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Why Are More Women Entrepreneurs Studying Business In Denmark?

MBA and Executive MBA programs offered by Copenhagen Business School are helping women entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs, take advantage of Denmark’s thriving startup scene

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Fri Apr 8 2022

BusinessBecause
Denmark is ranked sixth in Bloomberg’s Innovation Index and entrepreneurship is booming. 

Consumer reviews site Trustpilot and software-as-a-service firm Zendesk are just two of Denmark’s many startup success stories, reaching $1 billion valuations.

To further boost innovation, the Danish Business Authority has identified 14 Clusters of Excellence within Denmark. These are business and technology hubs where new business is thriving.

Mercedes Delgado, associate professor in the Department of Strategy and Innovation at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), studies these clusters and helps MBA and Executive MBA students leverage them through the school’s Entrepreneurship Concentration.

Why are more women entrepreneurs studying business in Denmark? Business schools like CBS, Mercedes says, are helping women in particular to survive and thrive in uncertain environments, and putting them on the path to entrepreneurial success.


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Supporting women entrepreneurs in Denmark

The Entrepreneurship Concentration at CBS includes a module dedicated to helping MBA and EMBA students tap into the Clusters of Excellence, by helping them  identify supportive institutions, visit exemplary firms, and meet role models in the entrepreneurial space.

Denmark’s Clusters of Excellence are centers of innovation where businesses and researchers are doing world-class work, Mercedes explains. Strong industry clusters in Denmark include life sciences, fintech, maritime and logistics, IT, and cleantech.

“The Concentration teaches students that if you are a startup, you’re like a baby—you have huge potential, but you need many resources around you to scale up and have a big impact,” Mercedes says.

Men and women alike benefit from this access to innovative firms, but Mercedes notes that when designing the program, CBS faculty make sure that women can benefit as strongly as their male classmates.

“In the MBA Entrepreneurship Concentration, we work with innovation-driven startups in the Copenhagen innovation ecosystem as part of the entrepreneurship lab (E-lab).

“The MBAs and EMBAs scope and implement a project for our startup cohort. A total of 50% of these startups in E-lab are led by women founders.”

These founders include Lise Pape, founder and managing director of MedTech company Walk with Path; Katja Gry Carlsen, co-founder of collaboration platform ThirdRoom, and Andreea Spaima, co-founder of green logistics firm EvolvT.

By providing students with a gender-balanced set of role models, Mercedes hopes to address gender imbalances in top managerial roles as new companies grow, particularly in areas ripe for innovation, like green and digital transformation.


Women entrepreneurs and flexible MBA formats

The key thing that Mercedes wants students to take away from the Entrepreneurship Concentration at CBS, particularly in the context of pandemics and geopolitical upheaval, is the ability to thrive in a changing business landscape.

“CBS’s programs foster the ability to accelerate innovation in a setting of uncertainty, and make decisions with limited information,” she says.

One CBS Executive MBA student who has managed to do this is Libby Barhoumeh (pictured below).

Libby had always wanted to do an MBA, but didn’t have time alongside her busy role in international sales at an electronics manufacturer. Just as her role brought her over from Australia to Denmark, the pandemic hit, and she decided to use the extra time in lockdown to pursue her degree. 

This was made easier by the CBS EMBA program’s Certificate Path. Libby did not have to commit to a multi-year degree upfront, but instead was able to take a few modules at a time.

“One of my favorite subjects was the Entrepreneurship Concentration. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur myself, but I’ve been stuck in terms of not having an idea, though I do have a lot of business and commercial experience," she says.


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Creating entrepreneurial opportunities for women in Denmark

By meeting so many entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneurship Concentration, Libby discovered that it was possible to combine her business experience with someone else’s great idea and help them accelerate their startup.

She’s now an entrepreneur in residence at her firm. Using lean startup methodologies, Libby develops projects to enhance end user experience, and is currently working on a health app and an AI device diagnostics tool.

In the future, she hopes to expand her entrepreneurial ventures even further, working with startups outside of her own institution and even developing her own.

“My ideal scenario is to have a foot in both camps: working a few days a week in a big corporation, then working with startups until I start my own venture,” she says.

As for Mercedes, she feels positive that more women in business success stories like Libby’s are on the horizon in Denmark.

“Here in the Nordics, but also in any country there are pushes towards green and digital transformation,” she says. “[Denmark] is a great ecosystem for that and so many firms going through transformation means more opportunities for business leaders.

“What we’re doing in the MBA and EMBA programs is giving students the skills to lead this change.”

Student Reviews

Copenhagen Business School (CBS)

Student

Verified

29/09/2019

CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.

Stella

Verified

24/04/2019

Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.

Student

Verified

13/04/2019

CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.

Stefani

Verified

12/04/2019

The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro

Verified

22/09/2019

A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.

Cathy

Verified

5/02/2019

Environment

The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.

Philip

Verified

15/04/2018

Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!

Student

Verified

27/09/2017

Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.

Student

Verified

22/09/2017

A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.

Student

Verified

29/09/2019

CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.

Stella

Verified

24/04/2019

Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.

Student

Verified

13/04/2019

CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.

Stefani

Verified

12/04/2019

The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro

Verified

22/09/2019

A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.

Cathy

Verified

5/02/2019

Environment

The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.

Philip

Verified

15/04/2018

Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!

Student

Verified

27/09/2017

Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.

Student

Verified

22/09/2017

A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.