HEC Paris

Our Favorite Photos from MBAT 2015!

The MBA Only team had a wonderful time at the 25th anniversary of the MBA Tournament at HEC Paris' picturesque campus this year!  We were so happy to be able to participate and sponsor this great sporting and networking event.  It's been an honor to work with MBAT and to share a collective mission to connect MBAs worldwide!

Here are 40 of our favorite photos taken at MBAT.  See if you can spot yourself!

#1.    Men's football champs, London Busines School, in MBA Only shirts... ;)    (via   MBAOnly  )

#1.  Men's football champs, London Busines School, in MBA Only shirts... ;)

(via MBAOnly)

#2. HEC Paris vs. IEBusiness in the rugby finals.  (via  @HECMBAT )

#2. HEC Paris vs. IEBusiness in the rugby finals.

(via @HECMBAT)

#3.  Riding some waves at MBAT 2015.  #IEMBAT2015  (via  andreslc85 )

#3.  Riding some waves at MBAT 2015.  #IEMBAT2015

(via andreslc85)

#4.  Live from the basketball courts, gold for the HEC Paris team.  (via  @meaghankappel )

#4.  Live from the basketball courts, gold for the HEC Paris team.

(via @meaghankappel)

#5.  Schools bonding over golf!  (via  HECMBAT )

#5.  Schools bonding over golf!

(via HECMBAT)

#6.  RSM dodgeball team bringing it!  #OrangePower  (via  MBA Only )

#6.  RSM dodgeball team bringing it!  #OrangePower

(via MBA Only)

#7.  IE salsa competition team, ready to compete against  LBS, Oxford, ESADE, Cambridge, IESE, and Manchester Business School after months of practice!   (via  on_kwan99 )

#7.  IE salsa competition team, ready to compete against LBS, Oxford, ESADE, Cambridge, IESE, and Manchester Business School after months of practice!

(via on_kwan99)

#8.  Enjoying the sun and lovely view of the iconic LBS bus and tent.  (via  MBAOnly )

#8.  Enjoying the sun and lovely view of the iconic LBS bus and tent.

(via MBAOnly)

#9.  IESE rugby team after their first game of the tournament.  (via  raffygarcia )

#9.  IESE rugby team after their first game of the tournament.

(via raffygarcia)

#10.  Beach volleyball heating up with matches between @cranfieldmngmt vs. @IEbusiness and @CambridgeMBA vs. @theESADEmba.  (via  HECParisMBA )

#10.  Beach volleyball heating up with matches between @cranfieldmngmt vs. @IEbusiness and @CambridgeMBA vs. @theESADEmba.

(via HECParisMBA)

#11.  Yellow for the win! Cambridge badminton team: success at MBAT.  (via  @CambridgeMBA )

#11.  Yellow for the win! Cambridge badminton team: success at MBAT.

(via @CambridgeMBA)

#12.  Keeping it classy at MBAT! The infamous Mr. Zebra prepping for the Casino Royale party...  (via  HECMBAT )

#12.  Keeping it classy at MBAT! The infamous Mr. Zebra prepping for the Casino Royale party...

(via HECMBAT)

#13.  ESADE cricket team!  (via  t  heESADEmba )

#13.  ESADE cricket team!

(via theESADEmba)

#14.  Team members from Saïd Business School at Oxford University rocking out at the Battle of the Bands competition.  (via  @denisehearn )

#14.  Team members from Saïd Business School at Oxford University rocking out at the Battle of the Bands competition.

(via @denisehearn)

#15.  Mr. Zebra takes a sip break.  (via  HECMBAT )

#15.  Mr. Zebra takes a sip break.

(via HECMBAT)

#16.  Gold medal for the HEC Paris rugby team.  (via  @meaghankappel )

#16.  Gold medal for the HEC Paris rugby team.

(via @meaghankappel)

#17.  Billiards tournament in progress... plus Albert and Richard hanging at our booth!  (via  MBA Only )

#17.  Billiards tournament in progress... plus Albert and Richard hanging at our booth!

