How is entrepreneurship taught at EMLYON, one of the world’s leading Business Schools in entrepreneurship education?

EMLYON Business School has a long standing reputation as a leader in entrepreneurship education, “educating entrepreneurs for the world” since 1872.  Pioneering world-leading events in entrepreneurship and establishing France’s oldest and largest business incubator are just some examples of how EMLYON Business School is testiment to its approach to entrepreneurship education: making things happen in real-life, not just on paper.

entrepreneurship educationProspective students were invited to attend an entrepreneurship lecture at EMLYON Business School to get a taste of what it would be like to study entrepreneurship at the leading European institution. Giving the lecture was Pablo Martin de Holan, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at EMLYON Business School. 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, Professor Martin 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 Martin de Holan’s open lecture on entrepreneurship in full here

So how does a school with a leading reputation in entrepreneurship education in Europe teach this dynamic subject?

Entrepreneurship education: focus on evidence based entrepreneurship

Evidence based entrepreneurship education, according to Professor Martin de Holan, “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.

Professor Martin 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.”

Professor Martin 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 firm.

social entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship education: learn from failures of other entrepreneurs

Ultimately, we can learn a lot from the failures of other entrepreneurs. For example, Professor Martin 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 education: entrepreneurship is taught as a practice

Professor Martin 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 a better entrepreneur 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.

Professor Martin 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.

startup projects

Start your career with a global reach and an entrepreneurial mindset

The Global Entrepreneurship Program, taught jointly by EMLYON Business School (France), Zhejiang University (China) and Purdue University (USA) combines the world’s best entrepreneurship education with an international study experience across three different continents.

During each stage of the Masters in Entrepreneurship program, students also complete a Business Project working on real-life projects for sponsor companies in order to gain practical business experience and develop new competencies. Talking of her Business Project developing a mobile-marketing platform, program graduate Sandra Eckert said “The company wanted to find out what sectors made more sense for them to develop their mobile marketing projects. We did a lot of research and interviews with potential clients. We really got to react and interact in a business environment.” 

Discover the Global Entrepreneurship Program – taught at three world-leading institutions for entrepreneurship education



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