The Hult Business Challenge

Three months to find the best solution to a global corporation’s challenge, or to bring your own startup idea to market—business experience doesn’t get more practical than this. You'll put learning into competitive action, work in a cross-cultural, cross-functional team and discover more about your resilience than you ever imagined.

Pick your track

The Entrepreneurial Track

This is the ultimate stress test for ambitious entrepreneurs. Bring your startup idea to the table and develop a viable business plan to present to investors and successful entrepreneurs. Inspired by someone else’s innovative idea? Join their team and experience the thrill of startup life.

The Corporate Track

Each year, the management of a forward-thinking multinational company sets a strategic challenge, asking you to develop solutions to a real problem at the cutting-edge of global trends. In 2017, students helped Unilever tackle how best to create advocacy for sustainable living through leveraging technological and social change. Other past participants include Siemens, IBM, and Johnson & Johnson.

Form your team

Find strength in diversity

We’ll support you in finding teammates with complementary skill sets, but one thing is certain—your team will be the most diverse you’ve ever worked with. Differences in nationalities, industries, backgrounds, and experiences are a given, and you’ll learn as much from how you harness the strength of that diversity as you do from the challenge itself.

The Hult Business Challenge teaches agility—the confidence to be wrong and fail fast. That’s what businesses need today. Students at Hult are encouraged to think for themselves and embrace uncertainty.There are no right answers to these challenges—it’s about innovating. 

James Eteen

Hult Business Challenge Coach and Former Partner at EY 

Develop your strategy

Do your research

After an intensive workshop where you cover breakthrough research methodologies, you’ll design a lean business model for your idea and create testable hypotheses. You’ll also attend a rapid-ideation weekend to develop a prototype solution. Then it’s time to start testing the strength of your idea.

Find helpful experts

All executives need to connect with experienced mentors for feedback and advice—and you’ll do the same as part of your challenge. Last year for example, students working on a preventative diseases challenge for Johnson & Johnson partnered with local doctors and the U.K.’s Department of Health.

Test your concepts

Face your first Checkpoint Challenger

At key points throughout the challenge, your team will meet with industry experts and practitioners to hear brutally honest feedback on your ideas. They’ll expose weaknesses so you know where and how to adapt your plan. It’s a chance to gather invaluable feedback from experienced people who have been there before you.

Meet with your coach 

Your team will be supported by a dedicated coach who will help you focus your ideas, prep for pitches, and guide you through feedback. James Eteen, a coach at our London campus who was formerly a partner at EY with 18 years’ experience in management consulting, said “I’m here to make sure students ask the right questions and are focused on the idea with the most strength."

Refine your solution

Adapt, test, adapt again

Adapting your solution and re-testing it in the field is an iterative and ongoing process, and the agile approach taken by startups and progressive corporates alike. This is the core of the project and how your team works will be up to you. You’ll meet with your coach again and undergo another Checkpoint Challenge before creating your final plan.

Polish and prepare

This end stage is where you finalize your customer value proposition, polish your elevator pitch, and prepare for your client or investor presentations. An additional workshop will help you master how to communicate your idea with impact.

Deliver your presentation

Make your pitch

All teams take part in on-campus competitions where they present to a panel of expert judges and, the harshest critics of all—their peers.

The best ideas for the corporate track are submitted to the corporate client for their comments and to see if they want to develop the idea further, while many students on the entrepreneurial track go on to launch their startup in the market.

Business Challenge 2016: Preemptive disease treatment with Johnson & Johnson

Systemic heart disease, gestational diabetes, and perinatal depression are widespread global health issues. In most cases, they can be predicted and treated before the onset of the disease, and in some cases they can be intercepted after onset but before the arrival of symptoms. But people don’t often seek treatment for a disease they are only likely to get, or for which they have not yet experienced symptoms. Often they don’t even know they’re at risk of illness.

Johnson & Johnson addresses the issue through its Janssen Research Disease Interception Accelerator. Johnson & Johnson asked our students: How can we make treatment of these diseases become preemptive rather than reactive? What business models will facilitate a transition from a “diagnose and treat” approach to a “predict and preempt” approach? The healthcare and biotech industries are some of the biggest and fastest growing in the world. This was a huge opportunity for Hult’s Class of 2016 to have a significant impact in this exciting new space.