(via MBA Only)

#18. MBAT petanque.  Love these classy gents and ladies!  #CambridgeMBA  (via  MBAOnly )

#18. MBAT petanque.  Love these classy gents and ladies!  #CambridgeMBA

(via MBAOnly)

#19.  IESE team pic on the field!  (via  MBAOnly )

#19.  IESE team pic on the field!

(via MBAOnly)

#20.  TIAS MBA team at MBAT.  Where can we buy one of these awesome jackets?  (via  MBA Only )

#20.  TIAS MBA team at MBAT.  Where can we buy one of these awesome jackets?

(via MBA Only)

#21.  ESADE Business School rock-climbing team members.  (via  theESADEmba )

#21.  ESADE Business School rock-climbing team members.

(via theESADEmba)

#22.  MBAThletes need a break sometimes, too.  (via  MBA Only )

#22.  MBAThletes need a break sometimes, too.

(via MBA Only)

#23.  Cambridge swim team for the win!  (via  @YensonSky )

#23.  Cambridge swim team for the win!

(via @YensonSky)

#24.  IE tennis, before MBAT semifinals!  (via  yulzhu )

#24.  IE tennis, before MBAT semifinals!

(via yulzhu)

#25.  RSM and Cambridge teams at the foosball tournament.  #babyfoot  (via  MBA Only )

#25.  RSM and Cambridge teams at the foosball tournament.  #babyfoot

(via MBA Only)

#26.  Cambridge MBA team pic!  (via  charles_chou )

#26.  Cambridge MBA team pic!

(via charles_chou)

#27.  Sumo-wrestling, of course.  Not as easy as it looks...  (via  MBA Only )

#27.  Sumo-wrestling, of course.  Not as easy as it looks...

(via MBA Only)

#28.  Battle of the bands at MBAT!  (via  eduardovba )

#28.  Battle of the bands at MBAT!

(via eduardovba)

#29.  LBS team members get ready for the TexMex Fiesta -  uno, dos, tres... amigos!    (via  lbsmbat2015 )

#29.  LBS team members get ready for the TexMex Fiesta - uno, dos, tres... amigos!

(via lbsmbat2015)

#30.  Distributing medals and champ shirts to the men's winning football team, LBS.  (via  MBA Only )

#30.  Distributing medals and champ shirts to the men's winning football team, LBS.

(via MBA Only)

#31.  Mid-day refuel at MBAT!  (via  @TheStGallenMBA )

#31.  Mid-day refuel at MBAT!

(via @TheStGallenMBA)

#32.  St. Gallen MBA team demonstrates what the MBAT 2015 experience is like in their behind the scenes video.  (via  @TheStGallenMBA )

#32.  St. Gallen MBA team demonstrates what the MBAT 2015 experience is like in their behind the scenes video.

(via @TheStGallenMBA)

#33. Gold!  HEC Paris cross country team after an extremely muddy yet super fun run.  (via  hec_paris )   

#33. Gold!  HEC Paris cross country team after an extremely muddy yet super fun run.

(via hec_paris)

 

#34.  Rowing crew from London Business School.  (via  lbsmbat2015 )

#34.  Rowing crew from London Business School.

(via lbsmbat2015)

#35.  Not just a bracelet; a wallet, too.  Scanning technology in action!  (via  MBA Only )

#35.  Not just a bracelet; a wallet, too.  Scanning technology in action!

(via MBA Only)

#36.  HEC Paris men's basketball team takes the gold.  (via  hecparismba )

#36.  HEC Paris men's basketball team takes the gold.

(via hecparismba)

#37. ' Members of the XMen team have descended to MBAT land.'  #CambridgeMBA   (via  @charles_chou )

#37. 'Members of the XMen team have descended to MBAT land.'  #CambridgeMBA

(via @charles_chou)

#38.  IESE team + hats = awesome photo op!  (via  iesemba )

#38.  IESE team + hats = awesome photo op!

(via iesemba)

#39.  More dancing, via London Business School's salsa team.  (via  londonbschool )

#39.  More dancing, via London Business School's salsa team.

(via londonbschool)

#40.  Go team.  (via  londonbschool )

#40.  Go team.

