Why launching a startup after my MBA at IESE Business School?

Launching a startup is hard, but is at least as much intense and fun as studying an MBA. After two years going through the intensity of the MBA program, you’re ready to go on the next journey, the entrepreneurial one !

machine-learning

Pre-MBA / Pre-startup life

My background is in computer sciences engineering. I have been mainly working in tech before my MBA. During 7 years I have hopped from developer to software architect in different companies and different industries. I was clearly taking the career path of a IT technical expert.

During that period I realized to what extent IT is something that everyone wants but only few are the ones that are really good at it. Nowadays, coding schools are popping out because there is such a need. Also I realized that many people have startup ideas, but from all the ideas that people have, only few end up really being implemented for lots of good reasons (no time, no skills, no team, no money, …). Then I thought, but why am I not moving forward with a couple of ideas? In the end, I’m the technical guy, I should be able to build them.

I quickly realized that, in order to launch a successful startup, it takes much more than just having the technical skills. Then I realized that an MBA would be the right path for me in order to learn the skills that I was missing and get the international exposure to grow big. In particular, the IESE Business School with its MBA was clearly standing out and offering much more than many other programs for general management and entrepreneurship.

MBA-Conundrum

The MBA atmosphere

In 2015 I enrolled in the IESE Business School MBA in Barcelona for an amazing jouney. During two years I got immersed in an extremely different environment than the one I had been confronted before. Switching from developer and engineer collegues to business men with so many different backgrounds and cultures. It has been for me a transformational experience in many ways, but primarily in the frame of mind. Actually I realized that my premise of requiring technical skills to launch a startup was wrong… you actually need much more skills: business, finance, management, HR, … and actually every entrepreneur is lacking at least a couple of them. What you really need is the passion, the capacity to learn fast and more importantly, to gather the right people around you.

During the second year of the MBA I saw a lot of different companies coming on campus to recruit. They all seemed really nice with very competitive salaries and interesting jobs … but also very intense recruitement processes because lots of students want those jobs. At some point I really questioned myself about the path I was taking. Is it really reasonable to try the startup path after an MBA while so many great offers will probably never seem so close? Yes clearly, it takes a lot of motivation not to apply and stay aligned with your objective when you have all this FOMO around.

startup-creation

I felt that there was something missing in all those jobs. It felt like I would have to report to other people, have a determined career path and so many constraints I didn’t want to go for right away. Moreover, one of my main motivation is to have ownership on the impact that I have on people, profit and planet… how can I have ownership if my boss and my boss’s boss are actually telling me that this is what I should do. How can I stay creative and decide myself the path to take?

Something very big is happening in the world this decade, so many things are changing very fast. When you’re stuck in a job, you lose the agility to react to those changes and adapt. I feel that so many big companies are continuing business as usual because it’s the only thing they know… and the few employees that want to instill a change often struggle to get their voice to the decision power. I also feel that coming from a top business school, we also have the responsibility to give back what have receive in the form of impact, this is why launching a startup felt right for me at this moment.

Stylicist-logo

Launching my startup: Stylicist S.L.

So my co-founder, Manish Jindal, and me just spent the summer working hard on the first release of our product. Stylicist was registered to the tax authorities a few weeks ago and we’re now a few days before the launch of our beta-release. Don’t hesitate to join asap if you want to follow us.

We believe that the fashion industry is stuck in a state of mind of consumption. So much marketing is spent on making you buy more and more… when does it stops? We feel that the system is broken. At every corner you hear about climate change, pollution and green initiative. Meanwhile in fashion, we’re still stuck in the good old way of doing stuff: purchase – use – dispose! We all know that the « use » part is often not to the whole capacity of usage of the piece of fashion.

Stylicist-app

Therefor we decided to implement the circular economy in this value chain and explore where we could improve. It felt immediately right to extend the lifetime of a piece of clothing, but also to guarantee it’s disposal in the right way. Thus we decided to assist the final user in the management of their wardrobe in order to optimize and make the best use of their closet during the complete lifetime of the items.

Now we’re all set and launching soon !! Follow us to know more about Stylicist:

How cybersecurity is playing a role in global geopolitics – ProtonMail case

Global context – Why cybersecurity is more important than ever?

Terrorism, with its footprint in global scale from 9/11 in New York to ISIS Paris attacks, has put security the top issue of governments worldwide. The Paris attacker’s final text message claiming the start of the attacks, which was founded in the phone dumped near to the attacked place, is a strong argument for strengthening cybersecurity and building up national surveillance.

However, the pervasive secret surveillance programs have given rise to the debate on privacy and the legitimacy of such programs to allow governments to collect private data of citizens, as well as foreigners in some cases, who are not suspected of any connection to terrorism or any wrongdoing. PRISM, the top classified program, is the largest surveillance initiated by the President Bush after 9/11. The whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who was a former NSA (National Security Agency) contractor, has risked his career and life to challenge the privacy as one of the fundamental human rights in the digital age. He revealed that the NSA was not only scanning suspicious Americans, but virtually everyone that was communicating on the network.

It’s been nearly three months since Edward Snowden started telling the world about the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance of global communications. But the latest disclosures, by the Guardian, New York Times, and ProPublica are perhaps the most profound yet: the N.S.A. and its partner agency in the United Kingdom, the Government Communications Headquarters, possess significant capabilities to circumvent widely used encryption software in order to access private data. (The New Yorker: How the N.S.A. Cracked the web)

Email, as one of the most important communications channel, has gained a lot of attention in the US presidential campaign in 2017. Especially, the Clinton’s email scandal and Wikileaks about her emails have accelerated the debates about security and privacy. Yet, regardless of the scandal, both Clinton and Trump stated in the campaign that cybersecurity would be top issue to address in their presidential agenda: how to work with tech companies to protect cross-border data flow without jeopardizing citizens’ privacy.

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Business management for human beings

Building companies fit for the future is building companies for human beings

Employee centric management

Management innovation can only be done by challenging current approaches. How many times did you heard about « customer first », « customer is king », … Are we sure this is the only way? Is this always the right way? It is certainly a good way to do business because it has been proven by lots of successful businesses.

What about the employee? Do we care about him? Why is « burnout » employees the new normal? Why do most companies squeeze their human resources as much as possible before changing them? What is the root of this problem? Maybe they squeeze their employees because they know that their employees will leave at some point … why? Because we don’t care about them !!

What if one tries to put the employee first? A happy employee will do a better work and serve the customer better. He will also stay longer, keep and develop his knowledge and develop confidence around him about the product. Worth trying huh!?

Well apparently this is something that some companies start to try. And I think it could become a new standard !! There is no reason to continue squeezing employees … there is no reason working becomes unhealthy !! Have a look at the video below to get convinced 🙂

Have also a look on some interesting comments in the feed of the video here.

Business creativity

But what about motivation? Most common beliefs are that the more you reward people, the more people will be motivated. And this is apparently true, but not in any situation. This is only true for mechanical tasks. When it comes to creativity, it’s another story.

Surprisingly money don’t make people more creative !! You have to give them free time and confort ! So guess what? We are again speaking about caring about your employees if you want more creativity in your work environment. This is aligned !!

So keep in mind that customer satisfaction is key for business, but employee satisfaction is key for survival !! Which one is the most important? I don’t know ! But make sure you keep both on top of your priorities as a business leader.