EMLYON MBA: 9-month Entrepreneurial Leadership Project, Contextual specializations & Career Services Integrated with the Program

JoeF1GMAT: EMLYON’s 1- Year International MBA program has focus on educating Entrepreneurs. How does EMLYON help budding entrepreneurs?

Joe LiPuma (EMLYON MBA Director):
The program has a number of essential elements to help budding entrepreneurs. First, the program commences with an exploration of ideas for new offerings to the market, and an examination of opportunities. We propose courses in entrepreneurial theory related to opportunity identification, evaluation, and exploitation followed by practice-oriented courses in developing ideas and concepts into feasibility studies. Participants are encouraged to develop their ideas, their feasibility analyses into business plans, which can be presented in international competitions. These projects can be subsequently launched into businesses, which may be supported by our incubator, one of the first (and best) in Europe.

In addition, the 9-month long Entrepreneurial Leadership Project (ELP) permits teams of participants to work with a company - to address an opportunity within an active, international enterprise. Through this experiential exercise, the teams can best apply theories to a real environment and gain valuable industry and market knowledge. This knowledge can facilitate the development and launch of businesses.

F1GMAT: How is the curriculum structured to help MBA Students?

Joe LiPuma (EMLYON MBA Director):  The one-year International MBA begins with a Boot Camp, a one-week, team-based course that simulates management of a business: a “serious game” through which participants learn the language of business and begin to see connections among functional areas of business.

Following this are 10 weeks of courses focusing on the core concepts in functional areas such as finance, accounting, economics, strategy, marketing, operations, entrepreneurship, and organizations.  All courses are fully taught in English.  So no need for our candidates to know French although we do offer French language lessons to non-French speakers during the MBA program.

After exams for these courses, a week-long integrative seminar is held, in which faculty from various functional areas work with the cohort on a single case, to explore and address the interactions that exist in real business settings.

Specializations are offered in the second part of the program that allow participants to focus more deeply in specific functional areas. Commencing with the 2013-2014 academic year, contextual specializations will permit further exploration of industry (e.g., Luxury, Life Sciences) or contexts (multinational corporations or new ventures).

In the third part of the program, elective courses in a range of topics are offered: crisis management, social entrepreneurship, managing innovation, negotiations, to name a few.

F1GMAT:  What are some of the unique courses and activities offered in the 12-Month International MBA program?

Joe LiPuma (EMLYON MBA Director): The Boot Camp that begins the program is unique, in that it starts at the first day of the program. With participants from a variety of educational backgrounds, many never been exposed to marketing or finance. The simulation presents concepts and standard business terminology in a fast-paced, interactive setting. In addition, the team-based aspect of the Boot Camp requires intercultural team interactions, which are followed by debriefs by organizational behavior faculty.

Lyon MBASecond, in addition to a mandatory one-week learning trip (to Finland, in recent years) to explore business models in different contexts, we offer optional study opportunities in Asia and the Middle East.

Third, participants have the option to travel to residencies at exchange partners in Asia, the Americas, Europe or Africa to experience business in another context during the third part of the program.

Finally, we expose the students to life in Lyon with visits to vineyards in the Beaujolais and other experiences.

F1GMAT: How is the student life at EMLYON?

Joe LiPuma (EMLYON MBA Director):  There is a vibrant student life at EMLYON Business School.  There are 27 student associations such as the Ski Club & I-Link that promotes overseas cultures within the school and facilitate the integration of foreign students in campus life or Planet & Co, an association for sustainable development and Fair Trade.

Students can live on campus or off campus in studios or apartments in Lyon, which is 10 minutes from the campus in Ecully, and they can benefit from quality sports facilities within and close to the campus. 

The city of Lyon is the second largest urban area in France (2.6 million inhabitants) and one of the most dynamic regions.  Students can take advantage of Lyon's rich history, arts and cultural events and its proximity to the Alps.  The old town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Lyon is also home to the Olympique Lyonnais soccer club, semi-finalist in the 2010 Champions League. 

Many students will avail themselves of the hundreds of ski resorts, trips to the Mediterranean, to Paris or Geneva, all within two hours of Lyon. The airport at Lyon has direct connections via EasyJet to many other cities across Europe.

