Making a difference with the International Consultancy Project
A cornerstone of the Executive MBA, the International Consultancy Project is a marathon within a marathon that, despite the challenging moments, is one of the most rewarding parts of the programme.
What do digital pathology, an innovation platform for intrapreneurship, and the scaling up of sustainable cooking have in common? All three served as the subject of the Executive MBA’s International Consultancy Project or ICP, a vital component of the programme’s in-depth curriculum. During this milestone project, participants tackle complex problems, but as with many business challenges, the ICP starts with a simple question: “how can we make this endeavour better?” After all, the ultimate motivation of a person who chooses to embark on the ESCP EMBA journey is how they can improve their lives and the lives of others through business. To gain an inside look at the ICP, we spoke with Marjorie Zablith (Class of 2021), Frederic Doucene (Class of 2018) and Claire du Colombier (Class of 2020) about their experiences.
A MARATHON WITHIN A MARATHON
One could argue that the ICP is the culmination of the EMBA programme. With a team of around five participants, the goal is to address a real-world business issue by applying the skills and expertise acquired throughout the EMBA and deliver actionable recommendations to a sponsoring client or prepare a sound business plan for an entrepreneurial idea. The project spans an entire year and runs parallel to the core courses, electives, international seminars, conferences, and other programme events. The ICP is a marathon within a marathon that, despite challenging moments, is one of the most rewarding parts of the EMBA. As Frederic Doucene said, “it is a transformational experience because it is an experience of collaboration over a long period of time, on a project that matters to you, with people from different horizons, cultures and languages. This is the true value of the ICP.”
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND THE ICP
Frederic Doucene’s ICP became part of the Executive MBA process. Indeed, funnl. was the platform used by the academic and coordinating team to manage the ICPs from start to finish, particularly helpful during the pandemic when live pitches were not possible. First presented by Kate Tratten to the 2018 cohort, the idea of a tool to help startups improve their success rate evolved into a SaaS that promotes, facilitates and guides innovation within existing companies and institutions. Along with Kate Tratten and Frederic Doucene, Adrian Fuerea is one of the three original EMBA members that co-founded the company. For Doucene, this project represented a fundamental shift in his professional life from a traditional career in finance to his first experience with entrepreneurship. He continues to help the programme administration with the evolution of the platform.
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE WITHIN YOUR COMPANY
The variety of projects pitched within a single cohort reflects the diversity of each class and their professional experiences. While the ICP can help discover unexpected career paths, it can also be a vehicle to take ownership of a new position within a participant’s company. Three months into her EMBA, Marjorie Zablith started a new position at Leica Biosystems as EMEA Marketing Director. She took advantage of the ICP to onboard faster and more efficiently within her new company by proposing and leading a project that addressed marketing and strategic hurdles in the use of digital pathology for cancer tissue diagnostic. “What we were finding out was actually following current conversations with my manager, [the project sponsor], and current strategic initiatives within Leica Biosystems,” said Marjorie Zablith. Her manager participated in the final jury and was exceedingly positive with her feedback.
For Claire du Colombier, who was already firmly established in her company Engie, the stakes were different when it came to the Clean Cooking project she brought to the EMBA. The ICP was the opportunity to work across departments on an innovation project that aligned with her values personally: increased access to sustainable energy and the importance of promoting energy transition especially given the challenges we face as a global society. Beyond the significance of working on a project with both business and societal ambitions, a highlight of the experience for Claire du Colombier was the synergy she experienced with her EMBA team, a dynamic she now strives to replicate as a manager. She shares the following advice with future participants of the EMBA: “Choose a subject that truly motivates you because you’re in it for the long haul. Make sure that the interests of all stakeholders–the client, ESCP, and the EMBA team–intersect and align. Promote your project to other members of the ESCP cohort because when you communicate, you exist.”