The emlyon business school Paris campus has been a buzz as of late, having hosted multiple Global DBA Durham-emlyon cohorts during their various modules. As part of the 4-year instruction portion of the degree, participants meet in various international locations to build relationships with their fellow classmates as well as learn from professors from both institutions that are recognized experts in their given topics. The week includes project work, lectures, company visits, as well as free time to explore the surrounding area and spend quality time with their fellow global cohort.

Samantha Yarwood joined the recent Innovation and Technology Management module in Paris from Toronto, Canada. A self-titled, “recovering marketer,” she has worked in the industry for over 15 years but has always held “innervation” as passion, describing it as, “the innerworkings of a company and who you are as a human being in the context of leadership.” Whilst embarking on her own leadership journey, she realized that one of the biggest questions in the subject started with, “who you are as a person, what your values are, your strengths, what you're passionate about, and the impact that you want to have in the world.” This led her to want to understand why more people don't explore this concept as well as how in doing so, change can be better handled, and organizations can ultimately have a real impact in the world. All these questions brought her to where she is now in her Global DBA Durham-emlyon journey where she is focusing her Doctoral thesis on leadership and change. She found that the Innovation and Technology Management module enabled the students to, “learn the what are the frameworks and how to apply them, and how we can take our own doctoral work and apply it to our own day-to-day practices.”

The module was co-taught by two of the programme's professors: Kieran Fernandez from Durham University Business School, and Brice Dattee from emlyon business school. “They were both fantastic and brought two really different approaches and ways of thinking,” said Samantha. She went on to explain how Kieran's background in innovation and the functioning of business ecosystems really illustrated how you can look at organizations from a biological perspective and to even view organizations like DNA.

Brice brought a different perspective and approach to his teaching by explaining the concepts through his own work. “We looked at details into why he approached the research in the manner that he did and were ultimately exposed to two different views and understandings of how to bring research to life and how to have real impact in the world,” said Samantha.

The week also consisted of the opportunity to visit IBM and see their Innovation Center, “to see how they are using data in different industries like Retail, Manufacturing, Energy, etc.” Samantha said it was, “a great example of seeing how theoretical is put into practical, specifically from how you approach innovation, what are the tools that you can use, how are you thinking about sustainability, how to use design thinking and other creative tools… it was overall a great experience!”

Station F was the next stop on the list and “absolutely phenomenal” according to Samantha, who had been wanting to visit the facility for years. “Having the chance to physically go there and view the space is incredible because they bring together everything from the start-up ecosystem (the entrepreneurs, the venture capitalist, the support tools, incubators, etc.) to create an environment where people can all learn from each other and propel their businesses.” She also really enjoyed the various views that the cohort was exposed to during the visit; beginning with a global view of the overall ecosystem, moving into a more macro-level view around what is the story and evolution of Station F (with a focus on French start-ups compared to other global engines and the role that Europe is starting to play/how it is changing global dynamics) and concluding with a micro-level view including sitting-in on real pitches from some of the entrepreneurs.

“Being able to step-out of my everyday work and life just expands all of these other ideas and opportunities” Samantha says. She finds that by being a member of such a global cohort really highlights that the same structures and frameworks are used across the world but in different ways by different individuals. She believes that her cohort, “has an immediate connection from our shared experience of this doctoral journey” even with their very different backgrounds ranging from the military, manufacturing, leadership to finance. “We also have a wide variety of cultures; we believe we had 13 different countries represented during the most recent module!” In short, “we all really care about people and the world and that is another bonding agent for us, overall, just really great people.” Both Durham and emlyon are very glad to know that the location and content of the module was very well received, and they're also fortunate to have amazing participants like Samantha in the programme. It's fair to say that everyone is looking forward to seeing the result these modules have on the participants' doctoral theses, and ultimately the impact they will make in the world as a result of their dedication and perseverance in the Global DBA Durham-emlyon programme!