Something you might notice throughout ESCP’s portfolio of master programmes is the chance to do an internship or apprenticeship, pitch an idea to entrepreneurs, or even take part in a real-world consulting project.
Our master programmes all count on various opportunities outside the classroom to deliver multidimensional learning to students. The goal is to enrich students’ academic journeys, by cultivating awareness, sparking ideas and motivation, and inviting them to apply the knowledge they’ve acquired to concrete business contexts.
Learning expeditions, or trips to learn about relevant business topics in a specific environment, are another way to reach this educational mission. ESCP students have gone far and wide on expeditions — throughout Europe and to cities on other continents — and they’re a favorite for the hands-on experience and subject deep-dive they enable.
These so-called field trips reflect ESCP’s objective to train students to work in an international setting. They are also about “creating a wide range of learning opportunities and inspiring students to go above and beyond the curriculum,” says Professor Martin Kupp, the academic director of the Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ESCP. “Expeditions can be a powerful way to achieve this.”
A must in an entrepreneurial setting
Indeed, expeditions are particularly powerful in an entrepreneurial setting. Any student of entrepreneurship will learn that the ability for new business to flourish is a function of the distinct elements in a city or region, be it culture and norms, access to capital, policies, physical infrastructure, etc. No entrepreneurship ecosystem is exactly like another because of social and economic conditions. “It is important to understand the actors and the dynamics of these entrepreneurial ecosystems,” says Professor Kupp. “And what better way to do this than by experiencing it first hand?”
Then there is simply the chance to discover what is possible in the world of entrepreneurship, to plant seeds for inspiration. “A powerful source of entrepreneurial opportunities is simply to compare markets and look for similarities and differences,” explains Dr. Matthas Mrozewski, assistant professor and Chair for International Entrepreneurship at ESCP Berlin Campus. “Why not sell a product which exists in Germany also in Poland?”
A customised expedition in Warwaw
Learning expeditions to start-up hubs usually have jam-packed and varied programming over a few days or a week, depending on the destination. Students can expect visits to a range of companies, talks with academics and business leaders, and events with local stakeholders such as founders, investors, and incubator representatives.
A group of students from the Option E (Entrepreneurship) specialisation of the Master in Management programme recently traveled to Warsaw to learn more about the Polish capital’s burgeoning startup scene. While not as well-known of a hub as London or Berlin, Warsaw is a vibrant metropolis that attracts a great deal of entrepreneurial interest and resources, which was one of the themes of the learning expedition. Students visited startups, co-working spaces, innovation centers, accelerators, and software houses, all of which provided a well-rounded view into the Warsaw ecosystem.
A way to build your personal and professional network
It’s not all strictly business, however.
For those hoping to one day be entrepreneurs (or succeed in any field), exposure and knowledge is not the only thing they’ll need. Networking is a critical part of the task, a skill that can pay off tremendously down the road. In a learning expedition, students will meet, on average, 15-20 of the key actors of a specific entrepreneurial ecosystem, like founders, venture capitalists, or policy makers.
In addition, the students on these field trips get to know each other well. “What I observe after an expedition is that team dynamics are much better than compared to those cohorts that did not have a field trip,” says Professor Mrozewski. Learning expeditions help in creating connections that last well beyond the actual excursion and making the trip fulfilling on an academic as well as a personal level.