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How An Executive MBA Can Strengthen Your Entrepreneurial Ideas

How can an Executive MBA boost your entrepreneurial mindset? We hear from one EMBA grad who has co-founded multiple startups

It’s true that you don’t need an MBA or Executive MBA degree to become a successful entrepreneur. 

Yet if you’re someone with extensive experience in the business world and an itch for entrepreneurship with no idea where to start, attending business school could help you make those all-important first steps.

Executive MBA (EMBA) programs are aimed at those with around 10 or more years of work experience—CEOs, executives, and senior managers are usually found among a typical EMBA cohort. 

Here’s how an EMBA could strengthen your entrepreneurial ideas:

You’ll gain a solid foundation in entrepreneurship 

Knowing about business doesn’t necessarily translate to understanding entrepreneurship.

This was the experience for Max Gravel—an Executive MBA grad from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business, which is based in Montreal, Canada.

Prior to business school, Max had worked in several senior leadership positions for a large bank in Canada for almost 20 years.

“I was going to apply for the role of vice president but many of the competitors were MBA degree holders so I knew it would make it hard to select a non-MBA holder like me,” he says.

Max chose John Molson after hearing about the school from a colleague. He became even more interested in the program after finding out his fellow candidates would be people with a similar level of experience in business.

He says one of the standout features of his EMBA degree was learning about new areas, such as entrepreneurship. 

The Executive MBA at John Molson offers many entrepreneurship-focused courses including Creativity and Innovation and Starting A New Venture, which help professionals understand the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. 

“Courses like these helped improve my entrepreneurial mindset and gave me the confidence to plough through no matter what,” he says.

You’ll learn to face new challenges

Halfway through his EMBA, Max began to realize that his initial career aspirations had changed.

“I realized it wasn’t just about accessing higher management positions, I started to think about starting a business. Although I had done part-time projects, I was missing the push to do it full-time and risk it all,” he says.

This risk-taking attitude is intrinsic to becoming an entrepreneur.

The John Molson Executive MBA helps students become better risk-takers through offering case competitions, which is where students figure out solutions to a real problem that a local company is facing.

Meanwhile, in the Venture class students get the opportunity to start a business from scratch and pitch it to an experienced venture capital panel. This is where students can learn about investment strategies, improving existing products or services, and finding market gaps.

In one such venture class, Max co-founded a premium dog food business named ‘Topz’, which he and his John Molson business partner still run today. 

Interested in Max’s managerial approach and banking expertise, he was invited to collaborate with his Executive MBA peers who were working on the initial plans for ‘Truxweb’—a digital platform that helps companies source their trucking needs and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sourcing empty trucks that are returning from initial deliveries. 

Max is both co-founder and chief growth officer for the EMBA-born startup.

“Thanks to the EMBA, I felt ready to pursue multiple ventures,” he said.

Learn from peers across different industries

No matter what your business experience, there’s always more to learn from your peers who have worked in different industries.

In the John Molson Executive MBA, professionals come from sectors such as consulting, sales, marketing, technology, and entrepreneurship.

“My [Truxweb] colleagues brought experience in technology, transportation, shipping, logistics, while I was able to help structure a logical approach to strategy setting and documenting the process,” says Max.

As an independent entrepreneur, building a network can take time and resources. Executive MBA programs enable you to access a network of experienced professionals from the very first day of the program, believes Max.

Tap into a knowledgeable business network 

It’s not just about learning from fellow Executive MBA students—there’s a lot to gain from connecting with professors.

Max often consulted his finance professor to receive expert advice when launching his startups. 

He’s even used his business school connections to access introductions to venture capitalists, banks, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Montreal.

“Across the EMBA, my critical thinking has been challenged and I’ve learned how to better communicate with high-level people, which has made the possibilities of success in entrepreneurship increase dramatically,” he says. 

Student Reviews

Concordia University: John Molson School of Business




On Campus

Educational advancement

My time at Concordia College has been set apart by huge self-awareness. The steady instructors and staff have assisted me with fostering my abilities and information. The college offers a scope of administrations and extracurricular exercises, giving various open doors to understudies to reach out. In general, my involvement with Concordia has been positive and improving.




