You dream career: Set the wheels in motion with a global MBA

Cycling has a reputation as one of the 'greenest' sports around. So when one keen triathlete decided to take his passion and turn it into a business that would enable greater access to the sport, he knew sustainable practices had a large role to play. This is where EDHEC's Global MBA programme played a crucial role in helping him turn his vision into reality.

You dream career: Set the wheels in motion with a global MBA

It was at a triathlete meet that Spanish-born manager and consultant Javier Garcia Royo would find the inspiration for his first entrepreneurial venture.

Between studying in Seville, and later working with corporate giants such as Nike and Accenture in Europe and the Americas, he was a keen cyclist, participating in races as his career took him across the globe. 

Noticing the sky high price for the racing wheelsets that some of his fellow riders boasted at a race in the Netherlands, an idea formed for the cycling fanatic. 

“Carbon-fibre wheelsets can cost anywhere between €1,500 to €5,000. I kept thinking, ‘How could I drop the price and make this equipment more accessible to even more cyclists, and encourage people to ride?’

“My background is in strategy and mergers and acquisitions, but it wasn’t until I moved to New Zealand that I thought this was a perfect place and time to set up a company and try to make things happen.”

The result was Negative Split Carbon (NSC), a New Zealand-based developer of carbon-fibre wheelsets for professional cyclists and racers, that has steadily grown in the four years since its founding in 2018. 

“When you create a brand from scratch, people need to know it exists, and you need to make it credible. You need to embed yourself in the ecosystem, show up, and just talk to people.

“Now we have the FernMark, which indicates that our wheels are designed and sold across the world from New Zealand. We also sponsor Black Magic Women’s Cycling and have naming rights for a pro tour.

“It’s been crazy, to be honest. However, I think we are slowly getting there.”

The man behind the wheel: Javier used the skills he learned in the EDHEC Global MBA to found Negative Split Carbon. Photo: Supplied

Crucial to Javier’s success with NSC is EDHEC‘s Global MBA. It was his time at the French business school’s campus in Nice that brought values of sustainability into focus and gave him the tools that would enable him to found his business.

“I have always been passionate about sustainability, and that’s what helped lead me to EDHECResponsible entrepreneurship is central to the ethos of the Global MBA.”

“When you get your diploma, there’s a paragraph at the bottom that says – I’m paraphrasing here – ‘We’ve given you the tools, and you can make an impact, but you have the responsibility to do so in a way that everybody benefits and that includes minimising your environmental impact.'”

This commitment to sustainability and a responsibility towards future generations goes far beyond the school’s ‘Make an impact’ signature, visible throughout the school’s campuses and projects. It is also reflected in the school’s 2020 – 2025 strategic plan, that seeks to make EDHEC, among other things, the number one business school worldwide, for those seeking to study and research sustainable business. In fact, the Global MBA has been ranked 3rd worldwide for the past 3 years for ESG (Environmental, Social & corporate Governance) & net-zero teaching by the Financial Times. 

Javier continues: “When I completed my Global MBA, we covered the principles of running a sustainable business – looking at logistics, international finance, digital innovation and how each dovetails with sustainable practices.

Sustainability is now an integral part of entrepreneurship. The EDHEC Global MBA provides a cutting-edge toolset and a deep grounding in sustainable practice. Enquire today for a September start

“It was also a topic that I was able to discuss and learn more about through my professors and frequent guest speakers. There is additionally the global alumni network – a very powerful tool for building relationships and discussing our experiences.

Today, the MBA integrates sustainability throughout the curriculum and also includes a 5-month Sustainable Impact Challenge. The Challenge sees students work on a real-life business issue or opportunity for a range of organisations and is designed to put to the test the knowledge they have gained during the classes into action.

For students, this includes participation in what is called a ‘Learning Expedition’, where students visit countries leading the way in terms of sustainable business development. For Javier, this came with a visit to South Africa and this year the destination was Slovenia.

“We began with an amazing sustainability masters school in the middle of nowhere that was almost self-sufficient, using their waste to generate heating, and growing food. It was incredible.”

“We also saw how South African wineries are working on their community impact, building schools to educate the children of workers, and tackling problems like alcohol abuse.

“One highlight was visiting an area on the outskirts of Cape Town, where around two million people live in housing built from recycled materials. We were able to learn so much about the vibrant and thriving business community there, and how materials are used over and over again.

“Among all these visits, we had a bunch of classes dedicated to sustainability, including the methodologies and frameworks that I could later use with Negative Split Carbon.”

Javier has taken the lessons surrounding sustainability that he learned at EDHEC and is actively applying them to NSC’s rapid growth. 

“Sustainability has been at the forefront of our strategy in the past two years. Our first step was committing to ShiftCyclingCulture, and starting this year, we’ll be reporting on our carbon emissions.”

