Entrepreneurship and Family Business Enterprise  - EMBA Courses


Corporate Entrepreneurship

Most organizations face an imperative to grow.  Many of these companies invest heavily in innovation in order to grow without being able to create or capture much value from these efforts.  Investing more than your rivals do is not as important as getting the most out of the way you manage the innovation growth process.  The key to profitable growth from innovation is blending in-house R&D with open innovation and effective use of partners, and then building new businesses to bring these innovations to market. 
Innovation includes mastering collaborations across boundaries to create innovations that competitors don’t have, staying abreast of new ideas from the crowd, and leveraging an ecosystem of third parties with innovations that complement yours.  Building new businesses involve creating structures that can access key resources, overcome political obstacles, and maintain flexibility to pursue new opportunities. Viewed broadly, driving growth involves adapting entrepreneurial processes – both innovation and business building – to large organizations.

Summary of Course Content
Rather than covering all relevant topics associated with corporate entrepreneurship, this course focuses on the core organizational and managerial challenges that academic research has identified as the cornerstone of effective innovation and growth. There is therefore relatively less emphasis on strategy content, such as the restructuring of a portfolio of businesses or the content of new business models, but comparatively more emphasis on leading growth.  Instead we will take a general management perspective: What is the right way to build new businesses around innovation-focused opportunities?  What can individual leaders do to mobilize innovation for growth?

Private Equity, Growth Equity & Venture Capital

The Private Equity industry is known for its unparalleled growth and wealth generation over the past decades. Both financial turmoil in the developed markets and extraordinary returns in the emerging markets have given this subject additional relevance and opened the door to at times controversial discussions: Will the value-added focus of the Private Equity industry become a role model for the “new” financial markets of tomorrow or will the partnership-model itself have to accept dramatic changes to survive?
It is clear that future growth will hinge on bringing the benefits of professionally-managed active investing to regions with different institutions, talent pools, and types of opportunities. Traditional private equity categories may need to be re-thought in fast-growth markets and even the traditional asset allocation model might have to be re-assessed by LP’s (investors) interested in exploring new frontiers of Private Equity in Emerging markets.
This course offers a vital building block in the tool-kit of senior managers: The high probability of an involvement in a Management Buy-out (MBO) during their career makes it crucial to understand the workings of the PE partnership model and get a sense of the issues when valuing new and existing businesses.
The development of this elective was driven by INSEAD’s Global Private Equity Initiative (GPEI) and will be taught by its Academic Director, Professor Claudia Zeisberger. (www.insead.edu/gpei)

Objectives & Course Design
This applied course attempts to provide a balanced overview over the private equity landscape, and covers the entire spectrum from early to late stage investing, i.e., from venture capital to leveraged buy-outs, with a global focus on recent developments and industry specific discussions. 
Using mainly the case method, it addresses the mechanisms and principles of private equity deals that are common across the various private equity types, and highlights the most important differences. 
The course promotes holistic thinking about businesses, and fosters a synthesis of the various functional courses taken at INSEAD, e.g., in entrepreneurship, strategy, marketing, finance and OB. Both, the entrepreneurship courses and the advanced finance courses offered in the program are a useful complement to this elective. While in-depth knowledge about finance is not a pre-requisite, class participants should feel comfortable with, and have a sound understanding of financial statements, and they should be familiar with basic finance and accounting techniques.
However, the focus is on private equity firms and their organizational and managerial challenges, as well as on their investment and value creation strategies, not on finance theory. (I expect you have that under your belt from the core classes.)
The course makes direct links to the Private Equity Industry by engaging senior PE professionals as Guest Speakers during class.

Learning Outcomes
In this elective, you should expect to:

  • Get broad overview over the different types of PE strategies: Venture Capital (VC), Growth Capital, Buyouts (LBOs), and Secondary transactions
  • Learn how PE firms value their target companies
  • Have a clear understanding of the trends shaping the industry right now
  • Understand what PE firms are looking for when selecting Target companies
  • Gain exposure to PE transaction in developed and emerging markets and understand the differences in the various markets