On Campus

My growth

"My time at Concordia University has been marked by significant personal growth. The supportive teachers and staff have helped me to develop my skills and knowledge. The university offers a range of services and extracurricular activities, providing numerous opportunities for students to get involved. Overall, my experience at Concordia has been positive and enriching.




On Campus

Communications and Culture Studies

I am currently enrolled in my first year in the Communication and Culture studies program. I have met so many incredible people and have already acquired skills that I will serve me in my professional career. The courses are dynamic, engaging and intellectually stimulating. I am happy to be a student at this university and look forward to the next 2 years here!




On Campus

Significant advancements

Having attended Concordia University, I can confidently state that I have seen significant advancements in my skills. The faculty and staff demonstrate great thoughtfulness and provide effective support. Additionally, the university offers an abundance of student clubs and services.




On Campus

Master of Quality Systems Engineering

I completed my Master's in Quality Systems Engineering at Concordia University, where I gained a comprehensive understanding of quality management principles and methodologies. The program provided a mix of theoretical knowledge and practical applications, including coursework in statistical process control, Six Sigma, and Lean principles. I engaged in hands-on projects addressing real-world quality challenges, collaborated with experienced faculty, and conducted independent research. This experience has equipped me with the skills and expertise needed to contribute effectively to organizations seeking to enhance their quality control processes and achieve operational excellence.

Amber Lee



On Campus


The Communication program at Concordia University will prepare you for the future. The program is divided in two blocks: one more theoretical, from which you learn the concept of communications through the perspective of philosophy, history and social studies; another completely hands-on in which you learn how to produce media choosing from three streams; sound, moving images, intermedia. What I love about the communication program at Concordia is that the teachers are clever, up to date, and exited about putting the future in the hands of students. Not only there is so much to learn in the communication program, but there are also so many opportunities!




On Campus

Concordia is best

Concordia university is one of the top listed universities not just in Canada but worldwide. The most amazing thing about this university is it is a standalone English speaking university in Montreal that allows non francophone students to enrol and study efficiently. My program is beautifully designed with access to high quality classrooms and faculty members that are available every time to attend your queries. The huge campus of the University including the library allows students to indulge in group work and research programs. The administration staff is super supportive and polite in their conversations. I have had the most amazing experience studying at Concordia so far.




On Campus

Entrepreneurship and Marketing

I had the privilege of being a part of Ryerson University's Entrepreneurship and Marketing program, and it was an outstanding experience. The program's curriculum was well-designed, providing a perfect balance of theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical application. The faculty members were highly knowledgeable and supportive, creating an engaging learning environment. The program's emphasis on industry connections and experiential learning opened doors to valuable internships and co-op opportunities. The resources and facilities dedicated to the program were top-notch, allowing me to explore my passion and excel in my studies. I am grateful for the real-world skills and industry connections I gained through the program. Ryerson University's Entrepreneurship and Marketing truly prepared me for a successful career in the business world. I highly recommend this program to anyone looking for a transformative educational experience.





Integrated Student Life

Concordia University has done a fantastic job at providing on-campus activities and workshops for students to feel connected and less lonely in stressful times. My program, Human Relations highlights this perfectly as a human relations student to be able to see the effects these workshops have on our beings and our mental and physical health as well. The student Life at Concordia has allowed our school to feel more like a community than a school.




On Campus

Study review

As a graduate student in the doctoral program in chemical engineering at Concordia University, I would rate the program as highly commendable. Although, the academic experience has been rigorous, challenging, and intellectually stimulating, providing a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of chemical engineering principles. However, my ongoing program has been equally rewarding and has equipped me with the skills and knowledge needed for a successful career in academia and industry.




On Campus


In general, I love my university. It's a true representation of diversity, with students from all around the world. The system is incredibly organized, with everything functioning seamlessly, from the structure to the services.




On Campus

Great range of classes - Political Science program

- I would definitely recommend this university. Concordia offers a great range of various classes for Political Science program. Offered courses are interesting and well-taught. - My campus is located in downtown, and I have no problem to drive there and park, as university offers two big parkings for students - Teachers are nice and comprehensive. If students obtain a bad grade, there is always a possibility to discuss and do something with that - University has an amazing student life. There are various help-centers and crews who are always willing to help students