A true-to-life learning tool with a direct impact

A winning business plan for a Spanish cybersecurity startup grew out of an individual project in the EFL Executive MBA program by José Miguel Jimenez, VP Sales at Serstech. The business plan turned out to be a success both as a learning tool and as a business tool. 

The EFL Executive MBA is a leadership and management program that makes a strong rooting in practice a high priority by ensuring that participants get the opportunity to actually apply models, theories, tools and concepts in real life.  A telling example is Executive MBA participant José Miguel Jimenez’s individual project, in which he drew up a carefully considered business plan to attract investors to a Spanish startup.

Individual projects are envisioned to take all 18 months of the program, allowing participants to work on their own business projects defined in the context of their companies. The business challenge is usually of a strategic nature, forcing the participant to analyze and formulate practical solutions. “Companies send key personnel to the EFL Executive MBA program, and the individual business project is one of the means by which companies can count on making good on this type of investment,” says Tony Åkesson, Director of the Executive MBA program. “Participants’ business challenges are integrated into the program design, adding great value to the learning process.”

José is VP Sales at Serstech AB in his day job and started pursuing his Executive MBA in the fall of 2016, just as he came in contact with a young Spanish cybersecurity startup. “Basically, it was a small group of highly qualified software engineers who had just developed an excellent software tool for cybersecurity,” says José. “Yet their experience of business development was limited, and they were desperate to find investors who wanted to back the concept.”

This launched José’s individual project, which came to focus on developing a winning business plan to attract investors to the startup. “Producing a compelling business plan was an excellent opportunity to apply the new knowledge, models, theories, concepts and experience from the program,” says José. “The startup was truly tabula rasa in the sense that it lacked any kind of strategic, business or pricing model, any kind of market assessment or marketing plan, financial forecasts, or opportunity and risk analyses. It allowed me to create everything from scratch, by the book and in real life. I aimed to sync with the topics raised at each residential session of the Executive MBA program in order to get the most out of it and to apply it to the individual project.”

Executive MBA Class of 2018 at the graduation ceremony

José got very involved quickly, accepting the challenge and opportunity to develop his new skills from the Executive MBA program by bringing the concept to market. With a complete business plan in hand, he scheduled meetings with potential investors. It was a happy day when the investors decided to fund the startup. But the story doesn’t end there.  “A large telecommunications company soon bought in,” says José with a grin. “It was a highly satisfactory outcome of an 18-month educational journey and a shining example of how the EFL Executive MBA program is a very powerful tool for making things happen in companies.”


José recommends three books from the Executive MBA program that were valuable to him, especially in his individual project:

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
  • Contemporary Strategy Analysis, by Robert M. Grant
  • Accounts Demystified, by Anthony Rice