Written by Lisa Paredes, Global Ambassador and MBA Alumna, San Francisco campus, Class of 2017.

“The main reason to be optimistic today is that the Millennial generation wants to do good.”

-Dr. Stephen Hodges, President of Hult International Business School

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 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.

Like Hult International Business School, the Hult Prize Foundation is also helping to create the next generation of leaders. Leaders that will do business by doing good, seek strength in diversity, and bring to the market not only their IQ but a developed EQ (emotional intelligence) that will differentiate them from the rest.

With that in mind, we spoke to Hult Prize finalists to see what personal characteristics they shared with the students of Hult International Business School. Here’s what stood out:

1. Purpose-driven leaders

The Hult Prize is a social entrepreneurship competition. Hult Prize Foundation’s CEO, Ahmad Ashkar created the Hult Prize with the vision that having a successful business and working for the benefit of society are not mutually exclusive. Hult Prize entrepreneurs are solving social problems in the world by coming up with business ideas. Their passion was contagious and inspiring as we saw them pitch their ideas during the finals.

We asked some of the finalists about their thoughts on how they got to the final stage of the competition. Rebeca Toledo, from the Mexican team U Gas told us told us that what kept them going was their passion for their project and always reminding themselves the reason why they were doing this.

“Never stop believing in your vision”

– Amal Naufer, Empower10 Team.

2. Developed self-awareness

Hult Prize participants went through a whole year of working on their idea, preparing for the local competition, regionals, going through the accelerator, and finally preparing for the final. This process challenged them and their teams in ways they couldn’t have imagined in one year.

We asked the finalists what they learned about leadership during this process and all their answers showed a high degree of self-awareness. Amal Naufer from the Canadian team Empower10 shared with us how she thought she knew about leadership before coming to the competition but during this process learned everything that leadership is really about. William Akoto from the Canadian team Kwado also shared with us the key to success for working in a team: The importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses to bring value to the team.

“You can’t be everything”

– William Akoto, Kwado Tea

3. Teamwork

Teamwork is one of the most powerful skills Hult International Business School teaches on its academic programs. Learning how to manage a team and work with different people is also one of the most important elements of the Hult Prize journey. Every one of the finalists emphasized how the Hult Prize journey developed them as leaders by working in their teams. The winning team, Roshni Rides, was an obvious example of this. Their team connection was actually visible during their final pitch.

Michael C. Tsai, President of San Francisco Hult Alumni Chapter, shared with us his thoughts on the connections between the Hult Prize and Hult International Business School, saying that both organizations bring people from all around the world together to think outside the box. Michael thinks that Hult Prize works to expand the reach of Hult’s philosophy by creating a global generation community in different schools around the world.

The Hult Prize and Hult International Business School both bring people from all around the world together to think outside the box.

-Michael C. Tsai, Hult Alumnus and President of Hult San Francisco Alumni Chapter

The Hult Prize is an inspiring movement with a global vision of empowering entrepreneurs to do business by doing good. The participants not only become conscious entrepreneurs but also form part of a new generation of global leaders. The global generation is growing and we are excited to see more leaders with a purpose, self-awareness and with the skills to build relationships with people from all around the world.


Lisa Paredes is a Hult Alumna from Guatemala. She was the CEO of a wine distribution company before she left to pursue her postgraduate degree in San Francisco. Her experience as a businesswoman and yoga teacher led her to her biggest passion—working with people.