(via londonbschool)

 

 

 

Sneak Peek: What Sports Are in Store for MBA teams at MBAT 2015?

With just under a week left until MBAT 2015 commences, we’re really excited for the opportunity to learn more about the different events at the annual MBA Tournament (aka MBA Olympics) held at HEC Paris from May 7-9). This year, event leaders honored the 25th anniversary of MBAT by organizing 25 various sports. MBAT’s VP of Sports, Jeremy Poilleaux, offers us an inside look at the various competitions this year as well as what it takes to organize such a large-scale sporting event.

Teams from 16 different schools worldwide will soon go head to head. New champions in each sport (and overall) will soon be crowned! Check out this year's list and more details on MBAT sports below.

25 Competitions honoring MBAT’s 25th anniversary:

Baby Foot/Foosball
Badminton
Men’s Basketball
Women’s Basketball
Battle of the Bands
Beach Volleyball
Billiards
Chess
Cricket
Cross Country
Dodgeball
Men’s Football
Women’s Football
Golf
Petanque
Poker
Rock Climbing
Rowing
Rugby
Salsa
Swimming
Table Tennis
Tennis
Touch Rugby
Ultimate Frisbee
Jeremy Poilleaux, HEC Paris '16 - VP Sports

Jeremy Poilleaux, HEC Paris '16 - VP Sports

Jeremy Poilleaux, MBAT Vice President of Sports and HEC Paris MBA '16, hails from Annecy in the Alps ('the best place to live in France') and graduated from Grenoble Ecole de Management where his studies focused on Finance (Grande Ecole Program) and Sciences Po, where he studied Political Science focusing on European Studies. After graduation, Jeremy worked in a French investment bank in Paris (Project Finance), then worked in London for 3 years in a Japanese investment bank (also in Project Finance).

Q:  Welcome Jeremy! Can you tell us about your role at MBAT and what you do?  What did you learn that will apply to your future career?

I am VP Sports with Mayank Shankar and our role is "just" to organize the 25 sport activities. Our goal is to make sure every sport will be perfectly organized during MBAT (3-day event). We work with official referees and equipment suppliers. We prepared rules for each sport. We built the schedule of sports. We booked off-campus sites for Golf, Rowing, Tennis or Swimming activities and therefore organized transportation for students. We also support all sport managers from HEC MBA, we help them to build a competitive team for MBAT to bring the trophy back to HEC. (Last year LBS finished 1st, Oxford 2nd and HEC 3rd). 

MBAT is a great place to network and to meet people from other top ranked schools.

Q:  How have you applied your business education and leadership skills?

My background is more Investment Banking/Project Finance, but I am very passionate about sports since an early age. I played football, rugby for many years. Coming from the Alps, I love obviously Skiing, Snowboarding and Mountain biking. Recently I discovered an amazing sport Trail Running (during MBAT an activity called Cross Country can be considered a small Trail). I look forward to this summer/holidays to run through the mountains again.

Q:  What should people know about MBAT tournament?

MBAT is the largest inter-MBA sports tournament in the world, with more than 1500 MBA students coming from top ranked MBA programs. MBAT is coordinated by more than 30 students working consistently towards this huge event and around 200 volunteers coming from HEC cohort (students, partners, friends, etc.) to make this event happen.

Q:  What are the main benefits of the cross-MBA, international sports tournament?

The benefits of this kind of cross-MBA sports tournament are mainly the opportunities to have fun together and to get to know each other during this 3-day event. MBAT is a great place to network and to meet people from other top ranked schools.

MBAT is also a tournament where HEC can show to other schools that we are good at sports (not saying the best to stay politically correct).

Q:  What were some of the challenges so far, and how did you overcome them?

Organizing the 25 sport activities is the biggest challenge. It is a 1500+ students event where all sport activities have to be perfectly organized (scheduling, referees, equipments, sites, etc.) Scheduling activities is by far the most difficult task we had to deal with (ie. scheduling an event when you don't know how many teams/participants there will be from each school for each sport is like flying blind ...). To overcome this, we work closely with our colleagues from the University Relations team to gather data as quickly as possible.