F1GMAT: What are some of the post-MBA opportunities available for MBA graduates?

Joe LiPuma (EMLYON MBA Director):  Graduates from our MBA program find opportunities in various industries.  Industrial products & Services would come first with around 18% then management consulting with around 12% followed by Health-care products and services, Consumer products & services, Environment – Energy/ Utilities (around 10%).  Of course, these percentages will vary from one year to another according to the profile of the participants, but also the global job market.  10- 15% of our participants decide to start their own business right after graduation or few years after graduation.


Career Services is an integral part of the program. We recognize that part of the motivation for candidates to pursue an MBA is to improve their career opportunities in an existing field or to make a career transition.  To improve the chances of success, EMLYON has developed an entire process spread throughout the entire year of the IMBA. It is divided into three main periods: Analysis, Preparation, and Execution.

• Personal and Leadership Development seminars are focused on the identification and in-depth analysis of your main personality features, capabilities, leadership style, strengths and weaknesses. They focus on several exercises allowing you to deepen your self-knowledge and develop your relationship skills;

• Career Power workshops and individual coaching by professional to bring you the concrete tools and resources in your job search process;

• Networking opportunities with conferences & exchanges with professionals, experts, alumni, recruiters, head hunters & recruitment firms;

• “Meet The Actors” sessions include presentation by external speakers and recent MBA graduates;

• MBA Lounges represent opportunities for companies present themselves and interview IMBA students on campus;

• Careers Forum during which more than 100 local and international companies are present on campus for 3 days to meet with our participants from all programmes.  There are also themed career events such as in Audit, Consulting, Finance, Sports industry or Luxury industry.

• Support as facilitators (CV book, business cards, online I-career centre…).

The range of Careers Services offered throughout the programme helps participants achieve the goals they have set for themselves.

F1GMAT:Can you give our readers a snapshot of the latest class?

Joe LiPuma (EMLYON MBA Director): Cohorts are generally modest in number, approximately 30 students, permitting everyone to know each other and develop relationships that last a lifetime.

The latest cohort is about 70% male, and nearly 80% come from countries outside of France (about half of that from Asia – China, India, Japan, Taiwan), and represent 14 countries.

The average age is just shy of 30 years old, with an average of about 7 years professional experience.

Typically, about 40% of the cohort have engineering or computer science degrees, which is the case this year, and an additional 30% with degrees in Business, Economics, or Finance.

F1GMAT:  What are the entry criteria in terms of the number of years of experience/GMAT/GPA for the Full-time MBA program?

Joe LiPuma (EMLYON MBA Director): A minimum of three years experience is required, and candidates must take the GMAT or the GRE test. The GMAT or GRE score, the nature of professional experience, the undergraduate major and GPA, the career plan are factors into the acceptance decision as does an interview, generally conducted by two jurors (one faculty and one administrator). The decision to admit is based on an overall assessment of these factors.

We specifically seek applicants with a passion for excellence, self-motivated, internationally aware and interested, with the desire to develop themselves, their cohort-mates, and the companies for which they will work upon graduation. We desire candidates who have a career objective in mind: an industry, geography, company setting in which they hope to work.

About Joe LiPuma

JoeJoe LiPuma is the Director of EMLYON Business School’s International MBA programme. He is Associate Professor in Strategy and Entrepreneurship. Joe has a BS in Mathematics, an MBA in Finance and Management Science, and a DBA in Business Strategy & Policy (Boston University). He teaches Business Strategy and Policy, International Business, Entrepreneurship, and Managing Innovation. His research focuses on the resources underpinning new venture internationalisation and has been published in the Journal of Business Research, Small Business Economics, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, among others. He is also the author, with Eric Ball, of Unlocking the Ivory Tower: How Management Research Can Transform Your Business (Kauffman Fellows Press 2012).

Prior to earning his DBA, Joe had more than 25 years of business experience, much of it in information technology, including executive management and board-level roles in both the United States and abroad. He established new businesses in the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Italy, has lived in various cities across the U.S., and in the U.K. and France, and has traveled extensively.

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