Q&A with Carisa Mann, Entrepreneur and ESSEC EMBA Alumna

Entrepreneurship is a common interest among ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA (EMBA) Asia-Pacific participants, who may be looking to enter the startup or venture capital world with the skills they gain from their course. Some may even go on to set up their own businesses.

The EMBA program includes an entrepreneurial project designed to promote innovation and help participants to practice the skills they learn in class. It enables participants to test an entrepreneurial idea through the creation of a new business or the development of a product or market in an existing company.

Beyond the curriculum, ESSEC’s Asia-Pacific campus facilitates regular talks and seminars with high-level speakers from the startup and venture capital world. All full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students have to complete internships as part of their program requirements and can tap on ESSEC’s incubator to gain insights into the start-up world. As an ESSEC alumnus, you will join a global corporate network of over 62,000 leaders -- your future mentors, employers, or even co-founders.

Finally, what better location than Singapore to be based with a startup career in mind?  Singapore remains one of the world’s top hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship: tech start-ups here raised US$3.7 billion in 2020. ESSEC Ventures, the on-campus student incubator in Cergy, offers monitoring, co-working space, and events.

We catch up with Carisa Mann, who graduated from the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA from the Asia-Pacific campus in 2018. Today, she is the founder of three successful startups. She tells us about her experience and how ESSEC helped her launch her ventures. 


How did your Executive MBA at ESSEC prepare you to become an entrepreneur?

I had the business idea for my first venture (greenPLACE) during the application process for the EMBA, sparked by the question of a professor during the jury. So ESSEC inspired me before I was even accepted to the course! 

 What skills did you learn that were relevant to what you do now?

Many of the skills are very practical as an entrepreneur - from dealing with insane workloads to negotiation. One of the best things of doing the EMBA while building a business is that in many areas, I was able to immediately implement what I learned. 

What support does ESSEC provide to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Part of the EMBA is an entrepreneurship project, which provides tools and practical experience in developing a business idea, like a course in design thinking.

(How) did you leverage your ESSEC network to get started as a founder?

In my newest venture (Growth Squad Consulting), my Founding Partner is an ESSEC alumna from my course.

What would your advice to current ESSEC students considering a career in the startup space be?

Listen really well in the ethics class. Perfect choices are impossible and when traveling into unchartered territory it is important to make your decisions based on the best available information combined with your own values. And remember that everyone is doing the same thing before you judge their choices.


Interested in the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA Asia-Pacific program? 

Please fill out the form on the right to receive by email the link to download the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA Asia-Pacific brochure.


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