Thanks, Jeremy!  Stay tuned for more MBAT coverage, and be sure to download the new MBAT app to follow the tournament's schedule and rankings!

MBA Olympics: Spotlight on Europe's Epic MBAT Tournament!

Olympic Games for the MBA World

Currently in its 25th year, MBAT is the largest inter-graduate school sports tournament in the world, bringing together 1500 MBA students from sixteen international MBA programs for three days of sporting competitions and festivities on HEC Paris' picturesque campus.

President of MBAT 2015, Daniel Connell (HEC Paris '16), kindly shares background and insights with us on organizing this huge event and the invaluable leadership skills gained during the experience. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Daniel studied in Chile during high school and lived in the United States for most of his life. Prior to pursuing an MBA at one of the top business schools in Europe, he studied Biomedical Engineering and worked in sales and marketing in pharmaceuticals/biotech industries (with a brief stint exporting Chilean wine, as well).

Q:  Welcome, Daniel!  Can you tell us how MBAT began?

static1.squarespace.jpg

Back in 1991, Briac Pinault of HEC's MBA program was elected president of the student council and his platform was to create a sports tourney that united all the "top 8" European business schools. They successfully secured sponsors, though communication proved difficult. They faxed and made phone calls to each school in the top 8 and in the end LBS, Bocconi, IMD, IESE, RSM, Manchester & Cranfield attended (INSEAD was a late scratch, and HEC had an exchange student from Cranfield who was really cool and helped bring in his colleagues on short notice).

Q:  How many participants, schools and different sport competitions will there be this year?

mbat3.jpg

This year we will have the largest audience ever of 16 schools, with 3 new schools participating, and we have reached our max capacity of 1500 people (space limitation of our party/events hall). There is actually a waiting list that has formed among our partner schools pending cancellations from participants at schools already confirmed.

This being the 25th anniversary we have 25 sports lined up, plus a start-up competition to be judged by VCs who are ready to fund the best ideas. Sports range from basketball, soccer & rugby to rock climbing, battle of the bands and salsa dancing.

Q:  Does MBAT result in a closer knit contact circle of MBAs across Europe?

Being brand new to MBAT and having not yet lived it, I can't comment on how connected the students become afterward. Though MBAT is definitely a unifying force throughout European MBA programs. Whenever one mentions HEC Paris in European MBA circles, talk of MBAT is usually the first topic of conversation. There are various MBA competitions throughout the year (PE, FT.com, Finance, etc) and we hear that MBAT is always mentioned as a highlight of every program's academic calendar. Note that the first day of MBAT takes place on a Thursday every year, and our partner schools actually have MBAT penciled into their academic calendars as well.

This is a major leadership event for all schools, not just here at HEC. Imagine coordinating travel and communications for 200+ students, including medical forms, payment, transportation, you name it. Each school has a dedicated representative to handle all internal & external MBAT-related communications throughout the year.

The competition is intense, the thrill of victory is incredible, and the parties each night are beyond expectations.

Q:  Does the naturally competitive nature of the MBA candidate arise during these sporting events?

Keep in mind, even though there is a party atmosphere, these are 25 heated sports competitions running in parallel. The winner of the ping pong tournament thinks he/she just won the gold medal at the Olympics. Representing your school and beating the cross-town rival in front of all your friends is a rewarding experience. I have not lived it yet but I hear the competition is intense, the thrill of victory is incredible, and the parties each night are beyond expectations.

Q:  What are some of the challenges in organizing an event of this scale?

The biggest challenges are managing one's time and managing other people in an organization without true hierarchy. Sure I am the "General Coordinator" but if XYZ person is not prioritizing a certain MBAT initiative, I can't fire that person. In the end, this is a leadership exercise where skills of motivation & negotiation are put to the test.

Aside from that, from a functional perspective, securing sponsorship is definitely a challenge. We have tried some new angles this year and were fortunate to land some pretty cool sponsorships. CampusGroups for one, Uber is another, we got Hurley to donate some prizes, we secured a consulting-related start-up called preplounge.com, and a currency exchange startup called Transferwise as well. One of the most exciting partners this year is a company that organizes the African Poker Tour that has offered to give prize money to the winning poker player during the first night of MBAT, our Casino Royale themed party. The stakes have been raised!