Realising Entrepreneurial Potential

When most people think of entrepreneurship, they think of a genius starting a business in his garage. But what about a manager who identifies and acquires a business to improve it, develop it and increase its value? Is this entrepreneurship too? Yes it is. And this is called Entrepreneurship through Acquisition.
During the span of their careers, many managers toy with the idea of buying the company they work for (MBO) or buying some other company (MBI). In addition to the obvious financial motives, more and more people are taking this path for the challenge, to fully exploit their skills and abilities and to exercise more control over their lives in a uniquely entrepreneurial way.
Realising Entrepreneurial Potential (REP) covers the entrepreneurship through acquisition process in detail, from organising a company search, to financing the deal, to buying and managing a company, to selling it several years later, hopefully with a substantial upside. REP will take you through all the steps in a methodical manner and provide you with a sound understanding of what is involved and the tools needed to navigate the hurdles along the way.
All REP cases are based on INSEAD (and often REP) alumni who have bought or tried to buy companies, and many of the protagonists join us in class live or via Skype. We will study the decisions they have faced and learn from their successes and failures. By the end of the course, you will see that acquiring a company for yourself is entirely possible.
If you want to buy a business one day, REP was designed for you. If you want to learn about managing small and medium-sized businesses with numbers and problems that the common man can comprehend, REP is for you. And if you are going to be involved in the acquisition and value creation process in private equity, investment banking or consulting, REP is for you too. Besides, in a few years, you too may decide to become an entrepreneur by acquiring a company.


Social Entrepreneurship: Building Impact Ventures

Social entrepreneurs have become a driving force for societal change and business innovation, creating compelling ventures that align both profit and impact. What do social entrepreneurs do that is unique and why do they succeed in addressing profound societal problems in areas where governments, markets and charities have failed? How are impact ventures built?
This course will place you in the role of a social entrepreneur and teach you how to design and launch an impact venture. The course is built on research, cases and frameworks developed by the instructor after working with more than 500 social entrepreneurs over seven years while leading the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Programme (www.insead.edu/isep)
After an introduction to social entrepreneurship using several examples and one case, the remainder two days of the course will engage the participants in a very interactive and practical workshop - The Bootcamp - for designing and launching a new social entrepreneurship initiative (as an independent venture or in the context of your current company). Participants will work on their idea or join the project of another colleague. In 48 hours we will go from initial concept to a complete design for an impact venture.

Who Should Take this Course?
The course is a call for action, addressing participants as potential social entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs, impact investors, policy-makers or leaders in the social innovation sector. It is designed to engage your ambitions and drive to explore what is possible in the world of social entrepreneurship. It provides a toolkit for implementing a social entrepreneurship initiative and allows participants to discuss, assess and refine their own ideas for value creation in society.

Learning Outcomes
In this course, you should expect to learn:

  • The distinctive features and elements of social entrepreneurship and how it improves our economic system
  • How to design and assess an innovative business model to tackle a societal problem
  • How to launch, finance and scale up an impact venture


Developing Yourself and Others

Why choose this KMC?

Whether you operate in a company, start your own firm, or work independently, your accomplishments and impact post-EMBA will depend more and more upon your ability to get things done through other people.  Choosing the right people, placing them in the right roles, and developing their capabilities will become the key success factors in your career.  The more accomplished are the people you lead or partner with, the greater your scope of action can be.  Successful executives transition from being part of a successful team of leaders to building such a team around themselves.  In addition, they often build long-lasting, trusted relationships with a cadre of talented individuals who work with them again and again in different settings.
Understanding how to develop the capabilities of the people who work for and with you will help you apply the same knowhow to yourself.  As executives grow, they must work through a series of potential plateaus, reinventing themselves at points of transition because “what got you here won’t get you there.”  Taking charge of your own personal development and directing your growth as a professional and leader is as important as developing the capacity of those around you. 
This course builds on adult development theory and learning theory to help you grasp how to develop yourself and others.  You will learn how to assess yourself and others in the context of the challenges you face, then use that information to match strengths with roles.  You will learn how to plan the development of yourself and others through a set of stretch experiences that create growth.  You will learn how to identify and seize opportunities to become more valuable to your organization and others through distinctive contributions that are associated with your personal brand and reputation.  You will learn how to manage yourself and others through periods of stress, uncertainty and change so that these build up your strengths instead of eroding them.
This KMC relies heavily on INSEAD’s unique asset: its unparalleled alumni base.  Alumni will share with you their experiences and lessons learned via cases, videos, live appearances, and small-group interactions.   This exposure will help you reflect on how you want to manage your own growth; build a reputation as an outstanding judge and developer of talent; and forge close lifetime relationships with a small cadre of exceptionally able people whose skills complement yours.

Learning outcomes

  • Acquire a framework for understanding adult development, growth and learning over the life cycle
  • Understand how to assess people and identify the best roles for them
  • Understand how to plan the development of self and others through a chain of crucible experiences
  • Understand how to manage self and others through professional transitions, especially those involving stress and uncertainty
  • Learn how to identify and take advantage of opportunities to differentiate yourself and make distinctive contributions as your environment changes
  • Learn how successful executives build a small group of complementary talents connected through close relationships, who help each other through repeated engagements

