The EMLyon MBA: What You Need To Know
There’s more to France than Paris. In the south of the country is Lyon, whose business school emlyon is attached to one of the country’s elite “grandes ecoles.” Its International MBA might appeal to those who want to spend their 12 months in a smaller, but still very French, city.
Unusually, around 40% of emlyon’s IMBA students have a STEM background, testament to the thriving biotech ecosystem around Lyon. Around 20% of the 40-some students are from France and 10% from the rest of Europe. Because some electives are shared with the executive MBA program, which has a far more Gallic profile, the IMBA cohort gets the benefit of their local knowledge.
Emlyon prides itself on offering a very practical MBA, the centerpiece of which is arguably the seven-month Entrepreneurial Leadership Project, during which students work either as consultants for a business or in their own startup. New business creation is also at the heart of the emlyon philosophy: the school boasts a successful incubator that has created or supported over 1,000 companies. The school says these businesses have a five-year survival rate of 80%.
The emlyon IMBA also includes two learning trips, which recently have featured a design factory in Finland where students worked on a project that they pitched to the company’s board; and the UN in Geneva to learn how international bodies operate and to give an insight into global trade and human rights. The IMBA also offers exchanges to partner universities to schools in China, Silicon Valley, Germany, Italy, India, and more, all with a specific focus — tech in California, SMEs in Germany and Italy, and “mindset shift” in India, for example.
In the second half of the course, students can take 35 electives, which are grouped into seven streams: digitization, entrepreneurship, strategy, marketing, finance, bioscience, and luxury. On graduation, 65% of the most recent cohort stayed in France, including 16% in or around Lyon; 21% went into an “entrepreneurial situation.”
Rhoda Davidson, MBA Director
Our MBA gives our students competences, but also the confidence to use their knowledge in the work environment. We give them lots of chances to put their expertise into practice in businesses, especially working with a lot of the companies based in and around Lyon, and in Paris where we have a campus. We produce leaders with an innovation mentality. All the projects they work on are about transforming the future, whether that is in a large business or a startup. We attract people with an innovation and entrepreneurship mindset, and that is the thread that runs through our courses.
Rebeca Hernandez, Costa Rica, MBA 2018
I wanted to move into a more general business role and I knew that I wanted to go abroad. I had studied French, so I thought an MBA was a good opportunity to immerse myself in the culture and improve my language skills. Some of the French MBAs have a finance slant, but emlyon seemed broader and the idea of working closely with a business during the MBA appealed. And the project was excellent. I worked for an SME in a sector that was new to me, so it was a great experience. The company really treated our group as part of their team. With 38 people, the cohort was small, but had 20 nationalities — and the size means the professors really get to know you. Sharing some electives with the EMBA class was also very valuable as they are more experienced, but also because they are mostly French and they have a great network of French businesses you can plug into.