Q:  How has the tournament evolved since its inception?

The biggest evolution of MBAT is we now have email and all sorts of technological communication advantages. We have notes from previous years and a number of suppliers have been working with MBAT for 5, 7 or up to 12 years. So the infrastructure is supremely better than when they first began in 1991. That being said, everything was free back in '91. Absolutely free! They secured so much sponsorship money, so many free supplies and free alcohol, HEC wound up providing everything for free and even assisting with some schools' transportation costs. Briac (Pinault) said they had too much money, overflowing coffers. Definitely not the case nowadays, though Briac said it best: "Charlie Chaplin may not have created a more brilliant performance than the potato dance, and beaucoup amounts of money can't compete with human ingenuity."

Q:  If the US would like to mimic your success, what would be your recommendations?

To mimic our success, US schools would need to have an established network they could count on. The Ivy League comes to mind, or the M7 for instance. Geographically it would need to be convenient to get to, and the campus should have plenty of local hotels to accommodate guests. From there it's all about hussle. US programs are 2yrs in length so they would have more time to plan it, we only run 16 months and some European programs are 10-12 months, so coordinating with everyone's schedules is difficult. But where there's a will there's a way, and so long as people have the mindset to tackle all challenges it is definitely possible.

Q:  Could you share the most absurd story that has come out of MBAT?

mbat8.jpg

The absolute best story I have heard is back in 1991, since it was free for everyone, Manchester Business School arrived with ~250 people. Maybe only 100 were MBA students, the rest were girlfriends, friends, friends of friends, etc. They apparently partied their asses off, and competed well enough but in the end HEC won the overall points tally. However Briac, the original founder ofMBAT, appreciated how intensely Manchester competed (both during the day and at night) that he and his friends went behind the scenes, made a few scoring changes and wound up giving the final trophy to Manchester Business School to honour the spirit of the event as welcoming, festive and rewarding for all. 

The Rise of the eLab: Top MBA Students Dive Deeper in Innovative Approach to Teaching Entrepreneurship

HEC Paris' eLab:  Every minute counts.  As an integral part of top scientists' business ventures, MBA students experience the same stresses, pressures, tension and time crunches as the entrepreneurs.

HEC Paris' eLab:  Every minute counts.  As an integral part of top scientists' business ventures, MBA students experience the same stresses, pressures, tension and time crunches as the entrepreneurs.

Many students in business school enter with the idea of getting a respectable job at a large company, such as a top consulting firm, a tech firm, or a bank. Most of these students secretly, or not so secretly, harbor dreams of starting their own business in a few years or at least going to work for a small but ambitious start-up. 

Traditionally, Master of Business Administration programs have catered to short term plans of corporate success by equipping students with knowledge, through academic lectures by experts, engaging students to think like businessmen. However, with the tech bubble in the late 1990s and the current tech boom stretching from the later 2000s, more and more students are entering business school with no intention of entering into the corporate world, but instead, jumping out on their own and becoming entrepreneurs right out of business school. 

Entrepreneurship is no easy task. The difficulties in becoming an entrepreneur are discussed not only in business school, but have recently been highlighted in popular culture as well. One of the most popular shows on television, ABC’s Shark Tank, now in its 6th season, features entrepreneurs pitching new ideas to venture capitalists who can choose to take a stake in the company. Time after time, the entrepreneur’s pitch falls short because of a logistical failure on the entrepreneur’s part, presentation problems or lack of business foresight. Many of the most polished presenters on the show are business school graduates from esteemed programs, but even they are not always on point. 

Entrepreneurship Track at HEC

The Entrepreneurship Track was the brainchild of Professor Michel Safars (above) and Bernard Garrette, Dean of the MBA at HEC Paris. Safars saw the opportunity to teach students through hands-on experience, leveraging his ties with   Université Paris Saclay, a research intensive cluster of universities south of Paris combining the talents of Paris’ research facilities, grandes écoles, and universities.

