IMD MBA program is known for graduating many leaders and managers but it can also boast of a long list of the “third kind” that have developed their best ideas and skills in it’s corridors – the entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur is a french word and literally means someone who organizes a business. Entrepreneur is also the etymological root of the word “enterprise” and if we come to think about it, indeed entrepreneurs form the foundation of any large enterprise. Most big corporations started as an entrepreneurial venture, even those formed with government support required entrepeneurial mindset, grit and perseverance.
So essentially, it is impossible to become a complete business leader without having experienced the entrepreneurial journey in some ways. The last few days at IMD were dedicated to just that – giving us a flavour of entrepreneurship. Through myriad cases we vicariously experienced the ups and downs of starting a new company. And not just any cases, these cases were of the companies that Professor Benoit has had close association with. True to the “real world” element of IMD, Benoit brought these cases to life by sharing some of his first hand experiences with these companies.
We also heard from one of IMD’s home grown entrepreneurs who shared in great detail his 8 year long journey. A journey of sweat, blood and tears, of uncertainities that can put weather predictions to shame and of human perseverance in the face of all challenges. Such inspiration can last a lifetime and I am sure some of us will use this inspiration to take the plunge into starting our own enterprises.
Our journey doesnt end here, if anything it begins here. As mentioned in an earlier post, all 90 of us have been assigned to work on real start-ups and in the beginning most of us were a bit tentative about how to go about these projects. But after what we have learnt in the class we cannot wait to go out and apply these learnings in our start-ups. In fact earlier this week we already had an opportunity to get some expert feedback on our plans for the start-up project and it was reassuring to know that many of our ideas can actually be a valuable proposition for these start-ups.
Many of us may never choose entrepreneurship as a career, some of us might do so but I am convinced that regardless of the path we choose the skills and mindset built in the entrepreneurship stream will serve us well in dealing with complex business challenges.
In conclusion let me leave you with this one thought that every entrepreneur knows and every person should know.