Eli Harb left finance for an MBA at Spain’s IE Business School, determined to start his own business.
He chose the right school. IE’s one-year International MBA program—ranked third in the world outside the US by Forbes—has entrepreneurship and innovation at its core. Over 15% of IE Business School students launch their own companies.
Through his MBA experience at IE—the school’s Venture Lab supports students on every step of the startup process—Eli developed his startup idea, connected with mentors, and made the right contacts to get his business off the ground.
Now, he’s helping other business school students do the same. Eli, together with fellow IE MBA Alex Manzella, runs Eqosis, an online platform which helps business schools create, build, and manage their entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Founded during his MBA in 2016, the online networking tool supports budding entrepreneurs at business school; connecting them with successful alumni, mentors, and venture capital (VC) investors. Already, Eli has IE Business School, Google Campus Madrid, and Spanish startup accelerator SeedRocket signed up.
BusinessBecause caught up with Eli to find out more.
How did the idea to start Eqosis come about?
In our experience as entrepreneurs, my partner and I found that most students lacked the knowledge, the proper network and financing to start a successful endeavor. We co-founded EQOSIS to connect all entrepreneurial elements in one platform.
Business schools and institutions can make sure their students and alumni stay engaged and participate actively in the ecosystem. They can track startup applications, startup progress, activities happening within the ecosystem, they get to know their users better, reengage with their alumni and keep the whole community alive.
What do you hope to achieve?
We already have several top-ranked international business schools and institutions using our platform successfully to manage their entrepreneurial ecosystems. And we hope to connect every business school entrepreneurial network to create a force driving the global economy.
What advice do you have for MBAs looking to start their own business?
Creating your business is one of the most fulfilling and difficult challenges you will ever face. When starting your business, always identify the need and figure out the best solution for it. Not the solution you want to create, but the solution that will create value for your customers.
Always test your ideas before implementing them. Clients, clients, and clients are the most important aspect you need to focus on. Test your solution with real clients, collect their feedback and iterate your process to refine your solution. You know if your business idea is worth it when you have a client paying for your solution.
Most importantly, be prepared to accept failure and learn from your mistakes. Launching your own business involves experimenting, testing, and repeating over and over until you get it right. Sometimes, the best way to learn is by trial and error, especially when you are creating a startup. Perseverance and determination are key.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at IE Business School?
What interested me the most was the school’s focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, and diversity. For me, the most important element was launching my startup. I chose IE over the rest when I found that startups and entrepreneurship are at the center of the school.
The IE MBA program includes a hands-on lab that allows students to get immersed in the startup experience and that’s something I didn’t see in other business schools at that time. Most MBA programs had a more academic approach with some focusing on finance and others focusing on management consultancy. IE Business School was the only one focusing on factors that mattered to me.
Why should entrepreneurs do an MBA?
Doing an MBA offers you the business and strategy tools to be able to develop and build any entrepreneurial project. And being immersed in an innovative environment, where you are encouraged to always use your creativity to solve problems and make decisions, helps you to develop the mindset of an entrepreneur.
You also learn a lot from others. Listening to them, watching them, sharing thoughts and experiences, creates a synergy that is powerful and this fosters creativity; another crucial element to succeed as an entrepreneur.
You can create opportunities simply by meeting new people and exploring new perspectives. Stakeholders at IE Business School saw the value in using Eqosis platform, more specifically Gonzalo Garland, who helped us in navigating the intricacies of such a big institution. This led the International MBA team to become our first client, thanks to Sugata Jain and Erick Schlie, and they have been our clients ever since.