The Entrepreneurship Track was the brainchild of Professor Michel Safars (above) and Bernard Garrette, Dean of the MBA at HEC Paris. Safars saw the opportunity to teach students through hands-on experience, leveraging his ties with Université Paris Saclay, a research intensive cluster of universities south of Paris combining the talents of Paris’ research facilities, grandes écoles, and universities.

A businessperson traditionally gains an education in entrepreneurship through a slow series of successes and failures in the real world and not the classroom. A professor at HEC’s School of Management in Paris, one of the top business schools in Europe (ranked #1 in France), has constructed a novel approach to address this problem and prepare business school students for life as an entrepreneur. A prepared entrepreneur is more likely to be successful if he or she has an idea of what hurdles he or she will face on the way to success. In order to enable future entrepreneurs around the world, Professor Michel Safars, a successful serial entrepreneur who has started several companies in cities including San Francisco, New York, Boston and Paris, implemented a hybrid program that features a core of “learning by doing” coupled with lectures by both academics and current practitioners.

At its inception, the program relied on two pillars, the curriculum and a dedicated workspace for students to develop entrepreneurial ideas. To address the first issue, Professor Safars determined that the study of entrepreneurship was a subject that he wanted to redesign academically. To create the program for HEC Paris, Professor Safars visited the top business schools in the world, traveling to the East and West Coast of the United States as well as Scandinavia and Israel to observe how entrepreneurship was taught in different regions. Already enabled with his years of experience, Professor Safars decided that his program at HEC would be focused on “learning by doing,” where students would not only be educated in the classroom by academics and professionals, but also on the field learning what it takes to build a successful business from the ground up. 

MBA students at work in the eLab.

MBA students at work in the eLab.

Additionally, because of his insight into the importance of technology transfer departments from a role at INRIA, the French Institute for Research and Computer Science and Automation, Professor Safars wanted to ensure a close relationship with the technology transfer departments (TTO) at Université Paris Saclay.  HEC Paris has a distinct advantage of being located in one of the premiere innovation clusters in the world at Université Paris Saclay. Each year, research scientists apply for a competition for funding for applications of their research where they present their ideas. Professor Safars, with Pierre Gohar, the Director of Innovation and Industrial Relation at Université Paris Saclay, molded the entrepreneurship program to work alongside this competition, where the best of the best of the Université Paris Saclay competition are paired with HEC MBA entrepreneurship students to help the scientists understand how to build their business, get funding for their projects and to enable the students to get real life experience. Since the program’s inception, however, the entrepreneurship program associate partnerships has grown – the Fall 2014 institutions included not only scientists from Paris-Saclay, but also a foundation associated with world-renowned cancer doctor Professor David Khayat and Open Compute, an association launched by Facebook, Intel and others to open source the clusters computers design. 

The eLab resembles a modern start-up environment with large chairs for students to confer with each other or to hold meetings.

The eLab resembles a modern start-up environment with large chairs for students to confer with each other or to hold meetings.

After the curriculum was set, Professor Safars needed a “dedicated place to focus on learning by doing.” Thanks to donors led by Pascal Cagni, a Director at Kingfischer Plc and Independent Director at Banque Transatlantique, this space came to fruition late in 2012, in the form of the eLab, which stands for the “Entrepreneurship Laboratory”, a space in the HEC School of Management that acts as a classroom, a workspace, and increasingly, a venue for young entrepreneurs to showcase their works. The eLab is equipped with advanced video conferencing technology, dry erase paint walls that are often covered in students’ ideas and large couches. It has the ethos of a startup company in Silicon Valley or Brooklyn. Throughout the day and weekends, participants in the entrepreneurship program meet at the eLab to work on school projects or to develop their own entrepreneurial ventures. The eLab, although earmarked only for entrepreneurship students, is one of three workspaces called “connectors”, including “Le 503” and “Le PROTO204”, developed in the Université Paris Saclay to foster the nurturing of innovation.

The eLab has a setup conducive to group work, innovation and collaboration, featuring video-conferencing, white board walls, and state of the art interactive technologies for student use.

The eLab has a setup conducive to group work, innovation and collaboration, featuring video-conferencing, white board walls, and state of the art interactive technologies for student use.

