Entrepreneurial ambition is an increasingly common trait among MBA students. According to QS, the desire to start a business in the next 10 years is the most common goal among business school applicants.
At EDHEC Business School—ranked among the top 100 MBA programs in the world by the Financial Times—a dedicated entrepreneurship learning pathway is not only attracting aspiring entrepreneurs, but creating them.
MBA students at EDHEC choose from four specialized tracks over the 10-month program—International Finance, Global Leadership, Digital Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneurship Track offers students the chance to develop their ideas through the school’s incubator program at Station F in Paris, the world’s biggest startup campus.
Students visit Silicon Valley, where they’re introduced to the startup landscape in the heart of tech innovation in San Francisco, learning about everything from legal counsel to venture capital, and meeting with executives from companies like Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn.
Vivek George Thomas, a current EDHEC MBA student from India, initially enrolled in the Global Leadership Track but switched onto the Entrepreneurship Track after arriving at the school.
“I met a lot of people who were entrepreneurs on the program,” he explains,” and interacting with them and getting insights into how they ran their businesses inspired me.”
Vivek, a former mechanical engineer, was attracted to the school because of its entrepreneurial spirit, value for money, and diversity—40% of EDHEC MBAs are women, with around 30 nationalities represented in the MBA class.
He’s already looking beyond graduation and considering teaming up with a group of MBA classmates who’ve been discussing starting their own business. “I would never have fathomed that I’d [want to] start a business of my own—it was only a long-term goal—so that is an interesting thing that EDHEC has given me,” he says.
The same is true for a graduate from last year’s MBA cohort, Christina Legodi. Originally from South Africa, Christina joined the Entrepreneurship Track at EDHEC Business School hoping to broaden her horizons after a career in accounting.
“I used to be in management meetings and I sometimes felt out of my depth in the strategy discussions,” she says. “I was always scared [of the idea of entrepreneurship] but I think with the knowledge I’ve gained at EDHEC, and speaking to everybody here, you begin to see more opportunities.”
Christina first became interested in entrepreneurship when her employer, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), began incubating a number of small biotech companies.
“I saw that most of them needed more business support,” she says, “and I thought an MBA would give me the knowledge I needed to be able to help with that.”
Has the EDHEC MBA delivered? Christina believes it has.
“It opened my eyes to a great deal of the innovation that’s out there—how to look at the needs of different countries, for example,” she explains. “We had so many different nationalities on our course, and each person who was there gave their perspective of the needs in their country and how they could address it with a business.
“What I learned is to see where the gaps are in business and different industries right now,” she continues. “I developed a new way of thinking—to be aware of opportunities to incorporate new business models into existing campaigns.”
Vivek agrees: “I would say that EDHEC Business School has helped me unleash a lot of my potential,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grown a lot, and I’ve honed strengths I never knew I had.”