Review: OEMP Exec Management Program for Entrepreneurs

2012 OEMP participants on the last day of the courseThanks to Sanderyn Amsberg for this review of the OEMP Program. If you've been to an event our community should know about, let us know!

Big businesses have plenty of programs to upgrade and update their managers' knowledge, but small business owners and entrepreneurs usually have to shop around to acquire new skills and professionalism. Up until now!

The leading business school IE, based in Madrid and on a tie with top schools such as Harvard, LBS and INSEAD started a program for business owners and entrepreneurs this year. I attended the Executive Management Training and tested the waters. 

Of course there is a big advantage to doing a business course in Madrid: there are tapas, lovely people and plenty of sun. And, they were there, in abundance. But, there was really very little time for sunshine: the program runs from early morning to late in the evening at an intensity that gets you to shift to the highest gear.

It is packed with highly advanced courses offered by top professors from around the world. In small groups you work on complicated business cases, the newest marketing successes are analyzed and of course there is plenty of attention for new technology, in marketing and in operations. 

Unique in this program is the focus on entrepreneurialism. We were trained in understanding interactions with partners, clients, employees, in decision-making and in negotiating.

Situational leadership course and more

Running a business can be a lonely place where you notice lots of areas that qualify for improvement and finding the right training courses isn't always easy. Thus it was great to find top quality professors coaching on a variety of things. For me the situational leadership course was great. As an entrepreneur you deal with different people very frequently and it is not always easy to assess them quickly.Marta Williams had us practice with different types of personalities in a class and in a quiz. It was a great way to learn to see beyond was is being said and learn how to approach different people.

On a similar note there were a variety of leadership courses where you design and sell a product to a client, negotiate a good deal, learn where your strengths are using the strengths finder or how to market yourself via social media. 

It was not only leadership development on offer, but also courses that are normally available on an executive MBA, such as marketing, organizational development and business management.

Participants running larger businesses were profiting more from organizational development sessions or classes that taught you how to break from the pack. When you are running a successful business you don’t always have time to think about succession planning, or you might not think about new areas of entrepreneurship.

Finance, Supply Chain and Business Process

The OEMP program is designed for people in businesses with a revenue of 2 million or over. This is where business usually shifts from becoming small to becoming mature and organized - and this is where a top quality business school can help to attain extra quality in work processes.

Hence the very challenging Corporate Finance classes, which you will only need if you have a larger company and the very useful supply chain management classes that help you design the supply chain and business process so that you can maximize profits. For example: only once you are up and running can you choose to design your turnover cycle in such a way that your income is earned before your costs are paid for.

Very insightful knowledge for any entrepreneur, but crucial if you are running a business that is maturing. In short, most topics that are run in an executive MBA were on offer here, in a concise way. 

Networking, Ventures Lab, investment readiness sessions, business models

But, it was not only established businesses that were served here. A large part of the program is made to enhance entrepreneurialism and new ventures. There are plenty of networking events with successful entrepreneurs and amazing lunches with some leading investors. IE has a reputation for being a school where entrepreneurialism is given a priority.

The Venture Lab sessions and venture days, where investors come in and students pitch their ideas are an important and recurring part in the school’s curriculum. The ‘investment readiness sessions’ are also an important part of the OEMP program. Two afternoons and evenings per module are dedicated to understanding what a good business model is, how to pitch it and how a valuation works. In addition, there are investor-speakers who reflect on student’s work and there is plenty of opportunity to work out your own business plan in between modules.

An the end of the training, the pitch is for real and some of us indeed got funding to start or continue a business! 

A small group of entrepreneurs from all over the world

t is not only exposure to top quality professors, pitching for real investors, being in a highly professional environment that is so great about this program, it is working with a small group from all over the world and exchanging ideas and making plans. After a year of training, the group of eleven people I worked with became a very close knit, yet global group. When discussing your own business and passion and pitfalls in such an intense container with so few people, not much is left unshared.

From how to stay fit and young whilst running a business, to how to balance life and career, everybody is facing the same or similar challenges and the Spanish tapas culture helps to joke about it after a very busy day. 

The school is offering all the knowledge and access to key business people on a silver plate for participants: we had amazing lunches and afternoon drinks to dress the events and even the breaks. IE makes an outstanding effort to help anyone involved to join as many valuable activities within or outside the school: venture labs, lectures, networking events and even investor trips. To those entrepreneurs who want to broaden or even stretch their boundaries I can highly recommend the training.

IE's next Owners and Entrepreneurs Program (OEMP) is starting in February 2013. For more information contact Stephen Adamson, associate director of executive programs at IE Business School, stephen[dot]adamson[at]ie.edu. 

Sanderyn Amsberg is the CEO of SpaceXS. She was previously a principal at San Francisco-based music start-up Bamm.tv and London based digital media firm Openthread.com. Starting her career with Deloitte, she moved on to smaller international boutique firms specialising in organisational strategy and spatial, creative and workplace strategies. During her years as a consultant she gained Executive Management Degrees from Harvard Business School and IE Business School, adding to her original Masters degrees in Architectural Engineering and International Political Economy. She loves designing and writing, but always investigated into the nature of the design world in the context of global socio-economic phenomena, aiming to make a difference in it. This is the mission of SpaceXS, with the website launching in the next few months.

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