When Caroline Lamaud decided to pursue a Master in European Business (now the MBA in International Management) at ESCP Europe in 2011, she had no intention of starting her own business.
She switched from an undergrad degree at a finance-focused university to a graduate degree at ESCP Europe to try something different. A year later, she co-founded her own disruptive financial technology – fintech – startup, Anaxago.
Anaxago is a crowdfunding platform which connects early-stage startups with private investors. Since its launch in 2012, Anaxago has attracted over 60,000 members and raised more than €70 million funding 100 young businesses across France. Caroline wants to double that amount by this time next year.
“Before ESCP Europe, I had technical expertise in finance but I lacked business knowledge. I wasn’t a good seller. I had no experience whatsoever in the corporate world,” Caroline explains.
“At ESCP Europe, I actually learned about entrepreneurship – something that wasn’t even mentioned in my previous studies,” she continues.
“I remember when we decided to launch the company; our friends from our old university all looked at us like we were crazy! “ESCP Europe really triggered something in me. It made me believe that it was possible to launch a company at a very young age, and be successful.”
On ESCP Europe’s MBA in International Management students study in two different countries of their choice on one of the school’s six European campuses – in Paris, London, Madrid, Berlin, Warsaw and Turin – and in Asia; in Delhi in India and Beijing in China. Caroline spent six months of her studies in London – one of the fintech centers of the world – and the other semester on the Paris campus.
ESCP Europe’s one-year, two-country MBA is designed to open new career opportunities for its students. 24 electives are offered and two consultancy company projects are included within the MBA curriculum.
ESCP Europe students receive around 30,000 jobs through the Alumni Association and 20,000 internships offers from the school’s careerr services each year. 10% of ESCP Europe MEB/MBAs create or join a startup after graduation.
“The school was a huge help from the beginning. Anytime that we needed a connection, ESCP Europe offered it,” says Caroline.
She doesn’t think she’d have taken the leap into entrepreneurship without ESCP Europe: “If I had stayed on and finished my studies in finance at the same university, I would never have had that kick that told me, ‘you can do it,’ ‘you actually can do it,’” she says.
Victor Wacrenier, a successful educational technology – edtech – entrepreneur who graduated from ESCP Europe in 2013, agrees. Victor worked for big-name firms like Accenture and PayPal before deciding to pursue a master’s at the school.
“I didn’t feel ready to launch my own project before attending business school,” he says. “ESCP Europe is a well-known institution for corporates within France and Europe, and the quality of its teaching made me shortlist the program early-on.
“What truly convinced me was the school's network,” he continues. “I was looking to study with a wide variety of people of different nationalities, and leverage a well-established network of alumni to progress my career.”
The world’s first business school, ESCP Europe boasts a massive network of 50,000 alumni across 150 countries worldwide. 35-to-40 different nationalities are represented in the ESCP Europe MBA class.
After graduating, Victor relocated to work for a fast-growing fintech startup in Berlin before returning to France to launch his own edtech firm.
He’s now co-founder and CEO of AppScho, a Google-sponsored mobile campus technology company listed by Forbes as one of the hottest edtech startups in Europe.
AppScho helps schools and universities create the best mobile campus experience possible for their students. For students, AppScho is like a one-stop shop for student services, latest university news, and academic content. Over 40,000 students use the AppScho app in Western Europe.
Victor wants to reach 100,000 within the next few months. For Victor, ESCP Europe served as the launch-pad for his entrepreneurial ambitions.
“I could not be more satisfied with my experience at ESCP Europe,” Victor explains. “It brought me the skills I was looking for to give me the desired boost in my career.
“It's something more than just learning; it's a life experience!” he continues. “I used ESCP Europe's network to find my first associate and employees, and launch my startup.
“Last but not least, ESCP Europe, convinced by my project, was my first client! For sure, this helped me to expand my company!”