Pietro Gagliano and Mathieu Beau have one thing in common: they love challenges. We have sat down with them to discuss how the MBA in International Management helped them achieve their dreams of entrepreneurship.

If you are looking to become an entrepreneur or push your entrepreneurial skills further as the next step in your career, ESCP’s MBA programme may be the right place to start this journey. If a majority of our alumni are recruited within 3 months after graduation, some of our students decide to embrace the entrepreneurial path. This was the case for Pietro Gagliano (Class of 2020) and Mathieu Beau (Class of 2019), who both took part in the entrepreneurial adventure, launching their own companies, or joining a promising startup. Read about their daring career choices to discover how attending the MBA in International Management programme may help you launch a thriving business or the next unicorn.

Mathieu wanted out of his comfort zone

The reasons one may want to embrace the entrepreneurial path are numerous. However, for Mathieu Beau, who created “Cagette et Paprika”, a company aiming at revolutionising the way people buy groceries, freedom was the main salespoint: “When you are an entrepreneur, there is no limit to your desire to be free: you can make your own choices, your own mistakes, and when you encounter some barriers, not only are you allowed, but you must find disruptive ways to clear your path.”

Before entering ESCP’s MBA programme, Mathieu worked in a different field “I was initially working as an IT consultant, then I became a Product Manager for a French media, and I realised I wanted to experience something different, something more dynamic and more difficult. I was afraid of staying in my comfort zone and getting bored with my job. So I decided to take the leap and apply for ESCP’s full-time MBA. I wanted this year to be a pivot in my career and studying in various European cities allowed me to understand that uncomfortable or challenging moments provoke creativity. Being abroad in a sometimes challenging position helps develop creativity, see opportunities and socialise. Good input for an entrepreneur.”

Always loving a challenge, Mathieu found a job at Amazon after graduating with the MBA. There, he was an Operations Manager and was given the opportunity to manage a team of 180 individuals. “With this new position, I faced social challenges I did not experience before. The company is so fast-paced, you’d better learn quickly! I enjoyed keeping myself in a challenging position like this.” Mathieu loved his job but felt like management did not nurture his love for disruption: “I was thinking about leaving Amazon when I met Rabah, my future partner at Cagette & Paprika. I was inspired by both the project and his personality, so I decided to leave Amazon — which was a difficult decision as I loved the job. This was the right moment: a new personal life situation (about to have a baby), good business signs for retail and groceries delivery, and this unexpected match! Regarding the field we chose, it was quite natural as I love logistics and providing great services (Amazon legacy), and with the lockdown and its effect on the delivery business, there was so much space for the project!”

“Being abroad in a sometimes challenging position helps develop creativity, see opportunities and socialise. Good input for an entrepreneur.”

Mathieu Beau, MBA Class of 2019

Cagette & Paprika started from Mathieu and his partner’s personal observations: for some people, going grocery shopping can be tiresome as they have to go from one shop to the next to gather the different products. Plus, this costs a lot in terms of commutes. The idea of Cagette & Paprika was born, and has developed into a complete business today: “We implemented a full supply chain from products sourcing to customer delivery, customers’ apps, data-warehouses, customer base, etc. All from scratch with our own technology and in a very frugal way. We are now seeking investors, this is the next big step for Cagette & Paprika!”

Pietro needed a new challenge

The story for Pietro Gagliano is somewhat different, but close to Mathieu’s since both entrepreneurs share the same eagerness to be challenged. Pietro Gagliano began his career as an Electrical Engineer in Naples, Italy. Pretty early on in his career, he heard the call to become his own boss and launched different B2B and B2C platforms in his country. This was until he realised, back in 2019, that he was in need of something different. This is when he decided to attend ESCP’s MBA in International Management: “The fact that the school had six different campuses in six European cities was decisive to me. I wanted to enjoy an international environment and the MBA at ESCP really helped me take the next step in my career. Before attending, I was an entrepreneur with a tech background, so I had to learn Sales and Marketing on the fly. I needed more solid skills in order to step up, and ESCP’s professors, coming from all over the world, allowed me to broaden my knowledge with different perspectives and skills. The two Company Consultancy Projects were also really helpful.”

Gaining skills throughout the programme, Pietro Gagliano was then able to apply for a position at Countercheck, a fast-growing startup aiming at revolutionising the way we combat counterfeit products. He is now Head of Marketing: “I joined Countercheck just a few months after it was established. We didn’t have a product and we were only seven people. I decided to join because it was the challenge I was looking for, and it was close enough to being an entrepreneur. Everything had to be done still!”

“The School’s six different campuses in six European cities was decisive to me.”

Pietro Gagliano, MBA Class of 2020

Pietro Gagliano does not regret his decision to take part in a very young start-up. Even if launching a company requires a lot of adaptability: “When you become an entrepreneur, you have to be able to wear so many different hats from day to day. You can be an accountant, or a marketing guy, or have to come up with sales strategies, but you also have to be familiar with all the technical sides. You will need concentration and focus. Moreover, since a start-up is a young company, you have to be able to create trust with your partners and customers. To do so, having transversal skills is a real asset. I’m glad the MBA provided me with these.” Just like Cagette & Paprika, Countercheck is now expanding and growing. “We are now actively recruiting and scaling up fast. This is the adventure I was looking for.”

If like Mathieu and Pietro, you are looking to expand your skills or thinking about carving your own path as an entrepreneur, ESCP’s MBA programme could be the right place to start. After all, who knows less about boredom than an entrepreneur? Your next big adventure could be just around the corner.