Two years ago, HEC Paris became the eighth university worldwide to become a site for a Creative Destruction Lab (CDL). The nonprofit program, established in 2012 by Professor Ajay Agrawal at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto, places top business school students on the front lines of real startups in their seed phase. Acting as consultant for nine months, HEC Paris MBA students will work with their assigned startup to develop and fine-tune ideas and strategies, evaluate potential markets, and construct viable finance models – all things essential to the launch and growth of a successful company.
Across CDL sites, there are currently 20 focus areas (CDL streams) representing different emerging and multilayered topics of research and opportunities for entrepreneurship. Beginning in 2020, HEC Paris is the site of the Paris Climate CDL stream, led by Professor of Entrepreneurship Thomas Astebro. This year will see HEC MBA students explore the future of space with the new Paris Space CDL stream. Leading the charge is Nathalie Riond, member of the HEC ESA Lab, sponsored by Arianegroup and the European Space Agency.
“There are long-term stakes here, not only for space exploration but fields as diverse as telecommunications, disaster management and climate,” says Riond. “We are also studying global geopolitical factors, the questions of regulation and values, how to build value in space and managing the scarce resources that remain. I’m delighted to expand the opportunities that the economy of space provides, guiding HEC students in the face of uncertainty. That is a field I have been specializing in for years.”
Leading entrepreneurs and angel investors provide support in the form of CDL Mentors, by assessing progress and continuing to set short-term objectives during the program. Andrew Nutter is one such example: an angel investor and co-founder of Gama, a deep space exploration company. He also mentors in the CDL program and had this to say at HEC’s Demo Day this summer:
“The CDL Space stream is an exciting initiative for everyone involved. There’s a large community of skilled space engineers out there who need the guidance and entrepreneurial initiatives that HEC can offer, both through its academics and students. I’m really looking forward to mentoring some of the 40 startup companies being selected for this first-ever global space stream.”
The CDL Space stream will provide consulting services to up to 30 rigorously selected startups in scalable companies in the science and technology industries. HEC Paris MBA students who participate in the nine-month program will dedicate at least 100 hours of their time, with 1/3 taking place in the classroom, and 2/3rds in the role of consultant to their startup client.
To learn more about the CDL Certificate, visit our website.