Hult’s Co-Creation Lab gives budding entrepreneurs real-world experience
When you make the decision to pursue an MBA or a Masters degree abroad, you must be willing to push yourself hard. The experience will be complete only if you challenge yourself to embrace all opportunities, and create new ones. At Hult, I’ve found the resources and the outstanding entrepreneurial environment I need to make the most of my international graduate program—by applying what I’ve learned in the classroom.
One example of the real-world projects that enable you to do this is the Hult Co-Creation Lab. The project was founded in 2013 by two student clubs from the San Francisco campus—the Hult Venture Group and Hult Net Impact. Inspired by a club format at an Italian university, the project provides practical learning and resources, including mentoring, for students in the early stages of building their own ventures.
Essentially, students with a business idea join forces with peers who want to help a venture get off the ground. In this second year of the lab, 44 students from all the Masters programs participated in the project and worked on 14 brand new ventures, with mentoring assistance from Silicon Valley-based professionals.
After workshops, meetings with mentors, and accomplishing several milestones in the three-month program, Co-Creation Lab students participated in the last event of the program on April 17th. We joined 17 other Bay Area startups at the popular San Francisco hotspot, Ruby Skye, for the renowned event “Startups [Shark-Tank].” All the participating teams pitched their ventures to real-life investors, or “sharks.” Among those that pitched, seven were from Hult—and so was the winning team.
Two Hult MIM students, Felipe Galheigo and Anthony Ezidro, are the entrepreneurs behind Startup Jet, a digital platform that connects students, professors and budding startups. They convinced the crowd (including myself), and most importantly, the sharks, that they had the best and most promising venture. When I spoke with them afterwards, they told me the Co-Creation Lab had played a vital role in their win. The mentors had provided guidance and motivation to begin putting the pieces of their venture together. Startup Jet, along with the other Hult teams, are now one step closer to accomplishing their goal of launching—all because of the Hult Co-Creation Lab.
You might be thinking, “That’s great, but I’m not an entrepreneur. I want to work for a established company.” Not all of the lab’s participating students want to launch a startup—they just want to experience what it takes to put one together. In the world of business, every single bit of experience matters. And when you take the risk of doing something you’ve never done before, like turning a great idea into a concrete business model, you learn a lot in the process. Everyone involved in this year’s Co-Creation Lab pushed themselves harder than they’ve ever done before, and applied what they were learning in their programs directly to the ventures they worked hard to create.
The students who organized and coordinated the lab this year, Manindra Majumdar, Luis Cano, Jessica Fonseca, Bruno Sterenberg and Ahmed Sameh, all had the chance to further develop their business skills and build social capital by reaching out to mentors, investors and partners to involve them in the lab. And this was in addition to their involvement in the Hult Venture Group and Net Impact! The students who signed up to develop their ideas into startups learned how to build a venture with a sustainable business model, how to create a unique value proposition, and how to craft a compelling pitch to attract investors.
Hult’s Co-Creation Lab typifies the Hult experience—it requires that all participants be hands-on, and to experience the marketplace. I can’t recommend it enough.
Bruna Piovesan is a Master of International Marketing student and Hult Global Ambassador at Hult International Business School in San Francisco. She is an experienced senior brand strategist, passionate about different cultures, and looks forward to new challenges. She is half Brazilian and half Portuguese and can speak a few random sentences in different languages, collected as world trip “souvenirs.” She is looking forward to hearing from you—find her on Twitter: @brunapp.
The image is from the Co-Creation Lab Facebook page.