One EMP Practitioner: Three Different Ways to Use the Assessment

By EMP Staff

As a private development sector consultant and entrepreneurship educator, Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile® (EMP) Certified Practitioner Sanae El Ouali has found a way to use the EMP effectively in a multitude of settings.

We recently sat down with Sanae to discuss these different contexts and how the EMP benefits her students and clients.

EMP: Hello, Sanae! As I look at your programs over the past few years, I see that you have used the Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile® (EMP) in the college classroom, at the university career center and also as part of an innovation contest in your work with incubators. That’s three entirely different environments, and we’re eager to hear the details. Let’s start first with the classroom setting.

El Ouali: Last spring I had a virtual entrepreneurship class for about 30 undergraduate business students at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. I’m also working this semester with another Certified Practitioner (David Hayes) at a different university in a class on growth mindset with online MBA students.

EMP: Tell us about how you used the EMP in the undergraduate course.

El Ouali: I start the class with an introduction to the entrepreneurial mindset, the students take the EMP, and then they work on project teams. I divide the class into teams based on information they have provided earlier about their interests, purpose, vision, etc., and they are asked at that time to find an accountability partner on their team with whom they can provide support. Once they receive their EMP feedback, they complete the Action Plan, and then they share their goals and action steps with their team members. Many groups prepare a “matrix” of their results and do a mini-benchmarking of their skills so they can see where they scored high and where they are lower. They also can pick an additional accountability partner at that time if they think someone might be a good coach to them, or perhaps they find someone who is particularly skilled at something they want to work on.

EMP: That’s very interesting. So these working groups are a key part of your curriculum?

El Ouali: Yes, very much so because they are encouraged to practice skills they lack. For instance, one student who wanted to improve on Interpersonal Sensitivity conducted all of the interviews with target markets for her group so that she had an opportunity to actually listen, pay attention to people’s concerns, make people feel valued, etc. The groups allow the students to articulate their approach, brainstorm ideas and come up with solutions to specific problems. They need to execute on all pieces of the project so they can implement their plans. Obviously, they incorporate several EMP scales such as Idea Generation, Execution, Optimism, Persistence, Action Orientation, etc.

EMP: It’s wonderful that the group projects allow for actual practice since we know that the Skills scales, especially, are influenced by both learning and opportunity. What do you do after the 2nd administration of the EMP towards the end of the semester?

El Ouali: The students write reflection papers about their whole experience. I ask them to comment on the following questions: Check your results on the EMP at the beginning and your results on the 2nd assessment you just took. Is there anything surprising about the results? How do you explain the progress/results? Were there any major achievements you made based on your EMP action plan? Were there any actions you took that contributed to these results? Were there any challenges you overcame? How do you see yourself progressing forward toward improving your skills?

Their insights are quite remarkable. Here are some examples:

“I was able to enhance many skills throughout the semester, and I had the chance to actually quantify this progress.”

“The first increase I noticed is in the execution . . . Even though idea generation and my ability to find multiple approaches for achieving goals remained the same, my ability to implement them and turn them into actionable plans improved.”

“The main obstacle I overcame this semester is social anxiety and anxiety in general. Having a more positive approach to life, even in extremely stressful moments, allowed me to keep cool and make good and rational decisions. This increasing optimism in my daily life prevented me from losing focus due to stress and allowed me to better manage both my stress and my emotions in general.” 

“Major achievements based on EMP action plan: discovering new articles, books, even people in my life because I am a bit more outgoing and sociable compared to the beginning of the semester. I came up with 3 new business ideas, one of which I am very passionate about.”

I also ask them to reflect on their original vision statements: Now, reflect on your first vision statement that you shared in your first assignment. At any point in time during the class, did you revise it? Did you take the time to reflect on what you learned during the class? Also, in thinking about your EMP results, in what way might they have altered or influenced your vision for the future you created?

One student said, “My fear of failure was actually reflected in my first EMP results by my very low scores in Optimism, Self-Confidence and Execution. However, throughout this class and thanks to my EMP action plan and interactions with many professionals within the framework of my capstone class, I learned that all people can generate ideas, but these ideas need to be executed and that’s when the magic happens. Also, the more I execute and accomplish things, the more optimistic and self-confident I will get. Hence, I am very happy to see that my scores in these categories increased.”

EMP: As you read through those reflection papers, what do you see as the biggest benefits of the EMP?

El Ouali: Well, first of all, I do see improvements in the Skills scales as a result of them practicing the skills during the course of the semester. The other benefits I see have to do with the introspection that is involved and how the students are able to relate their skills to a larger concept or even their overall purpose in life. Many are stretched to go beyond their comfort zones. We have a lot of discussions about their choices and what would be the “best fit” for them as they go forward. This also comes up in the workshop I did for the career center.

EMP: That’s a good segue. Tell us about that program.

El Ouali: This program was a 3 1/2-hour, face-to-face workshop for recent graduates. I did similar things with the EMP but focused more on career exploration and how their skill sets matched up with their career goals. I offered optional, one-on-one debrief sessions afterwards, and about half of the class participated in those. It was well received.

EMP: It sounds like an excellent opportunity for folks just getting started in their careers. So now we want to know how the EMP played into the innovation contest.

El Ouali: I work with incubators who work with companies in the corporate sector. I do a lot of facilitation, coaching and helping with pitching, etc. In this case, I was involved with one company that works in infrastructure within the port industry in Morocco. This particular company had an innovation contest where they created internal teams to address innovation issues. They probably started with 10 internal teams, and then as the contest narrowed down the teams, we eventually used the EMP with the top five teams. Some of the teams only had about three people, so the EMP was very helpful in looking at where there might be particular skills missing. It also was very useful in determining what skills the team might need when recruiting someone externally to help the team accomplish its project or idea. In other words, as the ideas progressed, the teams realized they needed to collaborate with external service providers or gather additional resources in order to bring their projects to fruition, so knowing more about what was missing on their teams was extremely valuable.

EMP: It’s really fascinating how after getting certified just a short time ago, you’ve managed to use three distinct applications of the EMP. Thank you, Sanae, for your time today and for sharing with us the unique contexts within which you’re helping people leverage the entrepreneurial mindset. I know your examples will be inspiring to our other Certified Practitioners.

Sanae El Ouali - EMP Certified Practitioner

Sanae El Ouali is a Private Development Sector Consultant and Educator in Entrepreneurship. She can be reached at

The Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile® (EMP) [] is an excellent way to get an in-depth view of the entrepreneurial mindset and see how your personality traits and skill sets compare to those of corporate managers and entrepreneurs. Available online, the EMP provides scores on 14 different scales including Risk Acceptance, Passion, Need to Achieve, Future Focus, Idea Generation and Persistence among others. The EMP Feedback Report comes with a debrief video and a comprehensive Development Guide for continuous improvement.

Want to learn more about EMP Certification and how you can use it in your organization? Email us at or visit the Certification page of the EMP website to see how you can start using the EMP with your clients and students.