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Tingting Miao and Daniel Bernal Bachiller, EDHEC MBA alumni and business partners, became serial entrepreneurs after their graduation
OCTOBER 13, 2022
Tingting Miao and Daniel Bernal Bachiller became business partners after meeting while studying for an EDHEC Global MBA. After graduating, they became serial entrepreneurs launching two e-commerce startups in the midst of a global pandemic.
They shared with us how the skills, knowledge, and connections they gained at EDHEC Business School allowed them to overcome the challenges of entrepreneurship, from securing enough funding to get their startups off the ground, to building the right team and coping with the pressures of running their businesses.
Daniel, from Colombia, wanted to embark on his entrepreneurial journey, but he felt he missed some key skills, even with his previous experience in finance and data analysis.
“The type of skills I had then were very different to the type of skills I actually needed,” Daniel says, “so that’s why I decided to take a year off for the MBA.”
The EDHEC Global MBA greatly appealed to him, as it offered a 10-month intensive programme, including a 6-month period covering core business fundamentals like strategy, finance, and supply chain and logistics. It gave Daniel a holistic view of business without needing to delay his plans for 18 months or more, like many other MBAs.
His business partner Tingting saw EDHEC’s Global MBA as a chance to try something new after seven years of working as a dispatcher for China Railway Shanghai Group. She’d spent her entire career in China — so studying in France was a chance to experience a new culture, meet new people, and learn a new language.
“I decided to get out of my comfort zone, so that’s why I quit my job and went to France to do an MBA,” she says.
EDHEC students benefit from studying in Nice, a historical city located along the stunning and vibrant French Riviera that’s a hub of art and culture. The program is also ranked in the top four MBAs in Europe and one of the best 20 worldwide, and offers a range of specialisations, including an entrepreneurship track.
“With how good the business school was, the location, and the programme itself; everything made sense for me so I decided to go to EDHEC,” says Daniel.
Tingting and Daniel decided to go into business together after graduating from EDHEC’s Global MBA. They used the entrepreneurial expertise they’d honed through their studies to launch two e-commerce startups. These businesses made use of their connections in their native countries: Flora Colombia ships flowers from Colombia to China and Nimfa de Colombia SAS imports assorted goods from China to Colombia.
The pair not only leaned on lessons learned during their MBA, but also on contacts they’d made during the course. These were invaluable in helping them establish a supply chain from China to Colombia.
They began with flowers — something for which Colombia is renowned and China has a gap in the market — and plan to expand into other areas like coffee and avocados in the future.
Once established, they were also able to use this supply chain from China to ship products back the other way.
“What we are doing is just adapting to local needs, we do market research to see what products to import,” says Daniel. “Using the same supply chain both ways is literally textbook logistics.”
More important than the contacts and knowledge they used, is the entrepreneurial mindset Tingting and Daniel developed during the MBA.
“The attitude is something that totally differentiates us from other people doing business in Colombia, we are more willing to take controlled risks and experiment than other people,” says Daniel.
“What the MBA was really good at was showing how to organise yourself mentally to develop a startup and make it happen.”
An MBA is an excellent choice for current and aspiring entrepreneurs alike. Of the startups founded in the US over the last 10 years, one-third had a founder with an MBA.
An MBA can help you build your network, learn how to launch a business, gain the tools necessary for excelling in leadership, growing and managing a business, and will help build other skills that are vital for becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Along with entrepreneurship, a quality MBA from a recognised institution like EDHEC can open up a range of exciting global career opportunities, making graduates attractive candidates.
Both Tingting and Daniel enrolled in the EDHEC Global MBA’s entrepreneurship specialisation track, where they were grouped with like-minded budding entrepreneurs for a month.
There they developed their own business plans and pitched them to a panel of experts. Being grouped with other similarly focused people created the perfect environment to develop entrepreneurial skills, according to Tingting.
“The track is very well organised, it changed me from being a person without any knowledge, to someone with a good idea of how to become an entrepreneur,” she explains.
Modules cover innovating new products and services, building a scalable business, and marketing and financing new ventures.
During a trip to Silicon Valley, the students visited some of the world’s largest companies like Facebook and Google, as well as some of the lesser-known emerging startups in the area. They also got a chance to speak with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs and watch pitches in action, along with receiving tailored pitching coaching sessions.
“The trip was amazing, very few other people in MBA programmes have that chance,” says Daniel.
“It was inspiring to see people just like us, who had studied MBAs in other countries, and to hear their success stories and also learn from their mistakes.”
Studying a Global MBA at EDHEC also exposes students to a diverse student cohort, which is extremely helpful to building your future career in today’s inclusivity-driven world. The Economist named EDHEC’s Global MBA the best in the world for student/faculty diversity. You’ll be able to build global connections and meet complementary business partners from completely different backgrounds and countries, and maybe even launch a joint venture.
EDHEC also works closely with Station F, the world’s largest startup incubator which partners with over 1,200 startups and venture capital funds. This gives students and alumni yet another opportunity to build their network and make useful connections.
Daniel and Tingting leveraged these resources and opportunities to launch not only one, but two innovative startups. From expanding their network and making invaluable connections to developing solid business knowledge and getting exposure to real-world startups, the pair had everything they needed to become successful serial entrepreneurs.
If you want to launch your own startup with the help of a globally recognised MBA, take a look at EDHEC’s Global MBA programme.
Operating from campuses in Lille, Nice, Paris, London and Singapore, EDHEC is one of the top 15 European business schools, ranked 1st worldwide for its Master in Finance. Fully international and directly connected to the business world, EDHEC commands a strong reputation for research excellence and the ability to train entrepreneurs and managers capable of breaking new ground. EDHEC functions as a genuine laboratory of ideas and produces innovative solutions valued by businesses.
The School’s teaching is inspired by its research work and a focus on “learning by doing”, all with the aim of equipping people with the skills to succeed in business.