Welcoming Assistant Professor Rand Gerges Yammine

Rand Gerges Yammine joined ESCP Business School Paris Campus as Assistant Professor for Entrepreneurship this January. We spoke to her about her journey in research, teaching and coaching, entrepreneurial ecosystems and her most important piece of advice for entrepreneurs.

A global perspective

Rand is a truly international citizen. She has studied, worked and conducted research in France, Germany, Spain, the UK and USA. In 2015, she obtained her PhD in Management from EMLYON Business School.

Afterwards, she was a Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar at Stanford University in Silicon Valley. She also worked as Research Associate at Imperial College Business School London. At ESCP, she is now mainly involved in teaching Corporate Entrepreneurship. She is also continuing her research on entrepreneurial ecosystems and networks.

Coaching, teaching, researching

When Rand first started her PhD, she was focusing on strategy and bigger corporations. In Silicon Valley, she started working with entrepreneurs. For her, this felt much more effective and direct than the consulting projects that she has done in the past. Entrepreneurs face more constraints and have fewer resources than managers.

By coaching and accompanying entrepreneurs on their journey, Rand did not just conduct research. She got immersed in the ecosystems of Silicon Valley and London. In this way, collecting data, teaching and coaching started to go hand in hand for her. When reflecting upon what she learned from her ecosystem work, Rand expressed that besides all the local differences, certain similarities show up.

Rand Gerges Yammine’s advice for entrepreneurs

In her exchanges with entrepreneurs, Rand found a pattern that seems to lead to better results. Basically speaking, she saw two different behaviours: Entrepreneurs who focus on getting results and investment straight away, and entrepreneurs who focus on being helpful towards the community. Frankly, being transactional and having an “I give you something, this is what I want in return”-mindset might be a shortcut to failing.

At a very early stage, entrepreneurs who turn out to be successful have something that they really love doing, share their expertise and openly discuss their idea. This leads them to build relationships that benefit them in the long run. People in the network start referring to them, since they trust and see them as valuable members of the community.

Current projects

At the moment, Rand is exploring three research projects: Success factors of startups in Paris and London, entrepreneurs in extreme crisis situations (especially related to Covid-19), and multi-party alliances. In the latter project, Rand and her co-authors look at how companies innovate together in an open environment.

To be precise, they study the mobile phone industry in the 2000s. Back then, the sector went from pre-digital to digital, so for example innovators introduced the first IPhone and the 3G standard. This serves as a case study for innovation, as open alliances without contracts, where partners were able to enter and exit freely, were common.