Now more than ever, people are thriving to set up their businesses, even though it requires a significant amount of financial risk and time investment, with no guarantee of positive results and great profits. Some chose to pursue an MBA while already having started their own company, and others dive into the MBA to learn how to become a successful entrepreneur. But is being your own boss enough?
With the rise of human rights, protection of the planet and various additional social movements, the emphasis on being responsible is of crucial significance. Some examples of being responsible include generating as little waste as possible in your activities, recycling, not discriminating between genders, sexual orientations, nationalities and such… Therefore, one should not solely be an entrepreneur, but a responsible one too. Fortunately, with the MBA in International Management at ESCP Business School, candidates have plenty of courses, workshops and activities that target this goal of becoming a responsible entrepreneur.
The most direct way to reach the objective of becoming a responsible entrepreneur is the Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation Bootcamp. During this two-week bootcamp, students are provided with the right tools, skills and mindset to turn into effective entrepreneurial leaders.
In small teams, they start by developing a pitch. This is achieved through self-awareness, effective team building and a purpose board. Then, each team comes up with an exciting proposal using both personal and group motivation, 4P framework and problem-solving. The next step would be to turn this idea into a validated business model. Thus, teams have to run business experiments, manage conflicts and perform error management while always communicating efficiently. Finally, a live pitch based on persuasion principles is presented in front of the whole class. This is when participants practice stress management and how to deliver straight-to-the-point messages.
“This bootcamp is a practical, real-life exercise that has a lot of personal and group benefits” affirmed a classmate. Some other affirmations from the cohort included: “I learned how to build a solid business idea”, “I practised once again how to have a good pitch for my ideas” or “I made progress on my teamwork skills”.
Learning to Become Responsible
Concerning being responsible, the newly added course “CSR and Sustainability” is most certainly a very useful one. Indeed, in this class, MBAs learn what Corporate Social Responsibility really means and what sustainability covers. From being responsible towards each other as humans or towards the planet, to being responsible in the supply chain, in the Food & Beverage or Luxury industries, in the management of Human Resources… There is plenty of room for discussions, interactions and case studies on these crucial topics.
More than that, MBAs are assigned in groups a particular company for which they have to research and present subjects related to sustainability such as the CSR policy of the firm, its top strengths and weaknesses or its stakeholders’ engagement. Finally, students are asked to write an essay that mentions their key takeaways from this class. I believe this is a good way to reflect and retain all the valuable information acquired. Many agree with me as some told me how helpful it was to put on paper the numerous notions they took away from this extensive class.
Strategic Leader as Change Driver
An entrepreneur is also a leader. As a leader, it is crucial to be strategic, effective and fair. In short, one should be a good leader. But what does that actually mean? The MBA in IM at ESCP Business School provides a class called “Strategic Leadership: Leading Teams and Organizations” that deals, in addition to classwork and discussions, with the fundamentals of leadership: change, diversity perspectives and more.
Students are required to write reflective essays on what it means for them to be leaders. Thus, this entire course calls for introspection, self-examination and reflection. Participants ponder which leadership statements most resonate with them, and why. They also consider the values and principles that motivate them as leaders, as well as approaches they consider effective in building employee engagement. “It has been hard at times to write assignments about these topics, especially in the middle of an extremely packed schedule” confessed one teammate. “However, these were honestly very beneficial exercises. They pushed us to turn to ourselves and redefine who we want to be as leaders.”
Developing a Business Mindset
A responsible entrepreneur should negotiate effectively, have a strategy for his/her company, know if this business is making profits or losses as well as how to improve his/her return on investment. To tackle these essential aspects of an organisation, ESCP MBA counts a negotiation dynamics workshop, several finance courses, an international business strategy class and also a management skills for international business course as part of its curriculum. The fundamentals are covered for students to be better equipped to deal with these matters whenever they come up in their future career path.
“We do not go in-depth in every class,” said a member of the cohort. “After all, there is only so much time and we all come from different backgrounds. Nevertheless, we now know what is necessary and can take it from there or choose to deepen a specific topic of interest”. Another classmate said: “I at least know where to start looking now. At first, I didn’t have a clue where to begin but today I surely know way more than I did when this MBA started.”
As this MBA is coming to an end, some classmates are working on their new business venture. Others, who already had their companies, are working on developing and improving them. And for us who aren’t entrepreneurs yet, we do possess the knowledge to become ones if we aspire to. No matter what happens with all of us, I know this journey at ESCP gave us the potential to turn into responsible entrepreneurs.
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