Mr. Meige, how do entrepreneurship and innovation inspire you? There are many claims that entrepreneurs don’t need to go to business school. What is your experience?

Innovation and entrepreneurship are closely related. I have been an entrepreneur since I was a teenager. I have always been driven by innovation. And actually to the point that it did not fit into the education system: innovators ask new questions, whereas at school we generally learned how to answer questions posed as quickly as possible.

By 2030, 50% of the largest companies we know today will have disappeared. The survivors are those who will have transformed themselves - transformed not only through their products and services, but also as a whole. Innovation and entrepreneurial mind-sets are the keys to transformation and to overcoming the ongoing disruptions. But for that, you have to learn to ask the right questions.

How would you present the Télécom Ecole de Management’s Executive MBA programme in a single sentence?

The Executive MBA “Leading Innovation in a Digital World” is the first open MBA programme that is training managers who will be among the survivors. They will be the commando teams across silos – managers who will be asking the right questions.

How would you describe Télécom Ecole de Management to our international audience, so that they can visualise it and find out if they belong there? What is the history of the school, what type of programmes does it offer, how many and what mix of students are there on campus? What is the expertise and background of the faculty?

Created in 1979, Télécom Ecole de Management (TEM) is the Business School of Institut Mines- Télécom – the largest group of engineering schools in France under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry. The School offers a complete portfolio of programmes - Bachelors, Masters, International Masters and Specialised Masters as well as an Executive MBA.

TEM trains future managers and entrepreneurs to be responsible, innovative and open to the world around them and to lead their organisations in major transformations for tomorrow’s society: digitalised economy, energy and ecological transition, new business models and future industry.

TEM is unique in that the school shares its campus and its programmes with Télécom SudParis, an engineering school in the IT sector. TEM offers students a unique training experience throughout all its programmes. They have first-hand experience of working closely with engineering students, designing, discovering and managing innovation. The campus provides a complete set of facilities and training activities dedicated to innovation with an on-site Incubator.

Check out: Télécom Ecole de Management EMBA Programme (Video)

Does the name of the school – Télécom – mean that all programmes are somehow focused on telecommunications and technology?

No, not really. The school is called “Télécom” for historical reasons. Télécom Ecole de Management is the Business School of the group Institut Mines-Télécom. Participants in the Executive MBA programme will find all the traditional courses that are found in MBAs, but with a twist: the focus is on innovation and digital transformation. For example the HR class will help the participants to ask themselves all the questions they should have in mind when designing their innovative organisation. We may speak about digital technologies, but not for their technological aspects – the disruption that they bring to the world will be our focus. For example, if we are to speak about blockchains, we will consider governance implications.

The Télécom Ecole de Management’s Executive MBA “Leading Innovation in a Digital World” is a programme accredited by some of the most reputable institutions in the field of business and specialised education – AACSB, USA, the Association of MBAs, UK, and the French Conference de Grandes Ecoles (CGE). This is a stamp of the high standard and quality of education. Can you tell us more about the programme’s curriculum?

We are focusing on both innovation and digital transformation. In other words, we give all the elements that our participants need to understand the massive disruptive trends that are currently reshaping the world, as well as the tools to ask themselves the right questions when designing their innovative organisation.

The programme has an executive format, i.e. 1 week of class every 5 weeks, over 18 months. It is structured around 3 international learning expeditions (USA, Europe and Asia). Each country is chosen for its local specificities vis-à-vis innovation. The programme covers all the classic dimensions of business (HR, corporate finance, marketing etc.) in a context of innovation management and disrupted value chains. We train our participants to work across silos, and not only among managers. For example, all the courses take place in one of the leading co-working sites in France, gathering together over 300 entrepreneurs and artists. Not just to feel the ambiance, but also to collaborate with them.

“Leading Innovation in a Digital World” is a global Executive MBA programme. How does Télécom Ecole de Management provide the global aspect during the MBA studies?

The Institut Mines-Télécom Executive MBA is international:

  • International participants (although mostly Paris-based)
  • International professors and speakers
  • International learning expeditions (USA, Europe and Asia)

The Executive MBA programme welcomes professionals who have a solid start to their careers and have over five years of work experience. What is the next level to which the Télécom Ecole de Management’s EMBA takes them? What are your students’ aspirations and how does the programme help and guide them in their career growth?

