First Stanford Ignite—Polytechnique Innovation Program Starts in Paris

Stanford GSB launches its first Europe-based Stanford Ignite program with an inaugural class of participants from six countries.

September 09, 2013

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Ignite students

Stanford Ignite students collaborating on a project.

Stanford Graduate School of Business launched its first Europe-based Stanford Ignite program September 9 in partnership with École Polytechnique, one of Europe’s finest schools of engineering and science and one of the leading grandes Écoles in France. The 9-week, part-time program in Paris will teach innovators how to formulate, develop, and commercialize their ideas.

The Stanford Ignite-Polytechnique program provides exposure to both the fundamentals of management and the practical aspects of identifying, evaluating, and moving business ideas forward. It is aimed at participants with strong scientific, medical, or technical backgrounds who do not have an advanced degree in business.

The inaugural class is made up of 30 participants from 6 countries including Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Their fields of expertise are varied, and include biomedical and neuroscience as well as mathematics, physics, and aerospace. Twelve participants have PhDs or are in postdoc programs.

“This is a program for individuals who wish to bring innovation and entrepreneurial thinking to their current role, and for those who are planning to start a new venture,” said Stanford Ignite faculty director Yossi Feinberg, John G. McCoy-Banc One Professor of Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business, who attended the program’s launch event September 9. “It provides graduate students, innovators, scientists, and engineers from leading companies the essential toolset for creating impactful ventures.”

The non-degree program will be held Thursday evenings to Saturday evenings every other week from September 19 to November 17. Lessons will be taught in English and will include approximately 200 hours of training, with 100 hours spent on participants’ own venture projects. Participants will develop their projects by working closely not only with professors, but also with experienced mentors and panels of industry experts. The program is designed to deliver the same kind of immersive, innovative, and hands-on instruction that working professionals and graduate students at Stanford experience — in a European dimension.

The program will draw on the same world-class business faculty who teach in Stanford’s MBA Program, which is infused with the culture and practice of innovation that pervades Stanford University and Silicon Valley. Stanford faculty will be present in Paris, and others will be brought in by videoconferencing. École Polytechnique will enrich the program by bringing leading European executives, venture investors, legal experts, and other practitioners to the program as guest speakers and mentors to provide real-world feedback on team projects. Upon successful completion, participants will receive a Stanford Ignite-Polytechnique certificate.

“Creating the Stanford Ignite-Polytechnique program in Paris is an exceptional opportunity, in alignment with one of our priority objectives: to develop entrepreneurship-related activities anchored in cutting-edge science and technology,” said Bruno Rostand, director of innovation and entrepreneurship at École Polytechnique.

The Stanford Ignite-Polytechnique program is one of three Stanford Ignite programs to be offered in innovation hubs around the globe to enable audiences outside of Silicon Valley to tap into Stanford’s distinctive approach to teaching entrepreneurship and management. The first part-time Ignite program was introduced at Stanford in 2011. Another was held in Bangalore, India, in August 2013, and another is planned for Beijing, China, in 2014.

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