Learning Expedition to Silicon Valley: What One Global MBA Student Gained From His Entrepreneurship Track

Written on 15 May 2019.


A unique feature of the Global MBA programme at EDHEC is the specialisation track. Participants choose one in-depth elective (Leadership, Finance, Digital Innovation or Entrepreneurship) - according to their post - MBA goals and interests and each track has a one week learning expedition to give a truly international, hands-on experience.

Renato Figueroa decided to follow the Entrepreneurship Track which included a learning expedition to San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. Here Renato explains why he chose the track and gives his own insights into the trip.

"It was an amazing week in San Francisco as part of the Entrepreneurship Track with great learnings and insights! We had the opportunity to meet start-ups, tech companies, venture capital funds, and other players that form the Silicon Valley ecosystem and that foster innovation in the region." – Renato Figueroa, EDHEC Global MBA Alumnus

Renato, why did you choose to do the Entrepreneurship Track?

I always had the idea to start my own company and Silicon Valley is renowned for both the quantity and quality of innovation. So the Entrepreneurship Track was the right fit for me because it also included courses on how to start a company as well as the opportunity to visit big companies such as Google and Facebook. For me, the decision was really easy.

What was the best thing about the track for you?

The best thing is to understand fully how  the ecosystem of Silicon Valley actually works. It is composed mainly of three parties: the startups, the equity funds and the universities. Each part is key to providing business ideas, money and people. Once we understand how it works, we have a clearer path if in the future we would need funding. We made contacts there that can be useful for our ventures. For example, I accidentally met in the airport with the CEO of one the startups that pitched in Plug & Play. We exchanged our cards and he left with the idea that I could be a useful contact in South America.

Which companies did you visit?

The whole trip was an amazing experience – we had the opportunity to meet and interact with over 20 companies and organisations. I really appreciated the visits and insights into Google and Plug & Play. In the case of Google, we met 2 EDHEC alumni who gave us an in-depth look into the company and the culture. The explanation about how Google (Alphabet) works is what I really liked the most. It is like having several companies ruled as startups under a big holding. The meeting with Plug and Play gave us a strong view of their operations and how they allocate investments – we also got the opportunity to attend a pitching session for several startups. This was a fantastic real-life learning experience listening to 10 startups presenting their business ideas and asking for funds.

How would you describe the whole trip in 3 words?

Innovation, connections, hard work.

Renato Figueroa is an EDHEC Global MBA 2019 graduate. Originally from Peru, he has extensive sales management experience in the electrical industry.

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Read the related article: Discover 5 Reasons why an MBA is a good choice for Entrepreneurs

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