Dreaming Big: An Entrepreneurial Journey with ESSEC & Mannheim Alum German Milavin-Crone, Class of 2020


Building a successful business begins with an idea – the identification of a need and a way to address it. German Milavin-Crone, ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA alumnus, noted a significant need for technological advancement in the tourism sector, in which he had worked for 12 years. He partnered with two brilliant colleagues from his tenure at the Louvre Hotels Group to launch WeDploy in February 2023, a consultancy firm that helps tourism operators like hotels and airlines increase operational performance by improving their technological stack.

German Milavin-Crone was a participant of the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA program run in partnership with the Mannheim Business School in Germany. He participated in the modular European track designed in an “executive-friendly'' 18-month format that minimizes out-of-office time. With its flexible structure and cross-cultural approach, the program is intended for working executives looking to develop their strategic leadership. 

Enlightened leadership

The program was instrumental in German’s entrepreneurial journey, and continues to inform his vision and practice as CEO of WeDploy. In his own words, the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA program taught him “to analyze complex business environments, understand customer needs, collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds and make informed decisions.” These crucial skills guide him through the dynamic challenges of the consulting industry, while the leadership training he received helps him and his partners “stay inspired and committed, fostering a collaborative and innovative work environment.” In his leadership of WeDploy, German is guided by strong values of integrity, effectiveness, and ownership, values refined over the course of his EMBA experience and deeply shared with his two associates .

Lessons learned

Through his EMBA training, German discovered the profound truth of personal growth – that it means going beyond one’s comfort zone. He learned “the necessity of embracing novel experiences, navigating errors, and committing to continuous learning as the bedrock of progress. As an entrepreneur,” he continues, “I've integrated this philosophy into the core of my daily endeavors.” 

German also learned that navigating growth is a dynamic and unpredictable journey, one that requires confidence, stability and maintaining a strategic perspective. It also requires teamwork, uniting tech and business expertise across a range of profiles. Thanks to his EMBA experience with his MCT (Multi Competency Team), German learned to embrace and harness the power of differing perspectives and ideas. In fact, he says, his company’s USP is based in “innovative, well-rounded solutions” that are born of a diverse team. At WeDploy, success is a collective triumph, not an individual one.

A strong network

Even in the highly competitive consulting sector, WeDploy landed its first contract within months, swiftly gaining industry trust and recognition. The company secured its cash flow, developing a network of potential and existing clients. A robust client network is, of course, key to the company’s ongoing success, as is the broader professional network of which Milavin-Crone, as an EMBA alumnus, is a part. The network counts over 70,000 former students from both ESSEC and Mannheim Business Schools, as well as professors, mentors and more.

The EMBA program was “instrumental in providing networking opportunities,” says German, with connections made during the program already contributing to the development of WeDploy. Through the program, he was able to connect with industry professionals, mentors, and fellow entrepreneurs who offered valuable insights and guidance. These connections not only enriched his understanding of the business landscape but also opened doors to potential partnerships and client relationships, playing a key role in the early stages of the startup's growth and continuing to play their part today.

“Potential entrepreneurs can leverage the EMBA program to enhance their startup success,” German explains, “by taking advantage of the diverse network of professionals and mentors the program offers.” This network can provide invaluable insights, guidance, and potential partnerships while the program's academic content – which often includes practical business skills and strategic thinking – can equip entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to navigate the complexities of the startup world. For those considering an EMBA, it's crucial to actively engage in networking opportunities and apply the learned concepts directly to their entrepreneurial ventures. “Taking risks is part of any venture process,” German admits, “but the EMBA program helps you analyze and address these risks. So, dream big!”

The ESSEC entrepreneurial ecosystem

ESSEC’s EMBA programs provide a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem including group projects, specialized courses and a venture incubator. The topics of intra- and entrepreneurship are embedded across both EMBA programs, providing participants with skills applicable to their careers, whether working in an established company or on an entrepreneurial venture. The Strategic Project, for example, part of the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA, allows participants to directly apply their learnings to address a real business issue. It’s a 15-month project whose end goal is the implementation of the project.

The ESSEC EMBA Entrepreneurship & Innovation Project (EIP) is a collaborative team project designed to foster innovation through the creation of a new business or the development of a product within an existing company. It offers a platform for participants to gain practical experience in entrepreneurship, all while creating tangible, real-world value for companies. 

Certain core and specialized courses across ESSEC programs also ground participants in entrepreneurial theory practice. These courses include: Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship, Venture Financing, Entrepreneurial Thinking, Venture Capital Simulation, Design Thinking, Managing a Corporate Innovation Program.

Since its launch in 2000, the ESSEC Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center has supported 500+ business projects. It allows participants to benefit from coaching by experienced advisors, mentoring from a network of successful alumni entrepreneurs, dedicated coworking spaces, workshops, peer learning, and more.

Through ESSEC’s Executive MBA programs, participants have the opportunity to learn and apply a range of business skills, from entrepreneurship to leadership and beyond.

Learn more here.