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How is entrepreneurship taught at EMLYON Business School?

How is entrepreneurship taught at EMLYON Business School?

Participants of the International MBA programme recently started their series of entrepreneurship lectures as part of their first semester at EMLYON. Leading the module is Professor Pablo Martin de Holan, Director of MBA Programmes at EMLYON and Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurial Management. Having published much research to further the field of entrepreneurship in leading academic journals including the Financial Times, Sloan Management Review MIT, Journal of Management Inquiry and Harvard Business Review, De Holan is also working on pioneering research in the area of ‘neuroentrepreneurship’ to understand more about the relationship between neuroscience and entrepreneurship. Watch Professor de Holan’s open lecture on entrepreneurship here.

So how does a school with a leading reputation for entrepreneurship in Europe, voted N.10 MBA in the world for entrepreneurship by the Financial Times in January 2014 teach entrepreneurship?

Focus on evidence based entrepreneurship

According to Professor de Holan, “evidence-based entrepreneurship is essentially teaching entrepreneurship with the best scientific evidence that we have today, not with the things that we believe to be true.”  Students of EMLYON Business School focus on understanding how and why entrepreneurship starts, why it fails and what can be learnt from the mistakes of entrepreneurs.

De Holan emphasises that you cannot learn entrepreneurship by studying what successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg have done, as this completely depends on the context; each situation is completely unique and this success therefore cannot be directly replicated. He argues that Steve Jobs for example was successful, not only through his actions, but because he was there at the right time, at the right moment. “Competitive advantage”, he states, “is the fight between being too early or being too late.” Had Jobs been born 25 years earlier or later, he may not have seen the same success. He argues, “If we want to understand successful entrepreneurship or success in general, we need to understand not just the causes of this success, but also the context in which these things are true.”

De Holan also believes the key determinants for entrepreneurial success are finding a situation where you can create true value for a customer and then ensuring that this value is captured within the firm. He argues that many new innovations fail because they cost more than the original product, or the additional value generated from the innovation is not successfully captured by the original firm.

Learn from failures of other entrepreneurs

Ultimately, we can learn a lot from the failures of other entrepreneurs. For example, De Holan states that the number one reason that entrepreneurial ventures are unsuccessful is not because of a poor idea, lack of strategy or they are not profitable; but simply because they run out of cash. This could be caused by many things, such as an overestimation of the income they will receive or an underestimation of the cost and time it will take to get results. Therefore it is important to systematically study and learn from the things that entrepreneurs do that lead to success or failure in order to make more informed decisions and evade easily avoidable mistakes in the real world of entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is taught as a practice, not a science

De Holan is an advocate of entrepreneurship as a practice, which, like management can be learnt and practiced. He believes anyone can learn to be better than what they are today, by understanding the principles of entrepreneurship and the context in which they were a success or failure, and then applying this knowledge to their own entrepreneurial ventures.

De Holan also says that many potential entrepreneurs are trapped by the belief that being an entrepreneur means they need to have a great idea. He argues that entrepreneurs should focus on finding solutions to problems that current exist, in order to create an entrepreneurial opportunity. He believes starting with a small investment and a focus on solving a problem is the best way to learn a lot about the entrepreneurship process.

International MBA ranked #10 in the world for entrepreneurship

According to Pascale Berthier, Deputy Programme Director of MBA Programmes at EMLYON, a focus on entrepreneurship is imperative for today’s recruitment needs. She says: « Today’s economic conditions require companies to recruit entrepreneurial leaders that can find and develop opportunities, adapt quickly to circumstances, marshal necessary resources, and build effective relationships.” The International MBA programme from EMLYON Business School was voted number 10 in the world for entrepreneurship by the Financial Times in 2014. Through an optimum combination of general management courses, gateways to specialise your knowledge, a 9-month in-company consulting project, international learning trips and a highly diverse cohort, the International MBA programme is dedicated to creating the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders.

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