Before Bella Handojo became a business student, she was a food sciences undergrad, when she spent years researching and writing reports on the manufacturing of food stuffs at university. Now she is an entrepreneur, cooking up a venture that she hopes will shake-up the food and beverage industry in Indonesia.
“I come from a country where education and work motivation is considerably low. I want to be able to create opportunities,” she says.
Bella has completed business education in a whirl. A masters in entrepreneurship took her across three different countries – France, China and the US – at three leading institutions – including EMLYON Business School.
“Moving from one country to another within one year has helped me to adapt faster to situations,” she says.
There are many transferable skills, from tech to business. “Entrepreneurship is not just accounting or finance; it is about being outrageously creative in any field – engineering, IT, science or arts,” Bella says.
She is one of a growing number of former techies that have turned to business education.
A survey last year of more than 5,000 business school applicants found 5% more technology employees and 0.3% more engineers were opting for business education than the previous year.
Bella and her fellow alum Abhinandan De are the new faces of the evolving business school scene. Abhinandan is a manager at IIAS Group, a company with interests in the education, hospitality, tourism and manufacturing sectors.
He moved into management after a career as an industrial engineer, including at a steel plant in west Bengal, India.
“I [have] always wanted to be an entrepreneur and to build a business,” he says. “Engineering is hard work; it prepares one to not only be analytical, but to go through the grind of college.”
A masters in entrepreneurship has helped him switch careers. Now, he is developing a business plan for a mobile applications business.
Abhinandan says the program made a difference: “Not only has it made me more aware about how the start-up world works, but it has also provided me with the key skills [and] insights [needed] to think like an investor.”
The Global Entrepreneurship Program he studied is a double-degree between EMLYON Business School and Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, run jointly by EMLYON in Europe, Zhejiang University’s School of Management in Asia and Purdue University’s Krannert School in the US.
By working in three global markets, students benefit from cultural experiences far beyond pure academic studies. Also, on each continent the entrepreneurs work on semester-long consulting projects for local companies with students from other countries.
For those with more than three years’ work experience, experienced STEM – science, tech, engineering and math – graduates are also studying at business schools to follow a start-up path. Magesh Rengaswamy, who is enrolled in the full-time International MBA at EMLYON in France, spent five years engineering in the energy sector in India.
“I realized the importance of undergoing a formal business school education to strengthen my entrepreneurial skill-sets,” he says.
He thinks the transition has been enriching so far. “The small MBA cohort size, with diverse backgrounds, is a key advantage,” says Magesh.
He has ambitions to eventually launch his own energy company. “I consider an MBA to be right decision – to gain knowledge and develop networks – in order to fast-track my professional career,” he says.