The 2017-2018 Global MBA Class

The 2017-2018 Global MBA Class

Friday, December 15, 2017

What I took away from our Entrepreneurship class

by George Thomas, ESSEC Global MBA Student Ambassador 2017-2018 | Strategy & Management Major

For the longest time, I believed that most people who succeed as entrepreneurs inherently possess certain skills, personality, and capabilities that set them up for success – skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. One either has them or not. While it is true that successful entrepreneurs require certain traits, what my Entrepreneurship class with Prof. Lepoutre helped me appreciate was that most of those skills and capabilities can be learned and acquired, if not all.
Below are my key take-aways and reflections from the class:

3 Key Take-Aways
  • Entrepreneurship is first and foremost about action. The business plan on its own no matter how good it looks on paper is only any good if implemented and tested. Especially in highly uncertain circumstances, ideation or brainstorming will only help so much. Sooner than later, one needs to go out and test those ideas in the market preferably on a small scale first. Cliched as it may be, you need to be able to build the plan as you fly it. It’s imperative to be action-oriented by focusing on activities within your control; instead of predicting your future, make your future.
  • Inspiration process involves: a) Defining the challenge, b) observing people, c) forming insights. During the ideation process, our own experience can be a blocker, may limit our creativity or color our vision. It is important to observe people and absorb ideas like a child. Once you have an idea, implementation may not always be linear or chronological; it could run in parallel and in cycles.
  • Principle of Affordable Loss: In uncertain environments, entrepreneurs need to draw the lines in terms of the risk they will take. Their decision is based on the downside (what they lose) as opposed to Managers who will invest based on the NPV (returns) of their investment.
2 Things that were interesting to me
  • Entrepreneurs do not always come up with original ideas. As per the study conducted by Blide (1994), 71% entrepreneurs replicate or modify already existing ideas. Only 4% discovered new ideas through systematic research. Case in point: Boss Ross, who did not come up with the idea himself; instead he drew on them from one of his contacts.
  • Entrepreneurs earn 35% less over a 10-year period than they could have earned in a "paid job". Begs the question, why do they still do it: perhaps the answer is autonomy, power, altruism and financial gain.
1 Thing I would still like to introspect
  • I would like to explore the paradox of the following two statements:
    • Go for many ideas (‘to have good ideas, you must first have many…’). OR Encourage wild ideas (what if…)
    • Limit your ideation/creativity within boundaries
I believe, if you are able to get as many ideas with your area of focus, you might be able to reach a balance.

In summary, as Prof. Lepoutre put it, ‘entrepreneurship is about creating value, capturing value and delivering value’.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

My journey in the ESSEC Global MBA

By Abhinav IYER, ESSEC Global MBA Class of 2017


Around this time last year, I was in India grappling with the dilemma of whether I needed to do the MBA. A critical life incident involving my family had made me question my choice.

In situations involving no easy answers, I took the plunge based on what my family and well-wishers at work recommended. One could argue that "free will" was suspended and I decided to come to ESSEC amidst several cobwebs in the mind, full of questions and with some anxiety.

Perhaps, I kept telling myself that time would simply fly past me and transform the journey into a surrealistic blur.

As I reflect, the time has indeed whizzed by and I take this opportunity to articulate what this experience, especially this group, has offered me.

1) A humbling voyage

Despite having had experience of working in multiple groups and contexts over 10 years, the MBA experience was humbling as it signaled that past records and experiences could not earn the seat at the table. One has to start from a clean slate, continually operating in a "learning mode".

As I write, I recognize the limits of my ignorance. This humbling experience may not have always been offered to me if not for this MBA, and I might have simply been operating in auto-pilot mode in my job.

2) The Mirror offered by an internationally diverse cohort

I kept asking myself - "What does having 18 nationalities in a batch really mean?" Beyond the fluff around diversity or global outlook, what does a diverse cohort truly offer?

Based on my experience, such a diverse group shows one “the Mirror”. I recognize that this Mirror is always available for one to view, but may not always make for pleasant viewing.

Thanks to such a diverse group, I could experience first-hand multiple realities within a group. There is no standard way of influencing, processing a message, interpreting a "yes" or building trust. I stumbled many a time, often bemused by my gaffes.

Each project experience was a greenfield venture that provided new insights into interpersonal intelligence.

I have had a good hard look at this Mirror over months and gleaned one idea, amongst several others:

I could work more on developing warmth - it has never been a core aspect of my persona; I must confess that I had become too certain about it, something that might have prevented me from working on it. However, I have become more actively cognizant of the need to take action.

3) Several Lindt Moments

France has spoilt my culinary palate. The fromage, the desserts, and the chocolates have been delightful for the tastebuds, but not easy on the body's geometry. Nonetheless, there have been several sweet "Lindt" moments. I will cherish profusely the deeply illuminating conversations with so many people, the excursions, late night tea conversations in the room...Those moments of delirious joy that suspended me from the anxieties and dilemmas that were circling around me like ravenous vultures.

I will remember the efforts of Josiane and Claire who have been intimately associated with the GMBA. Josiane's diligence, empathy, responsiveness and the role of an academic mother of sorts is inspirational. Claire's generosity, the spirit of abundance and sensitivity have struck a chord with me. If I could emulate even a quarter of their qualities, I would be blessed.

4) What RoI?

When I started the MBA, I was asked in India about how I would gauge the "return on investment" (RoI). I was even advised about increasing the RoI by looking for jobs in Europe as the adjusted salaries would account significantly.

But that logic makes the assumption that both the input and the output would be indexed in financial terms. But then, how do you measure the RoI when the output itself is non-financial and deeply intangible - such as cherished relationships, greater self-clarity, renewal, enhanced cultural intelligence, honing of the global mindset etc. I like to believe that I have built substantial muscle during this period with the cognition that eureka moments may occur further ahead as well. Therefore, how can one really even measure RoI? Is it even a relevant measure?

To my mind, the Global MBA is essentially an investment, not an expense, that will keep blooming continually in myriad ways. For which, I am thankful to ESSEC, all my colleagues, the faculty members who invested in us, Aarti, Jeanine, Eric, Sandie & the career staff and the administration for holding us together.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

6 GMAT tips from an MBA recruiter

By Eric Lucrezia, Recruitment Manager, ESSEC Global MBA

The irony about the GMAT is that it is usually the thing that people spend the most time stressing about, yet it is probably the least important component of your application. Your interview, essays, references, career goals, and soft skills will all play much more into the admissions final decision; however, a competitive score can yield some great scholarship offers. All of the GMAT tips shared below also apply to the GRE and are useful resources to anyone preparing for an English proficiency test such as the IELTS or TOEFL. A great GMAT score is just one of the many elements that make a successful application. Keep things in perspective, follow these key steps, and do your best.