism. Indeed, when we take a look at the definition of “mentalism”, we find the idea of something “Which belongs to the mechanism of the mind; which appeals to the intellectual faculties.” Nothing witchy, then.

The mathematics of music

If you ask him about his best memories as a student, Isma will certainly evoke the project-based pedagogy that reigns in the ECE and that gave him the possibility to concretize his ideas.

A musician in his spare time, Isma particularly appreciates the saxophone and admires the virtuosity of Paul Desmond on Take Five.

Isma Zmerli mentalist ECE OMNES Education speaker engineer

So, to avoid the apprentice musicians to have to go through the tedious solfeggio box, he developed during a team project an application able to recognize the musical notes from a piece and to indicate the fingerings. A work rewarded since Party Song won the ECE Innov Awards 2019!

No room for improvisation

Both music and magic require a lot of preparation. To achieve the dexterity necessary for these two disciplines and to be able to control each finger or perform each gesture at the right time, it is essential to undergo rigorous training.

It is not surprising, then, that among the mentors who inspire Isma, we find Bülent Turan, speaker, motivational coach and multiple Kung Fu Wushu champion: “A man capable of instilling the energy necessary to carry out any project! The time to drink a coffee with him, and one comes out with an incredible rage to win.”

Isma is able to train relentlessly, to rehearse for hours so that the mechanics of her shows are perfect and that the magic works!

Mentalism, Big Data?

To be a mentalist is to conduct an investigation in order to decipher the person in front of you, to understand how he or she functions by collecting a maximum of clues. Like a Data Scientist, the mentalist will collect thousands of pieces of information, process them and analyze them to find answers.

While Isma knows perfectly well how to juggle with computer data or statistics, when he puts on his stage costume, it is movements, postures, words or looks that he uses to find the solution.

For this thought detective, intuition is obviously of primary importance. So, to always be one step ahead of the spectator, Isma draws on different techniques such as illusionist tricks, psychology, the study of human behavior, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and neuroscience.

Passionate about the mechanisms of the mind, Isma wishes to pursue his research in neuroscience applied to magic. Accustomed to machine learning and the development of predictive algorithms, he would like to get involved in cognitive research to predict human behavior.

It’s a kind of magic

Isma Zmerli mentalist ECE OMNES Education speaker engineer

Initially rather reserved, Isma now performs at numerous events (conferences, corporate events, school events, galas) where he presents his tools as a magician and mentalist to inspire the public.

If his shyness had a tendency to make him feel shy when he had to speak in front of a group, the associative life as well as the enriching encounters at the ECE allowed him to pierce the mysteries of communication and to make it a strength.

“Unfortunately, there is no such thing as magic. A magician is only an actor who plays the role of a magician. However, when I go on stage I remain myself, I don’t pretend to be someone else”, he confides.

A mentalist must always innovate, and master the art of communication to tell a story. Isma wishes to share her experience and offers workshops on communication, negotiation and influence techniques to ECE students.

His advice: “Explore everything you are given to explore.”

It is thanks to the courses offered at ECE and to the richness of the associative life that Isma had a real trigger, pushing him to leave his comfort zone. Thus, he was able to progressively change his way of understanding the world and to take the full measure of the potential that lay dormant in him and was only waiting to be affirmed.

If Isma were to give one piece of advice to ECE students, it would be this: “Take advantage of all that the school has to offer! There are so many things going on: events, associations, exciting speakers… it would be a real shame not to get fully involved! Oh, and never stop being curious, never stop learning!”.

Updated 22 June 2022