What do Hult and the Hult Prize have in common?
Written by Global Ambassador, Adwoa Benefaa Ofori, Class of 2017 Master of International Business student, Dubai Campus
The Hult Prize Foundation was started by Ahmad Ashkar as a result of his MBA experience at Hult International Business School in 2010. The Hult Prize’s vision is very much aligned with Hult’s: “Empowering business minds to pursue purpose”. This year’s Hult Prize finals took place at the U.N. headquarters and the night was filled with extraordinary examples of leadership and innovative business ideas.
In the theme of changing the world through business, The Hult Prize, the brainchild of Hult alumnus Ahmad Ashkar, fits with this objective for creating good through business–on a major scale. Hult Prize is an annual social entrepreneurship competition that challenges students to build businesses that contribute to solving a pressing social issue, and also be a strong enough business idea, capable of making a profit.
“Today’s millennial generation is interested in being social entrepreneurs and it’s that passion we tap into at Hult. We aim to empower today’s global generation to change the world through business.”
-Dr. Stephen Hodges, President of Hult International Business School
As a Masters student at Hult, my program has given me much more than just studying–I’ve been undergoing a process of self-development, exploration, and growth. This year, I’ve been paying keen attention to the Hult Prize competition and witnessed many parallels between the process of what happens as a Hult student, with what happens to teams during the Hult Prize competition.
Much like at Hult, the first stage of the Hult Prize competition starts with an internal struggle. At Hult, this is in the form of an introductory course called Immersion. Hult Immersion is a module in which we get to know our cohort better through a leadership course with several team building simulations. We also go through the major topics in the degree subject that you choose. During Immersion, you are put in teams with complete strangers for the first time where you need to learn how to quickly pivot on your feet to adjust to your team to reach your goal. We had a business simulation during my first week at Hult and for the first time, I found myself in a group where everyone came from a different country. Not only did we have to learn to adjust to each other in a short period, we also had to make use of our differences to bring an output that would help us be the highest ranking company in the simulation.
During the beginning of Hult Prize, participants must also form teams and are given a small amount of time to figure out the dynamics of the team and work towards your common goal. You know what outcome you seek but you must now develop a scalable business model that all of your team members agree on. As a participant in the first stage of the Hult Prize, this was one of the most difficult aspects of the process. You are challenged to form a team with diverse skills and overcome the hurdles that come with it, like narrowing down to one great idea versus a lot of different ideas. You must then pitch this idea to internal judges and be chosen as the team to represent your campus in the regional competition.
The Regional Competition
Next, teams must pitch their idea to judges and be chosen as the team to represent your campus in the regional competition. Teams from schools in Ghana, Pakistan, Canada, Italy and so many other nations were present at the Hult Prize regionals on Hult Dubai campus. As I spoke with teams like Communique and discovered the diverse skills each member brought on board, my mind was drawn to a leadership simulation we had completed in class a week before. With 17 different nationalities and so many different personalities and experiences in my Hult Dubai Masters of International Business class, it was easy to relate to this statement by Muhammad Sohail part of team Theiah, who participated in the regionals: “The entire process from surveys to modeling to the actual pitching was an opportunity for personal growth and to work with an excellent set of people. Hult Prize is one of the best platforms to shape the future of social enterprises.”
“The entire process from surveys to modeling to the actual pitching was an opportunity for personal growth and to work with an excellent set of people. ”
-Muhammad Sohail , Team Theiah
The teams that won at each of the 6 regional contests and 2 teams that won a wild-card round participated in a summer incubator. Around the same time, as a Hult student, 5 of my peers and I were undergoing a business development process of our own through our capstone project. My team member Divine Boadu puts it best when he says: “Understanding the feasibility of business is imperative in the entire product development process. Through the Hult Business Challenge project, I was able to gain a deeper knowledge of where to start and who to talk to when different ideas seemed futile”.
“Understanding the feasibility of business is imperative in the entire product development process. I was able to gain a deeper knowledge of where to start and who to talk to when different ideas seemed futile”
– Divine Boadu, Hult Student
As my one year in Hult came to a close and graduation finished it off, Hult Prize equally drew towards the finals and towards selecting a team to be the winners of Hult Prize. But, the outcome of Hult Prize was more than just one winner: each person that participated took away something from Hult Prize–and as Hult students we had all taken away and grown so much from our year too. Wycliffe of BuuPass (formally known as Magic Bus) said: “the connections I made during Hult Prize made all the difference”. Just as Hult builds the business leaders that will shape the world tomorrow, The Hult Prize has also developed business leaders of the future in each of its participants.
Adwoa Benefaa Ofori is a graduate of the Master of International Business program at the Hult Dubai campus. Pursuing her post-graduate degree internationally became a springboard for her to discover new markets and her inner entrepreneur. Adwo has a keen interest in business development and finance. Her goal is to establish a tech business that becomes a major player in the finance industry.