Cass masters students gain start-up experience in Argentina

Dr Joanna Zaleska, Director of MSc in Management reflects on taking 25 students from the across Cass' masters programmes to Argentina for an international elective focusing on entrepreneurship and start-ups.

Dr Joanna Zaleska, Director of MSc in Management reflects on taking 25 students from the across Cass' masters programmes to Argentina for an international elective focusing on entrepreneurship and start-ups.

Business schools around the world have been experimenting in ways to teach students beyond their own classrooms. We took 25 students from five of our masters programmes on an international elective to Argentina, where they learned about entrepreneurship via practice-based approach. The week long elective helps our students to develop the competency to think and act entrepreneurially, preparing them for the realities of business.

The module “Start-ups: International field trip’ takes advantage of a three year old initiative developed with Cámara Argentino-Danesa de Industria & Comercio  that pairs groups of students with start-ups based in the Centro Metropolitano de Diseñ (CMD), an incubator in Buenos Aires for creative industries and entrepreneurs so they can engage in hands-on projects.

Our groups worked in seven start-ups:

  • Waleco and La Chispa (film production)
  • Estudio Fango (sustainable design)
  • Vun (furniture)
  • Ideas Para tu Cabeza (fashion and millinery)
  • Ecobox (packaging)
  • Colectando Sol (solar energy)

This year social entrepreneurship such as ecologically-focused businesses, were popular within our cohort. Research from colleagues at Cass has shown that the ‘philanthropic virtue’ is very popular among Millennials who tend to favour working for socially responsible companies and don’t see profit and purpose as mutually exclusive.

Cass Masters students

The international elective teaches our students to think outside the box and nurtures unconventional talents and skills. The ability to think broadly allows them to complete the variety of tasks necessary when starting a company.

“While young people who start businesses know they might fail, they have nothing to lose, they are risk-takers and they are persistent in uncertainty,” says Dr Joanna Zaleska, who together with Professor Steve Thomas supervised the students in Argentine incubator.

She added, “As teachers we often don’t have the opportunity to explore risk as a practical business during conventional classroom teaching but this module provides that opportunity. It instils confidence and stimulates our students to really focus on their own entrepreneurial careers. Various start-up projects encouraged our students to become creative, inventive and innovative – skills which will help them to create, find, and develop opportunities of all kinds in a continuously changing and uncertain world.”

Adrien Caeymaex, a student from Management degree who worked in Waleco group said, “I had an amazing experience in Buenos Aires. I lived special moments, going well beyond any expectations I could have had. Not only did I learn a lot on the professional side, I also met incredible entrepreneurs and came face to face with their passion for their projects. Experiencing this passion was something I didn't expect, and I loved it. It’s something to look forward to in my life”.