For two-year MBA students, the summer after first year usually means an internship or a much-needed break. At IESE Business School in Barcelona, you can take the unique opportunity to become an entrepreneur.
Starting in June, IESE’s Summer Entrepreneurship Experience takes place on campus until August, at which point participants continue to work on their ideas from home. Every Monday, students meet with tutors and professors to present their progress, with tailored deadlines and goals that force them to be creative.
We talked to three MBA students on program to find out more:
Portuguese MBA Ricardo Mota is looking for funding for his mobile payment platform
Though I previously worked in Brazilian investment banking, my goal was always to become an entrepreneur, and realized that it would take an MBA to provide me with the necessary skills.
The Summer Entrepreneurship Experience was, for me, the perfect opportunity to experience entrepreneurship in a sandbox environment. My team and I are currently working on an app called LISTO, a FinTech company that enables you to pay your restaurant bill by phone, so that you don’t have to wait for someone to bring it to you.
Coming from a technical background, the soft skill benefits of the program were huge for me. There’s no point in having a great idea if you can’t sell it to the man on the street.
The feedback we received from the board was also incredibly useful and motivating, and we now know everything we need to in order to make LISTO happen. We were also really shocked by how friendly the entrepreneurial community here in Spain is, and how willing many of them are to help.
The biggest thing for us, however, was interacting with our market; you come in with this notion that your idea is perfect but I can’t emphasize enough how essential contact with your customers is during the planning stage.
We’re looking for investors and payment partners at this stage, and the IESE brand name will be key in establishing those links. IESE networking is going to be a crucial part of our venture.
Multi-talented Mexican entrepreneur Antonio Martinez is launching a p2p platform
IESE’s entrepreneurial focus really set it apart from other schools for me, and the Summer Entrepreneurship Experience makes it completely unique.
Over the summer, I worked on a venture with three others which aimed to import and sell sake, the Japanese rice-based wine, in Spain, promoting cultural awareness of it at the same time. I’m also working on my own venture, Mandadito, a P2P platform for the exchange of international goods.
I’m sure that without the summer program, neither of these ventures would have progressed so quickly. A key learning point for me was to connect with the customer as soon as possible, and to revise the idea accordingly. Learning to network well was also of huge importance, particularly in convincing people that Spain has a potential sake market.
We’ve been able to acquire some great contacts in the VC world through the Summer Entrepreneurship Experience, and being part of IESE’s entrepreneurship club was also great for getting access to investors. We’re hoping to pitch to people soon at FINAVES, IESE’s own venture capital firm.
Joy Asfar is innovating with her online logistics tool
Before my MBA at IESE, I worked as the director of a contemporary art gallery in London, which I imagined to be similar to managing a business. I originally came to study my MBA at IESE to gain the fundamental business knowledge I felt I’d lacked previously.
Our venture, TransWiz, is an online shipment and fleet management tool, which helps SME and logistic operators to coordinate and manage their shipments. Over the summer, we saw amazing progression in our team, and the initial lack of investment brought about true ingenuity.
The IESE professors that chaired the program were hugely helpful in challenging us every week and pushing us to our limits. They were also able to put us in touch with relevant figures in the transport industry, which was great added value for us.