LBS alumni start-up founders open their doors to students from the BITS School of Management

BITS School of Management students joined a two-week programme at LBS and worked with LBS alumni founders helping them solve their start-up business challenges as part of the Entrepreneur Project Labs.

BITS School of Management visitors

What an interesting time it’s been to be in London lately! With political changes and historical world events happening all around us, in September LBS hosted 78 students from the inaugural cohort of the BITS School of Management (“BITSoM”) MBA programme for a 2-week programme entitled “Perspectives on Global Leadership”. Entrepreneurship and innovation were core themes running through the programme as well as cross-cultural leadership, sustainability and the shifting balance of economic power across the world.

As well as working with some of LBS’s leading faculty in these areas, groups of students worked with real businesses in ‘Entrepreneur Project Labs’. The Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital ( IEPC) was core in helping connect the entrepreneurs with the programme team and the BITSoM students, with many of the entrepreneurs themselves being LBS alumni and graduates of the LBS Incubator.

LBS Programme Director Richard Walton said: “A key facet of the programme design was to give the BITSoM students the experience of being immersed in the challenges and uncertainties faced by entrepreneurs. The IEPC was a vital partner in enabling us to fulfil this objective for the students, whilst also providing the partnering companies with some fresh thinking and progress on crucial business challenges.

The student groups were tasked with working alongside the founders of one of the businesses to help them progress with a real business challenge facing them. Less than 2 weeks after starting, the groups each delivered a short presentation to an expert panel including entrepreneurs, leading academics and programme team members, summarising their findings and recommendations. The presentations were part of a capstone event held in the Nuffield Hall at LBS and demonstrated the knowledge and skills the students had been able to develop through the programme.  

The Entrepreneur Project Labs provided a unique opportunity for students to consult with and work alongside business founders to really get an insight into the challenges they face. For the entrepreneurs this was a chance to leverage some fresh thinking by a hugely talented, diverse and engaged group, creating genuine new insight and understanding in relation to critical issues.

The feedback from both students and entrepreneurs about the experience was overwhelmingly positive. When asked what aspects of the Entrepreneur Project Lab work were most valuable, many students cited things such as “Working with the founder”, “Exposure to a start-up and the problems it faces when it’s in a nascent stage” and said that “Interactions with the (founding) team gave us a new perspective.

The partnering entrepreneurs were equally enthusiastic about the experience. Anna Szymanowska, Founder of Fighter Shots, said “I was very impressed by the quality of the presentation and recommendations from the BITSoM students given the relatively limited time and information they hadthey assessed the project with a lot of common sense, evaluating the cost and breakeven point and highlighted the risks, even contextualising their recommendations based on customer business maturity. It took up only a few hours of my time and the resulting insights were definitely worth it!

We hope this is just the beginning of a long association between LBS, BITSoM and the IEPC community and look forward to welcoming future programmes to London.