Links to other EMBA courses
By December, EMBA’s have already had access to a session offered by INSEAD Career Services focused on understanding career change and building applied skills (e.g. working with headhunters or negotiating salaries).  Some have also taken Daniel Porot’s course on piloting your career to land the right job, which focuses on linking your past work experience to your future opportunities, in addition to strengthening job hunting skills.  This KMC complements those offerings but focuses less on specific jobs or career path management and more on developing human capability, applied to yourself and those around you. 
Several offerings (such as the leadership elective, or various entrepreneurship KMC’s and electives that help you think through whether that is a path you might wish to follow) complement this KMC by helping you think about your growth as a leader or an entrepreneur.  The Entrepreneurial Leadership KMC also focuses on developing your leadership talents by addressing a diverse set of topics related to leadership or entrepreneurship.  This KMC is grounded in adult development and learning theory and focuses primarily on assessing people and developing oneself and others.  It aims to help you enhance the value of the contributions you and those around you can make, and master the transitional challenges that go along with higher responsibilities as your career progresses. 


Entrepreneurial Leadership

This course posits that entrepreneurship and leadership are interrelated phenomenon. They share the goal of creating value; entrepreneurship through new opportunities and innovation and leadership through intentionally influencing others to improve their effectiveness. The course is designed for EMBAs interested “thinking outside the box” and considering entrepreneurial activities as a part of their leadership repertoire. It is not about management as usual (so some EMBAs may not find it useful).
This KMC is about you -- and how you can develop your leadership talents to support a more rewarding and satisfying personal and work life. The course is taught in an executive education format and focuses on exploring issues facing leaders in the real world. The classroom and learning activities are experiential using exercises and assessments as well as case discussion, meditation, lectures, group work, videos, readings and short papers. The course outline is a guide and will attempt to provide time for meaningful discussion and reflection about your questions and concerns.

Learning Outcomes
The leadership focus is about raising your sights above operational concerns and the traditional executive mind set and instead strengthening your influence based on improved self and social awareness. EMBA participants completing this course should recognize how positive psychology, creativity, high performing teams, life satisfaction, self and social awareness, and innovation strengthens their leadership.


Entrepreneurial Ventures

This Key Management Challenge in Entrepreneurship entitled “Building Entrepreneurial Ventures” is aimed at EMBA's interested in building a new business or understanding entrepreneurial behaviors and processes. In three days we will develop insights and frameworks that can help participants progress from an entrepreneurial idea to a business design, launch and growth. The focus is the creation of independent ventures, although the learning may also be useful for developing new business initiatives inside companies.
The KMC will be taught via a combination of lectures, cases, team work and exercises. The first day focuses on the conceptualization of opportunities and understanding the essence of entrepreneurial behavior. The second day explores issues that are relevant to the design and launch of a new business, including an encompassing case series covering all stages of development of a new venture, from financing to business model development, organizational building, and exit. The third day is dedicated to the integration of learning, through a venture development workshop and pitching trial, to improve how you communicate your business ideas.

Learning Outcomes
At the conclusion of the KMC, you will have in place the key building blocks should you wish to build a new business or improve one that you have already begun to create.
EMBA participants who take this Key Management Challenge are asked to prepare a brief outline (about one page) of an idea for a new business. This can be done individually or in teams of up to four participants and could either involve an original business concept or the replication of an existing business concept that you have seen working in a particular geography or industry. Please deliver this outline of an idea for a new business at the beginning of the course, explaining in the document why the business opportunity is attractive. If you wish, you will have the possibility of developing the idea further during the KMC and pitch it at the end to the group.



The Growth Imperative uses a real-time, team-based competitive simulation called the SIGMA Challenge to emulate the real life challenges of achieving growth through innovative, global ventures. The objective of the course is to simulate the management of growth through globalization and innovation. The highlight of this course is its relentless focus on execution through actions in teams – participants take dozens of strategic and tactical decisions under enormous time pressure, significant uncertainty, and intense competition to build a growing business.
During the course of the simulation you will need to develop your company’s innovation and globalization strategies, including brand and market positioning, physical and human capital, and the ability to sustain profitable growth through on-going operations. The challenge here is that the market this company helped to create is now becoming much more competitive – with the entry of many “copy-cat” players. Thus, each management team will manage a company in competition with other companies—that is, other management teams—in a similar position. Each management team will take periodic decisions covering the main aspects of managing the venture in this critical stage.
This course uses several techniques to accurately replicate the “pressure-cooker” environment that is typical of organizations facing a growth imperative. First, the course is short and intense, lasting around 3 days. Second, the class “sessions” run for a long time, sometimes lasting up-to 12 hours. Third, decision periods are time compressed and require immediate action in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity. Fourth, at all points in time, the management team needs to manage its cash position carefully to avoid getting into bankruptcy.
The course should be of particular interest to those interested in managing a startup or corporate venture where achieving growth through some combination of globalization and innovation is critical. This environment enables participants to experientially learn the key skills and competencies that will let them hit the ground running when they execute on their own venture idea or join a high-growth venture’s management team.


