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I Gave Up My Own Company For An MBA At EDHEC Business School—Here’s Why

Armik Stepanyan left behind her own marketing business in Armenia for an MBA on the French Riviera. Now she’s pursuing the international career she always wanted


By  Samantha Wernham

Fri Oct 19 2018

Armik Stepanyan had it all set up in her native Armenia with her own marketing business satisfying her entrepreneurial cravings.

But an international mindset was bubbling underneath and, despite the pride she had in her own company, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t reaching her full potential.

So, she branched out, and took the decision to leave her entrepreneurial venture behind for the French Riviera and the Global MBA at EDHEC Business School.

After graduating in 2017, Armik now has the travel bug. She spent three months this summer heading up digital marketing at an innovative crowdfunding startup in Stuttgart. Having learned so much from her MBA colleagues, mixing with students from over 30 countries around the world, she is eager to pursue an international career.

BusinessBecause caught up with Armik to find out more:

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

The MBA was always there in the back of my mind. It was something I knew I should do if I wanted to make it big in business.

However, it was only when I started my own company that I realized just how much I needed to improve in order to progress. I had to tackle challenging problems every day which required rapid decision making, and I was aware that I needed to refine my leadership skills if I were to grow my team. So, my mind was made up!

Why EDHEC Business School?

My first step when looking for a business school was filtering the schools geographically. I weighed up the pros and cons of America vs Europe and plumped for the latter when I realized I would rather do a one-year course. This was great as I didn’t have to leave the job market for too long.

EDHEC also does two business trips per year and offers an exclusive Career Smart Program which caters to everyone’s needs on a personal level—a real bespoke package for getting ahead on your career ladder of choice!

Also, at the risk of [sounding] cliché, the profile of the class truly was global. EDHEC takes students from around 35 nationalities every year. 

The school is also in Nice. This wasn’t my principal reason for choosing EDHEC, but you can’t deny that the French Riviera is pretty stunning!

What were your stand out experiences? 

When we started we had to choose a ‘track’. I chose an entrepreneurship track which encompassed a trip to San Francisco. We got to meet various startup CEOs and grow our network—any aspiring entrepreneur’s dream! We also had a sustainability trip to South Africa, learning about green careers, which was extraordinary. 

EDHEC also do a tailored business project. Companies came and pitched to us and we had to decide which projects to go for and create expansion plans. This was perfect for preparing us for our post-MBA ventures. 

And, last but not least, my classmates! You get to meet loads of people from a whole range of countries who are so willing to share their cultures, lifestyles, and business experiences. It’s fascinating. It can sometimes be hard in your late twenties and thirties to make friends, but I am still very close to some of my MBA colleagues today.

What is the most challenging aspect of the EDHEC MBA?

The MBA is heavily based on teamwork and this was something I was missing in my small company in Armenia, working solo on ventures. It was a great learning curve for me.

Teamwork and team-building is something I’m so glad to have improved, as I’m now looking for opportunities to work in a much bigger team. There's something very fulfilling about sharing success. 

What are your goals for the future?

Before the MBA, my path was pretty straightforward. I had it all planned out—I would stay in Armenia and grow my business. 

However, during the MBA I realized the world is such a big place, full of enormous opportunities, and so now I’m ready to explore and begin an international journey. I’m just getting started!