“Now, our priorities are logistics and encouraging a ‘circular economy’ with our product.”, Javier says. “We’re striving to find the best ways of shortening our logistics chains from China, where the wheels are manufactured, to our customers in New Zealand and beyond.

“Then we’re looking at ways that we can keep repairing, reusing and when they’re no longer useful, remaking our wheels into new products – household decor and jewellery, for example.

“We also rent our wheels to cyclists for race days. When they’ve been in our rental fleet for a while, we can then sell them at a discounted price to those who wouldn’t be able to access them otherwise.”

For Javier, the skills and principles he learned at EDHEC have paid dividends in NSC’s growth over the past four years.

“We do get feedback about our sustainable practices. We have cyclists telling us that we’re the only company that is renting out wheelsets, and they go on to tell their friends and communities, and it’s the best kind of advertising.

“There’s more we’ve got planned, but for now, it’s inspiring hearing that we’re beginning to make a difference. It’s good for us, the community, the sport and the world.”

With the customisation and flexibility that allows you to apply sustainable best practice to your dream projects, EDHEC’S Global MBA is the natural choice for tomorrow’s innovators. A new cohort begins in September 2023

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What changes for students at French universities in 2023

Re-evaluation of financial aid, a freeze on tuition fees, housing assistance... everything you need to know if you're starting at a French university in 2023.

What changes for students at French universities in 2023

The new academic year has just started in France, and thousands of students are heading back to university – or starting out on their studies, after passing their bac in the summer.

Meanwhile, the next set of bac students are gearing up for their big educational year, and starting to wonder about the mysteries of the French university application system Parcoursup – while parents are concerned about finances, and making sure their children have decent lodgings.

There’s far too much emotional, practical and financial baggage to unpack in that last paragraph for a simple article. But, here are a few things that it’s worth knowing – from how much you’ll have to pay in tuition fees, to how to get grants.

This article mainly concerns students who have been living in France as the situation is often different for overseas students – and in this instance that means students travelling from overseas for university, if your children are joining from a French school they count as home students, even if they don’t have French nationality.


The freeze on university tuition fees has been extended for the fifth year in a row at €170 per year for bachelor degrees and €243 for masters diplomas. 

Non-scholarship students are also required to pay an annual €100 Contribution vie étudiante et de campus (CVEC) to improve living conditions on campus.

Fees for overseas students are calculated differently and can run into several thousand euro. 


Students looking for accommodation at university are advised to go to the Caisse d’allocations familiales (Caf) website for help and advice.

Be aware that this housing assistance could result in a significant decrease in the amount of family allowance available to the families of students at university. It is, however, worth consulting Caf.


Grants (bourses) are available to help students with the cost of university life – if you’re resident in France this is dependent on your income (or the income of your parents if you’re just finishing school). Being a boursier (person in receipt of a grant, also qualifies you for some extra discounts such as reduced-price meals.

The means-tested grants vary according t your financial situation, but the basic rate has increased by €37 per month for 2023, while boursiers studying at establishments in French overseas territories will receive an additional €30 per month on top of the €37 increase.

Students with disabilities and student carers benefit from additional help to gain access to grants based on social criteria. 

This simulator will help you start the process of applying for a university grant by calculating whether you will be eligible for one.


Restaurants operated by the Centres régionaux des œuvres universitaires et scolaires (Crous) – which also offers accommodation services – offer three-course meals for €3.30 in the university canteen, further reduced to €1 for boursiers and students in certain financial situations. 

Special requirements

Students with particular needs (high-level athletes, artists, students with disabilities, employed students, students with families, etc) can benefit from adaptations and arrangements to facilitate their studies.

Health insurance

French students – including all non-French students who have gone through the French education system through collège and lycée and who are registered in the social security system – are not expected to pay social security contributions to access healthcare services.

However, overseas students in France or French students at university abroad may need to pay. Students from the UK can access the S1 form, which allows them to use the French state-funded healthcare system and have their costs reimbursed by the UK. 

Gap years

Students wishing to take a break for a year can ask their university to suspend their studies for up to two consecutive semesters.


Students in a higher education establishment can follow part of their studies in another European country via the Erasmus + programme. This is intended for students wishing to follow a higher education course abroad as part of an exchange programme, or to carry out an international internship.

Masters degree applications

The process for entering the first year of a Master’s degree changed back in February 2023, with applications for the first year of a Master’s degree now submitted on the Mon Master platform. 

The French government’s Back to School Guide (in French) presents the various measures put in place to improve the daily lives of students.

It’s also worth looking at the government’s My Student Services website, which has an English-language version. It offers all sorts of information about university life, finances and housing options.