Francisco Portilla Vazquez is a production engineer for a glass manufacturing company Schott in Germany, with no immediate plans to launch his own business venture. So why did he decide to pursue an entrepreneurship specialization during his Executive MBA?
On the EMBA program at Maastricht School of Management (MSM) in the Netherlands, Francisco (pictured) was taken through every step of building a new startup, from coming up with an idea to building a business plan.
Businesspeople who don't consider themselves entrepreneurs can still make use of the specialization, he says. On it, you learn how to be an intrapreneur, someone who thinks and acts like an entrepreneur but drives innovation within a company.
An intrapreneur is someone who can take the initiative, consider the bigger picture of what makes a company successful and, maybe one day, move on from their full-time job and create something of their own.
An MBA in Entrepreneurship
The entrepreneurship specialization at MSM is open to students across its MBA and EMBA programs. Participants take courses including: Understanding Market Dynamics; Developing Distinctive Value Propositions; Developing Viable Business Models; and Designing & Scaling your Business.
Through interactive workshops, where students work alongside experienced startup founders and consultants, you can learn about the issues entrepreneurs face in diverse markets, how to recognize new business opportunities, and how to create strategies to take advantage of them.
There’s also a social flavor to the course, with students trained in how to develop businesses which are profitable but also have social benefits.
Students from a range of different professional and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to take the course. The successful launch of any entrepreneurial venture relies on a thorough understanding of the market you want to enter. This is also the case for any businessperson looking to better orient themselves in their current career.
Francisco’s employer, Schott, is looking to become more competitive globally. For Francisco, being taught about international market dynamics on the EMBA has been helpful when looking to insert himself into key expansion drives within his company.
Being an effective intrapreneur is also about developing your social skills and open-mindedness around different ideas, cultures, and ethics. During the entrepreneurship specialization, Francisco worked with colleagues from different countries and backgrounds.
Diversity is good for business. According to McKinsey, companies with greater gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have higher financial returns. And diversity sparks innovation too.
In what MSM calls a ‘creativity lab’, rather than a traditional classroom setting, Francisco’s team were tasked with designing a product for a chosen market and analyzing how it could compete and become successful.
“The EMBA is making a big change in the way I think and behave in my everyday work,” Francisco says. “MSM is really international and diverse, and I’ve learned that people from different countries work in different ways.”
Benefits of entrepreneurship on your MBA
As a company man, Francisco found studying entrepreneurship challenging at first. But as the course progressed, he was able to see in which aspects of his career he could implement what he’s learned—like finding more forward-thinking ways to stand out in the workplace, he says.
Now, he says studying the entrepreneurship specialization is one of the best decisions he’s made. “The importance of entrepreneurship is becoming more meaningful as I progress in my job,” he explains.
Before the EMBA, Francisco says he wasn’t as proactive when problem-solving, but now he has the confidence to put himself forward. Thanks to his EMBA, Francisco feels more prepared to tackle the wider world of business, whatever direction his career takes.