Top business schools usually help MBA students prepare to land their dream jobs. The average increase in salary, a key indicator among many MBA rankings, is clear evidence of this dynamic. Entrepreneurship, however, has been gaining momentum among business schools lately. Schools have been introducing the subject to their curriculum through many avenues, from entrepreneurship electives to Entrepreneurship-in-Residence. Students, yet, have played a decisive role in facilitating this shift.
At INSEAD, one of the most vibrant student clubs is the INSEAD Entrepreneurship Club (IEC). This Club has been promoting the subject via many activities: speaker series, startup treks, and pitching sessions, to name a few. In February, IEC organized the 2015 IEC Entrepreneurship Week, which was an amazing opportunity not only to dive deeper into the subject but also to allow newcomers to understand how engaged the club is.
This experience made me think about writing a post related to IEC. Once I shared this idea with the president of the club here at the European Campus, my compatriot Breno Araujo, he promptly agreed to answer some questions about the club and its history. Doing so, we would raise awareness of a broader audience about the service provided by the club to students and vice-and-versa.
Bruno, for how long IEC has been around?
The club has been around for many years, at least for 15 years, maybe more than 20 years.
How is IEC organized? How do the interactions between Fontainebleau and Singapore occur?
The club has a pretty unique leadership team. Most INSEAD clubs hold a voting system that elects 5 students to manage the club. All the other candidates that want to help with the leadership and are not elected won’t be part of the leadership team.
In the IEC, we decided to do something different this year. We brought on board everyone that wanted to help with the club. As a result, we started the 15J leadership team with 20 students on it and now there are already 26 students on the leadership of IEC in Fontainebleau. The club kept recruiting along the periods, which was also something new.
In the club’s structure, I hold ultimate responsibility for the club, and together with 3 other students I am responsible for the administration team. We deal with all the typical club bureaucracy, such as treasury, communication with stakeholders, support, and e-mails. The other students are free to work on the initiative they most want to.
The club is structured as follows:
- Marketing and Communication – 3 students
- Speakers Relations – 4 students
- Trek and Workshops – 5 students
- Fund Development – 4 students
Each initiative has one student responsible for it.
Original 15J Fontainebleau IEC Team
Regarding the club in Singapore, we have a pretty good relationship with them; we have regular communication and organize simultaneous events such as the Entrepreneurship Week.
In addition, when students working on the leadership team exchange campus, they start working with the club on the campus they are based in.
What is the major differentiator of IEC, compared to other INSEAD clubs?
We believe that being inclusive rather than exclusive is the differentiator of the IEC.
Allowing anyone that wants to help to work on the leadership team and work on an initiative that they want to, was a game changer.
People constantly underestimate others’ intrinsic motivation. Because of that, they try to control and assign roles to people that do not necessarily want to take that role. They think there are roles that nobody will be willing to do. This is not necessarily true. If you open the club to whoever wants to help, you might find that there is at least one person willing to do each task. And that is where the IEC has excelled.
As a result, we managed to have amazing events, averaging more than two events per week, plus the Trek to Berlin, visits to companies in Paris and the Entrepreneurship Week.
All that was done during the four months we have been on the leadership, and in addition, we have worked on parallel initiatives such as building an external communication, we started with a Facebook page and now we are about to launch our external website.
What is The Mews, when INSEAD opened the space to IEC?
The Mews was originally created to be a first step towards having an incubator at INSEAD. Sponsored by Accenture, the Mews is a very recent space, created a little more than two years ago. Students who are working on a business idea can use this space to work on their ventures, have meetings, etcetera.
In addition, the IEC itself uses this room for holding most of its events. We consider it the house of the INSEAD Entrepreneurs.
The mews – INSEAD Entrepreneurship house
IEC recently hosted Entrepreneurship Week 2015. How was it?
This was the first Entrepreneurship Week at INSEAD, and we are very happy to say that it was a success. INSEAD is very happy with the result and how the week was managed across campuses.
We had some big speakers such as the recently retired Chairman of Microsoft Europe, Jan Mülfeiht. His talk attracted around 100 students. Another presentation from Index Ventures also reached the 100-student threshold. We got 120 students enjoying our Michel et Augustin breakfast.
Finally, we had some student-to-student events. We built a success gallery with Alumni profiles, we had our second celebrating failure event, and a week closing in partnership with the Arts Club.
What are the next steps for the IEC?
We are working on some very exciting stuff.
A new initiative was created inside the club, Mentoring and Coaching. This initiative will be helping students to prepare for the INSEAD Venture Competition.
We will help the Career Department on their Entrepreneurship Career Forum, which takes place on April 14th.
We are about to launch our website, an idea that began with the 14Ds and we have been working on it to make it possible.
To finish the post, nothing would be better than the video of the Final Act of the INSEAD Entrepreneurship week.
INSEAD Entrepreneurship Week – Short Version from Breno on Vimeo.