Learning the ingredients for successful innovation and how to apply them to any career.

The HEC Paris Executive MBA has a reputation for nurturing the innovative skills of some of the world’s finest entrepreneurs. We spoke to Italian-French EMBA participant and Human Resources Manager Gabriele Pontalti about his experience, fresh off the first week of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation specialization.

Why did you choose the ‘Innovate Like An Entrepreneur’ specialization?

I decided to engage in the entrepreneurship and innovation specialization to understand how to create value in an ever-evolving social and economic environment. I think that the tools and skills I am acquiring during this specialization are providing me with a lens to observe reality from a new perspective, helping me to discover new opportunities. Embracing and overcoming upcoming challenges requires entrepreneurs and executives (including intrapreneurs) to understand what creates successful innovation looks like and why it has to become a core driver of economic growth, as well as how to use tools and frameworks to successfully and effectively promote, develop and integrate innovation in a sustainable way.

How would you describe the first week of your specialization?

The first week of the specialization was an intense journey with many insightful activities: lecturers, case analysis and discussion, workshops, interaction with big firms, start-ups, VC companies and successful entrepreneurs are among the precious experiences you will take active part in along with an international HEC cohort. Interacting, sharing and learning from people with different cultural and working backgrounds provides a unique educational framework.

What was the highlight of the week?

I really enjoyed learning about the research and development behind innovation. Innovation requires a fertile ground, in terms of innovative corporate cultures, as well as commitment and dedication from innovators to lifelong learning. By learning the in-depth frameworks provided during this specialization, one can further explore relevant topics and master the tools provided. Then, we will be able to exploit opportunities in the market as executives, within a company or as entrepreneurs.

What was the most interesting takeaway in regards to innovation and entrepreneurship from the week?

The first week of this educational journey was full of interesting insights. Innovation is a very complex and articulated topic that transversely crosses the whole corporate ecosystem and may significantly support the firm in growing and overcoming new challenges. At the same time, innovation through entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship may effectively address social issues while pursuing corporate goals. Due to its important role, innovation has to rely on solid foundations – frameworks – and requires a great balance between important aspects like creativity and coherence.

More CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies have graduated from HEC Paris than any other university in Europe, and nearly 4,000 of graduates are currently CEOs, CFOs, or have founded their own companies. According to the Financial Times, the HEC Paris Executive MBA  is ranked #1 in Europe and #3 in the world; click here to learn more about this world-class program.