Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Pandemic

Sheelah Chu is a Country Digital Content Specialist at IKEA France. Additionally, Sheelah took on the challenge of studying the highly international Executive Master in Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurial Leadership (EMDIEL) during the Covid-19 pandemic. We spoke to her about her experience.

How the travel disruption hit EMDIEL’s core

EMDIEL is a special programme. It teaches state-of-the-art entrepreneurial leadership. In doing so, it immerses its participants in buzzing entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world. The pre-Covid cohorts have not only travelled to Berlin, London, and Paris, but also to the Silicon Valley and Shanghai. That’s why executives from all around the globe join ESCP for EMDIEL. It is not surprising that the pandemic completely disrupted this approach.

Still, 13 executive students chose to embark on the EMDIEL journey. They came from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United States, Brazil, and Trinidad and Tobago. They got to know each other in a couple of online sessions, and then made their way to Berlin in October 2020. One of them is Sheelah – a woman of many talents. She has experience in sales, marketing, sustainability, customer service, project management as well as team management in the retail industry. She also brought her Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and ESCP Master’s in International Business & Project Management to the EMDIEL table.

A mix of excitement and uncertainty

“The EMDIEL kick-off was a mix of excitement and uncertainty, as Covid-19 caught everyone by surprise. I even thought that the programme will be postponed. In the end, the academic team managed to pull it off”, Sheelah shared. “I personally felt privileged to be able to experience a hybrid set-up. I felt my creativity further stimulated. We invented and engaged into new ways of working together, whether in the same room or online, while consistently producing results that would meet the demands of the different modules.”

The pandemic continued to mess with plans throughout her EMDIEL experience. “On top of the programme of each module requiring to be constantly modified, adapted to the circumstances we were in, like different lockdown levels in different countries, travel restrictions, etc.”, she explained. However, resilience and goodwill allow her to see the upsides: “I am lucky to have been stretched beyond my limits, to have been disappointed a couple of times when plans change, to have gone through adversities, because they made the learning experience richer and more meaningful.”

Going forward with EMDIEL

Today, Covid-19 and its uncertainties are still around. The EMDIEL team will make the experience of the cohort starting in 2021 as seamless as possible with means of hybrid studying in case of travel restrictions, the opportunity to join all modules of future EMDIEL cohorts without additional fees, co-creation of the programme with the participants according to individual needs, as well as testing and hygienic regulations on ESCP Berlin campus.

If you are playing with the idea of joining the Executive Master in Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurial Leadership (EMDIEL), make sure to get in touch with Olga Perfilyeva. She will be happy to discuss your options! If you want to learn more about Sheelah’s experience, read the full interview here.

Olga Perfilyeva
Project Manager | Executive Degree & Entrepreneurship Programmes