Executive Master in Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurial Leadership (EMDIEL)
Meet the Alumni: Ümit Eroglu, Class of 2020
Ümit is currently working as Head of Growth at VisioLab and he agreed to an interview with us to shed some light on his experience at ESCP and how it helped him pursue a professional path that truly fulfils him.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? What is your current professional situation?
I’m currently the Head of Growth at VisioLab where I work with the founding team to scale up a stellar-growing company. I’m also mentoring several founders on how to grow startups and on building products in the early days.
My entrepreneurial muscles are also busy. I'm building startups and making various bets myself, focusing on SaaS businesses. At the moment, I’m launching two new products.
I’ve worked in the startup world and in large enterprises, so I’m familiar with both worlds. And I am much happier in the startup world. It’s the place to truly have an impact and grow.
Why did you choose the EMDIEL? Did you have specific goals or a general idea of how you wanted to evolve?
My professional journey first led me through a corporate environment, then the startup world. But, my goal was always to follow the path to becoming an entrepreneur. At the same time, I had an interest in a valuable and accredited academic degree. The EMDIEL was the best of both worlds.
I can say confidently that it changed my life. Because it provided me with the missing pieces to pursue the path that I wanted.
Can you share with us a memorable experience from the programme that has impacted your life in the long run?
The moments in which we met inspirational founders stuck with me. From San Francisco to Shanghai, we heard amazing entrepreneurs speak about their paths. They all had different contexts for entrepreneurship. Their respective cultures and surroundings influenced their entrepreneurial journeys.
But I also saw the common denominator between an entrepreneur in Paris and in Shanghai. It’s the desire to find solutions to problems and make the world a little bit better for people. It’s also the desire to use entrepreneurship as a vehicle to better their own lives. They are all willing to take on crazy adventures with high highs and very low lows.
So yes, I have strong memories of all the people that take up this challenge and leave their comfort zone. No matter where in the world they are.
Could you tell us what was the most difficult challenge you faced during the programme?
It’s the mirror you’re holding up to yourself when working on an entrepreneurial project. It’s looking in the mirror and asking yourself, “What progress have I made on my venture?"
It’s the brutal honesty and transparency that you have to have about yourself. You have to acknowledge that you might be stuck and think about what you are willing to do to overcome obstacles. Everyday.
Nonetheless, it was a good challenge, one that developed me for the better
What are your main takeaways from the EMDIEL? Were you expecting them, or did they come as a surprise?
My main takeaway is that it’s all about the actions that you take. It’s funny that something that is usually theoretical is actually doing the opposite to you. Constant loops of actions and reflection are exactly what entrepreneurship needs from you. It’s what everyone talks about as lean methods. It’s the actions that keep the world running and it's the reflections that change things for the better.
How did the programme boost your professional success?
It gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed about entrepreneurship. I am using that knowledge in all the things that I’m doing today. It helps me to put things in context and develop a perspective on everything that happens. I use that skill set to help founders to get to where they deserve to be with the hard work they’re putting in.
How is the project developed during the EMDIEL doing right now?
I killed my first project. I learned what it means to detach yourself from your ideas and kill them when they are not great. Then I started the next one. And then the next one. Because it’s never about the last project. It’s always about the next one. And the next one. And the next one. You’ve got to start something when you end something. That’s my life loop.
In retrospect, speaking of time management between your work versus the five modules - e.g. assignments, trips, etc - what would you do differently?
I would do it the same way again. I never felt like it was something I had to manage. I was doing this programme out of interest. I enjoyed the reading and writing assignments. I always felt like it was a very giving experience. The trips were pure joy. Things only become an effort when you’re not enjoying them enough.
Which module was your favourite and why? Any favourite speaker or expert during the EMDIEL, and why?
I loved all modules. We visited Berlin, Paris, London, Shanghai and San Francisco. There was not a single place that was not amazing. And on the speakers - I wouldn’t say that any one of them was better than the others. It was the combination of them all. The differences and similarities between them were what made the speaker experience so valuable.
Last but not least, according to your experience, what kind of profile would thrive in this programme?
This programme is perfect for all upcoming entrepreneurs that take entrepreneurship seriously. It’s also good for everyone that wants to make the leap from a corporate world into the startup world.