Our Executive MBA is about transformation – transforming the participants and transforming organisations to be among the survivors.

The transformation of the participants occurs in the following aspects:

  • knowledge: understand the massive trends reshaping and disrupting the world;
  • mind-set: learn how to work across silos, not only with other managers, but with designers, engineers, etc.
  • leadership: boost leadership through class and situational workshops

The Executive MBA is aimed at “ambitious executives” and “leaders of innovative projects”. Please, share some examples to illustrate these definitions.

During the EMBA, two of our participants created their own ventures. They raised a few hundred thousand euros to fuel their growth. One aims at providing a complete new online experience to gamers. The other focuses on offering a new experience watching movies aboard aeroplanes. Her company is now backed by the Y Incubator, the very one that welcomed Dropbox. Following the EMBA, another graduate created a company to grow vegetables and produce food products in Algeria.

One of our EMBA students was hired as innovation VP by one of the largest providers of network equipment in Europe. Many of our graduates are now considering creating new companies, or innovation departments within the large companies they currently work for, based on their exposure to innovation, start-ups and international business trips.

Are there enough aspiring women business leaders in the field of innovation? What is the diversity of the Télécom Ecole de Management’s EMBA class – in terms of nationalities, cultures, educational and career backgrounds, career objectives - and how does it nurture the spirit of innovation?

There are never enough women business leaders. Although we would like to reach parity, we have around 30% women among our participants. To increase this ratio to 50%, we have set up a dedicated grant for female candidates. We also try to have parity among our speakers and professors. It is crucial because innovation was born in diversity – diversity across silos, across cultures, but also across genders.

It is not common for business schools to offer scholarships for EMBA programmes, yet Télécom Ecole de Management does. Who does the school want to encourage with the scholarship programme?

There are four different scholarships we offer at TEM: Women in Leadership, International Travellers, Digital Entrepreneurs and Excellence.

The Women in Leadership scholarship aims at encouraging women to be leaders and drive innovation.

The International Travellers scholarship aims at encouraging international participants to enrol in the EMBA programme and participate actively.

The Digital Entrepreneurs scholarship aims at encouraging participants already engaged in innovation or eager to create their own ventures.

The Excellence scholarship aims at accompanying participants with an excellent track record.

What is really unique about Télécom Ecole de Management’s EMBA? What is it that cannot be found in other business schools in France, in Europe or elsewhere in the world?

In today’s world, all large organisations, regardless of which industries they operate in, face one question. This question is: how can we imagine having the agility of a start-up while having tens or even hundreds of thousands of employees? Small agile commando-style entities working across silos are the only entities that can survive in a very rapidly changing environment. I want our candidates to learn how to work like that. I want the MBA itself to be like a start-up.

What do you personally like most about Télécom Ecole de Management’s EMBA? If you were to study for an EMBA why would you consider the “Leading Innovation in a Digital World”?

What we have sought from the EMBA since its inception is to offer participants a unique experience to challenge today’s world. In society as a whole, organisations are facing tremendous challenges fuelled by the massive adoption of disruptive technologies. We need leaders able to understand and cope with those challenges. Throughout the programme our participants are faced with innovation – during classes, for their projects, during our international business trips and meetings with innovative leaders. They are able to understand and apprehend the challenges, discuss issues, concerns and solutions with managers face-to-face. And on top of that, they have to defend their own innovative project before a demanding jury. Also, we offer them individual coaching throughout the programme.

We designed the programme in this way because we are convinced that we need to help people to change the world. Innovation is fuelling the change, so we need a new generation of leaders. As a manager, I know I have to understand what is happening, I need to be open to new challenges, I know I have to ask many people a lot of questions, and above all, I know that I have to gather the right team, with complementary skills, competencies and experiences to be able to tackle new challenges. I do believe our EMBA is the solution because it will enable me to apprehend challenges, to design potential innovative solutions and to create new ventures.

As the Télécom Ecole de Management’s EMBA programme director, entrepreneur and innovator, how do you want to see this programme develop?

Our goal is to select diverse EMBA classes of between 35 and 40 aspiring innovators and business leaders. The right student mix and the size of the class strike an excellent balance between a tailor-made programme and effective networking opportunities.