Network Strategies

Course Objectives
A firm network is the collection of alliances, close supplier/buyer relations, joint ventures, and other partnerships that a firm has, and the connections that the firm’s partners have with each other and with other firms. Firms use networks to gain capabilities that they prefer not to build through mergers and acquisitions or expansion of their business portfolio. This course is for learning how to go beyond management of individual alliances and to the more demanding and valuable task of managing the network of alliances.

Summary of Course Content
The main goal of the course is to understand how the benefit of each partnership is enhanced when partnerships are managed as a portfolio with the goal of having partnerships work together to give a unique competitive advantage. The course briefly covers individual partnership selection and management, but the main content is development of a network advantage. Building an understanding of the use of network structures specialized for innovation or incremental improvement, and examining network effects on firm prominence are important parts of the course. Growing the network and using the network to start and grow ventures is also important. Familiarity with network evaluation techniques and ability to implement them in a firm is also a course objective.
The course is built on the combination of knowledge, tools, and business contexts, and a central part of the course is the application of the network evaluation tools to a selection of business cases based on participant experiences. Before the start of the course, participants are required to submit a one page note describing a business situation they are familiar with that involves one or more alliances (it can be from own experience but does not have to be). These will be used to form groups, and the groups in turn select which situation to analyse  in preparation for the final half-day presentation of network advantage in concrete business cases.

Learning Outcomes
A participant completing this course should be able to:

  • Know the drivers of the quality of individual partnership matches
  • Analyze a firm network in order to reveal its structure
  • Understand how different network structures may be suitable depending on firm goals for innovation, as well as firm market power and product portfolio
  • Understand how firm networks can be designed to show that the firm is prominent and high quality
  • Use tools for deriving new venture ideas from overlaps in partner strength

This knowledge will be applied both to the cases used in the course and to examples from the participants’ own business experience. At the end of the course, the participants will share their business experiences and analysis of steps forward based on the knowledge from this course.


Your First Hundred Days (YFCD)

The course takes the participants through the experience of acquiring, managing and restructuring a company.
The course demands the practical execution of theory learnt throughout the GEMBA programme; finance, marketing, strategy, organisational behaviour, production and operations management, negotiation, etc.

Summary of Course Content
The Your First Hundred Days (YFCD, the “C” is the Roman numeral for 100) Key Management Challenge (KMC) runs day and night non-stop for three days!
The company is a UK-based manufacturer of mid-to-high range bicycles. With most raw materials and components sourced in China, the firm has many logistical challenges in its supply chain and faces stiff competition on the sales side. This being said, there are opportunities to innovate and grow.
After a preliminary session during which participants negotiate and sign all contracts and covenants associated with the acquisition of the company, the new management team walks into the new company to take over the reins. YFCD takes one through a series of events and crises simulating what one might experience in the real-world after the take-over of a company.
The mission will vary according to the events that occur. Sometimes one will simply have to state to course management (aka the professor(s)) what the management team proposes to do. At other times, the management team will be required to go and do it. Above all, each team needs to react to each situation in such a way as to ensure that the company will succeed in the long run.
The primary modes of communication with the company and the professor(s) (aka course management) will be via a series of Socratic method meetings (i.e. team meetings with the Professor) as well as text, voice and video communications through a web-based Dashboard.
This is not a “simulation exercise” involving the taking of decisions and the feeding of those decisions into a computer programme. YFCD is more in the nature of a “reality show” and real-time role-play, attempting to give the participants the sensation that they are actually living through the first hundred days of a take over of a company. There will be many surprises along the way!
The entire course will be executed with participants split into management teams of four or five participants.
Each team comprises:

  • CEO
  • Production Director
  • Finance Director
  • Sales & Marketing Director
  • Human Resources Director

In the event that there are insufficient numbers of students to form a team of five, individual members of the team will be required to function in multiple roles. As one would when purchasing a company out in the world, the team composition should be wisely considered. It is recommended that you choose your role based on your strengths, not on a hope of strengthening your weaknesses (e.g., if you are uncomfortable with finance, choosing to be the finance director so that you can “practice” may cause your team’s performance to suffer). Once accepted into the course each team member will stay in that role throughout the duration of the course unless otherwise decided by course management. YFCD will test the broad spectrum of what each participant knows and has learned at INSEAD and in his or her career thus far. As with the purchase of a company, taking YFCD demands a commitment.

Learning Outcomes
A participant completing this course will have had practical experience:

  • Negotiating the acquisition of a company
  • Managing the day-to-day operations of a company
  • Building a short, medium and long term financial cash flow model
  • Designing and executing a restructuring plan for a troubled company
  • Crafting and presenting a corporate strategy
  • Working under pressure in a team and resolving team conflict
  • Managing human resource recruitment and downsizing

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