With the curriculum and the workspace in place, the Entrepreneurship track was ready to launch with a program that consisted of both traditional business school lectures as well as field learning.

Lectures 

At the beginning of the semester, students take a heavy course load, considered the most intense track at HEC. These courses are meant to prepare students for interaction with the scientists and technology transfer professionals. The core course, Entrepreneurship Backbone, features Professor Safars and other guest speakers who have ascended to the top of the corporate world. They discuss methodologies that have worked in their previous ventures and others that did not. Speakers included French entrepreneurs, investors and a highly successful entrepreneur from the United States that studied under Professor Safars at HEC and has appeared on the cover of the New York Times and Time magazines. A focus of this course is the adaptation of “soft skills,” or personal interaction and discovery of motivation, a skill that most entrepreneurs have to learn through interaction. 

Another unique course that is taught early is Investing in Science and Technology, a course that covers how Venture Capitalists approach new investments and how dilution of a company can take place and leave an entrepreneur with a small return on his initial investment. During this course, several current Venture Capitalists working for both large VC firms as well as in house at top tech firms come in and discuss their strategies and what goes on in their minds when they choose to invest.

The remainder of the courses helps students to learn hard skills that are necessary for entrepreneurship such as intellectual property protection, entrepreneurial finance and technical product development, taught by international professors. 

Real World Experience

What is truly unique about the Entrepreneurship Track is the real life experience of bringing an associate scientists’ idea to market. Early in the semester, students are divided into groups of three based on complementary skills and experiences. Each student takes on the role of the CEO, CFO, or CTO and from the first week of October until mid-December, each student has to work about 20 hours a week on developing the project. Companies in Fall 2014 included personalized cancer diagnostics, smart heart stents, and geolocation technology to name a few. The students’ work involved speaking with the scientists to understand the scope of their vision, observing competitors, reviewing government filings, speaking with attorneys or anything else the students may consider that would improve the project, much like an entrepreneur would do with his or her own project. One of the most important duties that the students had to undertake was to contact potential clients and Venture Capitalists to get them interested in the idea. This required full understanding of the scope of the invention and the competitors in the field. By going out into the field, students can understand what each metric measured in an entrepreneurial venture actually means, whether it be supply, operations, competition or barriers to entry.

Incentive

What makes this learning by doing even more unique is that the students have a potential incentive available at the end of the program. Professor Safars requires that each of the institutional participants consider that if the students produce a good work product at the end of the program, the company must be willing to allocate some shares in the company to students that would be interested in continuing to work for the company.

The Fall 2014 class successfully presented to a panel of Venture Capitalists, journalists, academics, entrepreneurs and scientists.

The Fall 2014 class successfully presented to a panel of Venture Capitalists, journalists, academics, entrepreneurs and scientists.

At the end of two and a half grueling months of research, phone calls and interviews, the students conclude their entrepreneurial education by giving a presentation on their new company to a panel of  CEOs, executives, Venture Capitalists, journalists, scientists and academics acting as potential investors in an HEC auditorium. The acting CEO of the team gives the one minute elevator pitch followed by a concise 10 minute PowerPoint presentation detailing the aspirations of the company, the growth potential, present and future competitors and most importantly, why this company would be a good investment. 

The judges in attendance, including Head of M&A of a $15 billion company and Venture Capitalist who flew in from New York City, one of the directors of the largest private wealth management companies in France, and a former Pfizer executive, observed the seven teams give presentations this past December 2014. As a testament to the education and the hard work they put in, no team exceeded their time limit or went under by more than 30 seconds. After the presentations, the panel of judges was given the opportunity to cross-examine the students to determine the depth of their understanding. At the finish of the presentations, one judge commented that the presentations were of a higher quality than presentations he had seen at a renowned worldwide entrepreneurship competition. The teams prepared full business plans, Go To Market direct strategies and business models to propose to the entrepreneurs.

This type of hybrid lecture and learning by doing looks to be the forefront of a new age of MBA education. It combines the necessary academic learning with skills that the students would not even get through high level internships. The emergence of this type of education bodes well for the future of entrepreneurship.