100k on offer to MBA entrepreneurs

IMD is offering a new grant of CHF100,000 (c$103k) for winners of the school’s MBA start-up competition, reports Tim Banerjee Dhoul

A grant of 100,000 CHF (c. $103k USD) is on offer to MBA entrepreneurs at IMD each year as part of the School’s new startup competition. 

Having submitted proposals over the summer, the winner of the inaugural IMD MBA Venture Award is set to be announced this month, September 2022. At the time of writing, 11 current MBA candidates (from an enrolled class of 104) had submitted their intent to apply across nine projects. 

The new annual grant comes courtesy of Thierry Maupilé, a serial entrepreneur and MBA alumnus of IMD’s predecessor institution, IMEDE, who is currently Chief of Business and Product Strategy at Japanese venture company, Rakuten Symphony. 

‘The last thing that you want to do as an entrepreneur is to worry about money,’ said Maupilé, who has previously played key roles at US tech startups that include IPWireless and Altiostar as well as at Motorola. 

In addition to the prize fund on offer in the new MBA Venture Award, the winning candidate(s) will receive mentoring from Maupilé, as well as two IMD professors, Jim Pulcrano and Benoit Leleux, for a period of 12 months. Selecting the final winner, meanwhile, will be a jury of Maupilé, Pulcrano, Omar Toulan – Dean of the IMD MBA programme – and at least one external venture capitalist.

‘IMD provides a lot of tools and skills but more importantly the right mindset. In a startup venture you have to be ready for the roller coaster ride. There will be phases of excitement and of depression. It’s not just a linear trajectory. I’ve really learned and used what I’ve experienced at IMD,’ said Maupilé. 

For the last 24 years, IMD has run a rather different startup competition, in which Swiss ventures from outside the School are selected to work with either the IMD MBA or one of its EMBA classes as part of their programme learning. Around 40% of the TOP 100 Swiss Startups 2021 were found to have worked with IMD MBAs or EMBAs, according to the School.

This article is adapted from one which originally appeared in Ambition – the magazine of the Association of MBAs.

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