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Executive education for the family business

The Edhec Business School in France has launched the first global executive-MBA (EMBA) programme in Europe aimed at those working in family businesses, providing a uniquely tailored course that is compatible with ongoing professional activity.

The school has also partnered with CampdenFB on a scholarship programme (valued at €15, 000 each) that will enable 10 candidates to participate in the nine-week executive MBA, spread over 15-months, providing they have four years of managerial experience in a family business.

Edhec’s EMBA is a modular programme spread over 15 months and across 6 different locations, including sessions at EDHEC’s 5 fully integrated campuses (Paris, London Lille, Singapore and Nice). 

The aim of the EMBA is to offer family members, family business managers and entrepreneurs a world-class learning environment that will encourage professional transformation.

Sylvain Daudel, director of the Edhec Family Business Center, said the new EMBA was created in response to a lack of programmes that focused on fostering leadership development opportunities in family businesses. The EMBA programme includes a consulting project, which can be personalised to the needs of participants or their family business, and culminates in a physical leadership development exercise at the UK’s Sandhurst Military Academy. 

Those looking to apply must have 10 years experience in a family firm and should be identified as next generation leaders, whether a family member or not. They must also provide two essays on a family business topic of their choice. 

Fees have been set at €60,000 and students will need to commit to travel to Edhec’s campuses in London and Singapore for one and two weeks respectively. Like other EMBAs, travel costs are at the students’ own expense. 

Edhec’s EMBA will welcome its first class in February 2015. Those wishing to apply for one of 10 CampdenFB-Edhec Scholarships should visit for more information. Entry requirements are included in the box out. 

CampdenFB spoke to course director Sylvain Daudel:

Why did Edhec Business School decide to launch a family business executive MBA?
From our analysis, succession and transmission are still the key challenges for family businesses around the world. We aim to offer something relevant and different from the list of short programmes offered both by academic and non-academic institutions, which cater mainly to one issue at a time. A family business global EMBA is Edhec’s response to these challenges.

There are lots of competitive business schools in Europe. Why should candidates apply to Edhec?
Edhec is the only business school in Europe offering such a comprehensive programme specific to family business. And it is delivered as a highly sought after EMBA diploma. Furthermore, in a little over a decade our programmes have found such a high degree of success that we have been able to expand into four other countries. You won’t find such highly specialised programmes elsewhere.

The programme is geared towards the next generation who are already working in the family business. What skills is your MBA programme going to give them that are particularly relevant to family businesses?
Our programme is designed to cope with the triple challenge of modern family businesses: competitive imperative, efficient governance and leadership excellence. And that is exactly what participants receive on the course. Our hugely experienced professors delve into the specific strategies that will ensure family business success, including a module on financial engineering. Students will be taught on governance issues and how to ensure board members are effective. The course concludes with a leadership development programme at Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK where students will gain practical leadership skills in a real world setting.

You’ve launched a programme with CampdenFB for up to 10 scholarships to the EMBA, how can candidates make their application stand out from the crowd?
We are very pleased with our worldwide scholarship programme in association with CampdenFB and I believe we have achieved something genuinely unique. If a candidate hopes to stand out from the crowd then they must play to their strengths and we advise they do that by thinking about their role within their family business. Obtaining one of the scholarships requires participants to choose a family business topic and present their ideas with structure and passion. That’s all!

Do MBA’s still hold the same clout that they did in the early 1990s?
The overall number of MBA programmes has certainly flourished, and although some will certainly still help you get to the top, not all of them will. It is also important to distinguish between MBAs and EMBAs. The former gives you the push at the beginning of your career to climb faster; whereas, an EMBA programme is geared towards mature managers, who might have missed out on the opportunity to complete an MBA earlier in the career, in order to let them step into leadership positions.

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