Be the Entrepreneur of Your Life!

Joëlle Marsot

I’m now in the second half of my Executive MBA journey at INSEAD. Since the month of July, we have been leveraging the learnings gained from the core modules.

While the core courses were quite academic, the Electives and Key Management Challenges (KMC) are practical and articulated around numerous real-time simulations. For example, we built strategies against competition, concluded a M&A deal, held numerous negotiations, saved a company from bankruptcy and many other true-to-life exercises. This allowed close interactions with professors who are really involved and approachable, and who don’t hesitate to share their time and knowledge out of the classroom.

During the summer Electives, friendship has been reinforced and deepened through three weeks of co-living in frat houses for most of us.

Beyond the good time spent together, it was the occasion to weave even more authentic, trustful and meaningful relationships.

We share feedback now spontaneously, we require from our GEMBA mates advice for important decisions, career moves, life changes… Networking has taken on a different meaning for me – not the artificial approach that is often unavoidable if you want to do business, find new investments or market shares.

The GEMBA network has become a huge cross-mentoring programme.

As we are right now in the midst of the programme, we have switched from having a “student” perspective, to having an accomplished and assumed entrepreneurial mindset. We no longer talk about grades and exams but about professional challenges and business venture projects. We even speak about potential partnerships and start-ups between classmates.

And this is reinforced by the fact that for many of us, we are working in pairs on a company creation as our Final Paper (FP) project.

I am delighted to share this journey of entrepreneurship with Nico Grage, who has elevated the financial plan into a masterpiece of art! Our FP supervisor, Adrian Johnson, is a professor who is himself a serial entrepreneur and who made his own network generously available to move us forward.

As Adrian said “INSEAD offers a safe environment” to experiment and test our entrepreneurial skills and ideas.

While working on the FP, I discovered incredible GEMBA entrepreneurs such as Ankit Maheshwabi, an inspiring seasoned entrepreneur who help Nico and I to refine and mature our company business plan but also Susanne Leonhardt, who is an incredible serial idea generator! Just to cite two of them because I could have also talked about the new entrepreneurs who are founding their company such as Satoshi Yamada with Mariia Antonova, Mohamed Diabi with Raimundo Frohlich and so many others who inspired this article.

By taking a little reflection on this part of my GEMBA story, I have realised that an entrepreneurial mindset can help us make important decisions in every part of our lives. It’s not just about starting a company.

Entrepreneurship is a mindset, not a skill. It should be viewed as a passion for building something great with others, as being committed to a vision regardless of the challenges and obstacles along the way.

Like entrepreneurs, we all deal with uncertainty and tough decision-making, we all need to use logical and critical reasoning and employ strategy to solve complex problems, at work or in our personal life. The entrepreneurial mindset is what you need to propel yourself forward. With the right support and attitude, anyone can be an entrepreneur.

More than just teaching us how to become business experts, INSEAD is helping us to learn how to become the entrepreneur of our life – INSEAD’s third promise kept!