The HEC Paris Executive MBA program is not just a place of academic learning— it’s also the boiler room for a range of diverse talents building broader networks and catalyze ideas into entrepreneurial opportunities.
The program brings individuals together from various backgrounds, cultures, and industries, fostering an environment ripe for networking and innovation. The personal and professional diversity within the EMBA student body– as well as the institution’s exceptionally involved faculty– has led to remarkable entrepreneurial ventures.
Examples of EMBA students and alumni using the program’s unique strengths to leverage their own entrepreneurial ambitions abound. Among them, Bola Bardet, Thomas Gasser, Malose Kekana, and Nuwaid Pocker represent a handful of cases which highlight the immense entrepreneurial potential the program offers to its students.
Bola Bardet: Turning Tragedy into Innovation
Bola Bardet, EMBA ’18, embarked on her entrepreneurial journey after a personal tragedy struck her family. In December 2017, her father suffered a heart attack in Benin, a country lacking cardiothoracic surgeons. Despite their best efforts, he passed away shortly after. This devastating loss sparked a newfound determination in Bola to make a positive impact on healthcare in Africa.
While contemplating her EMBA journey at HEC Paris, Bola decided to use her Capstone project as an opportunity to address this pressing issue. She founded Susu, a healthcare startup that leverages digital technology to provide access to quality healthcare services for the African diaspora. The name “Susu” itself reflects a communal approach to financing and support, a concept she learned about through her mother’s native language.
Bola’s story highlights how personal experiences, combined with the diversity of perspectives and support from her EMBA peers, led to the birth of a healthcare innovation that has the potential to transform lives in Africa.
Malose Kekana and Thomas Gasser: Learning Never Stops
Malose Kekana, an EMBA ’24 student, is a serial entrepreneur from South Africa with a remarkable track record in real estate management and construction. At the age of 52, Malose chose to pursue an EMBA not for career change or promotion but as a “thinking sabbatical.” His unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a desire to make a difference in his community motivated him to join HEC Paris.
Malose’s EMBA journey has seen him tap into the HEC Paris network and an unexpected partnership with Thomas Gasser, EMBA ’24, a classmate. Their entrepreneurial synergies emerged from casual conversation, before morphing into a business venture.
Their story displays the opportunities that underpin the EMBA program at HEC Paris, and how this provides a platform for continuous growth, even for seasoned entrepreneurs.
Nuwaid Pocker: From Concept to Business Plan
Nuwaid Pocker, an EMBA ’22 graduate based in Qatar, showcased how the HEC Paris network supports entrepreneurship. Nuwaid’s entrepreneurial journey took a new turn when he conceptualized Moniqa, a contact management app designed to strengthen personal and business relationships.
Through HEC Paris’ X-Entrepreneurs program, a platform for collaborative projects, Nuwaid seized this opportunity and pitched Moniqa for inclusion. His project was selected, leading to a collaboration with three HEC Paris/Ecole Polytechnique master’s students and a mentor. In just seven weeks, they transformed the concept into a concrete business plan, complete with user feedback and a prototype.
Nuwaid’s experience demonstrates how HEC Paris fosters entrepreneurship by providing access to diverse talents, resources, and mentorship opportunities.
The power and potential of the HEC Paris Executive MBA
The success stories of Bola, Malose, Thomas, and Nuwaid underscore the immense potential within the HEC Paris EMBA program. The diversity of students from various backgrounds and industries enriches the learning experience, exposing individuals to different perspectives and opening doors to entrepreneurial collaborations.
Furthermore, the quality of instruction and faculty at HEC Paris plays a pivotal role in shaping the entrepreneurial mindset of students. The program not only imparts theoretical knowledge but also encourages practical application, enabling students to immediately apply their newfound skills and insights to their ventures.
The HEC Paris EMBA program is a breeding ground for entrepreneurship, where personal and professional diversity converge, and the guidance of exceptional faculty fuels innovation.
Bola, Malose, and Nuwaid’s journeys exemplify the program’s capacity to empower students to create meaningful and impactful ventures, making a difference in their communities and beyond.
More CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies have graduated from HEC Paris than any other university in Europe. Nearly 4,000 graduates are currently CEOs, CFOs, or have founded their own companies. The Executive MBA at HEC Paris perennially ranks among the best in the world; click here to learn more.
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