Entrepreneurial Leadership Projects: a graduate’s experience
International MBA participants at EMLYON are given the unique opportunity to complete a 9 month consulting project in a company matched to their career interests. The Entrepreneurial Leadership Project gives participants the chance to apply their knowledge to a real-life business issue, gain additional competencies and industry knowledge, work with a team to solve a business problem, as well as develop their professional network.
Drazen Lucic, graduate of the International MBA programme completed his Entrepreneurial Leadership Project in 2013 working on the innovation strategy for International Flavors & Fragrances. Currently the Technology Product Manager specialising in Smart Buildings at Distech Controls, Drazen shares more about his Entrepreneurial Leadership Project and the lessons he learnt for his career.
What project did you work on during your International MBA? Were you able to choose the project?
I worked on an Innovation Strategy project with two other International MBA students with International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), a global organisation that is one of the top 3 flavours and fragrances companies for many industries such as food, cosmetics, FMCGs, etc. Our task was to elaborate a recommendation on how to strengthen the innovation culture. After many hours of research, a company visit, interviews and hours of analysis, we developed a complete strategy recommendation including guidelines for innovating in the resource and process space, as well as how to foster a culture of innovation.
I was able to work on a project that I was interested in. After deep consideration of all of the projects, I realised that this project aligned well with my future goals. Pleasantly, we were later told that the company had been inspired by our suggestions and had implemented the changes that we recommended.
What were the main takeaways from the 9 month consulting experience?
Firstly, the project is what you make of it. You need to engage with your client and ask the hard questions to understand why the company wants to go down that particular route. This establishes a good base understanding of why you are doing your project so that you are driven by the positive principle of the project.
Secondly, process is important but more importantly the process is malleable. There are always changes along the way; your client may change their mind on where they want to go, you might discover a new piece of information halfway through the project, or near the end the client may ask you to re-structure your presentation to cater for an unplanned audience. In this case it’s important to work in shorter steps and keep constant communication with your client to keep synchronised.
What advice would you give to current or future students when completing their Entrepreneurial Leadership Project?
Treat the ELP as your own project, not as a project of the company. Make your project a milestone in your life, not an assignment by the school.
Also every peer is a mine of invaluable information. Every project is valuable in its own way. Always investigate what kind of underlying information is available that will make you see the problem from a new perspective. This outlook on problems and life will wholeheartedly satisfy your desire for curiosity and provide motivation for many future projects.
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