Entrepreneurship is a popular post-business school career goal and a sought-after part of the MBA curriculum. In 2023, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Prospective Students Survey found that almost half of business school applicants felt entrepreneurship and innovation was a curricula essential.
For Haobo Jiang, his International MBA from emlyon business school not only fueled his passion for entrepreneurship but also served as the launching pad for his own successful business venture.
We caught up with Haobo to find out how his International MBA helped him get there.
Discovering MBA entrepreneurship
After 13 years working across various sectors including IT engineering, finance, and supply chain management at appliance company Groupe SEB, Haobo (pictured) decided it was time for a change.
“I had a general vision of the business world, but I lacked an understanding of core business elements,” he explains. “I realized it would be a good thing to have an MBA to complete that piece of the puzzle.”
With emlyon, a top-rated business school in Lyon, France, located across the street from his place of work, Haobo got the perfect opportunity to find that missing piece of his puzzle.
Despite having no prior plans to launch a startup, as soon as Haobo joined emlyon he quickly became interested in MBA entrepreneurship. The small class sizes gave him the ability to connect with his cohort and access personal support that developed his interest in the area.
“Our team took the [entrepreneurship] course quite seriously, and we had a great teacher who inspired a lot of ideas. That was the start of everything.”
Gaining experience in MBA entrepreneurship
The emlyon International MBA prioritizes innovative thinking and places a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship.
One of the MBA classes Haobo took, named Fundamentals of New Ventures, is a dynamic and involved course, which works with students to develop their ideas from the conception of a problem to pitching a fully-fledged idea.
A freelance professor, Benjamin-Samuel Ewenczyk (pictured), teaches this class and brings his own experience as a successful entrepreneurship. Ben founded 4 Hour Startup, which creates, teaches, and helps implement resources about lean startup methodology and lean prototyping.
He also launched a vintage clothes brand with a past student, so he had many business lessons to impart to budding emlyon MBA entrepreneurs.
His class teaches students how to establish small, achievable ideas, then workshop the concepts and, finally, pitch a complete idea.
“The class is a small accelerator. The idea is to teach the students about the fundamentals and push them to work on what's important at that stage,” Ben says.
He adds that the key is for students to discover the most important part of a business idea.
“At the end of the day, what you want is to do something that’s useful, and that’s solving a problem for your users.”
Throughout Haobo’s time at emlyon, especially on his entrepreneurship course, collaboration with his fellow students helped him develop his entrepreneurial mindset and skills.
“At first, we didn't realize we were making mistakes. And then when we shared the results, not only with the teacher, but also with other groups, you realize that there are better ways of doing things,” he says.
Launching a business after an MBA
At the end of the semester, many of Ben’s students have strong ideas that morph into viable solutions.
Haobo’s initial business idea came about from thinking about ways to teach Chinese in French schools. He went through various versions and mistakes before the idea became a solid foundation for a startup.
“That project evolved and matured a lot. Its origin was a very different version.”
Haobo describes the thorough process he went through to find the right version of his idea.
“I submitted the proposal to my colleagues, to explore how things are going in the French education system. Then step by step, we met people who are working in the field, such as educational officials, parents, and students.
“Somehow we got to a conclusion about how we can contribute to make things better,” he explains.
This conclusion formed the basis of his business, Rivière Yuan EdTech. Haobo realized that teachers had too many balls to juggle, including class preparation, dedicated time with students, and reporting to superiors and parents.
He proposed an end-to-end process that invested in generative AI, helping students prepare more efficiently, more readily interact with the students during class, and transform preparation into exercises.
Haobo still feels supported by the emlyon International MBA through the network he cultivated there and the support he received.
“You get very experienced professionals—not only professors but entrepreneurs themselves—who spend some time with you, who can listen and help you succeed as an MBA entrepreneur,” he concludes.
emlyon business school
Intense courses, helpful professors
I am an international student in my 3rd year and I love going to this school and do not regret chosing it for my BBA. The classes are helpful, professors are always there to help as well and we have a very understanding administration.
Leadership in an amazing city
I decided to do my exchange in Emlyon because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and I found a space with very capable People.. participatory, empathetic and full of leadership. I will never forget Lyon, apart from giving me an unforgettable experience, he gave me great friends
A lot of opportunities professionally and socially. A unique program in France.
You can choose your courses and do your internship, exchange whenever you want. It's flexible and adapted to the needs of each student. A great program and a great city! Professionally, it opens a lot of doors for you to find internships or jobs in France or abroad thanks to the network and career events.
MSc in Digital Marketing
Combining both worlds into one, this course gave me all the on-demand technical skills in data science while maintaining a business-oriented approach. Thanks to the strong academic profile of this university I was able to secure an internship and full-time job at Amazon.
Top Business School fostering innovative entrepreneurs
EMLyon is one of the best business schools. The campuses, associations and courses offered provide the students with the best options to build the future they have chosen. The various opportunities to study and work abroad also offer a deeper understanding of the world, not only economy-wise but social, which helps the student become as well a better individual and not only a pre-formated business school student.
Emlyon campus in Paris
It has a great international community and you have access to many international tools, courses and professors. I had many networking events and workshops for students. Campus and some details of the program could have been improved or need to be bigger in order to have a better student life.
Overall good content and good activities. Lack of administration but still ok. Good flexibility and liberty offered to the students. Finally, the amount of internship is also a good way to improve qualifications.
Good Reputation and International Business School
The course was not well adapted but it was up to the mark. The professors are very well experienced and their experience comes in handy while working on assignments. The facilities on the campus are top class. Truly professional. I really like spending time in the learning hub and using all the available resources. Lyon is an amazing city. You will never get bored.