Meeting at Boston University
We began the last day of our study trip with lectures at Boston University. First with professor Vinit Nijhawan, who told us that the entrepreneur’s focus and only ambition is to satisfy customer needs. Then the last lecture was giving by Mr Erik Molander, who taught us the customer discovery phase analysis which must be a central piece of the entrepreneurial mindset. Thereafter we had the privilege to talk to both of them during the lunch break.
Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship & Novartis
In the afternoon we went to the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, where we had the honour the meet Bill Autet. His presentation was about the 24 steps to a successful start-up, a schema which appears in his book, a must read for future entrepreneurs.
The day as well as this trip ended in the Novartis building. We had a “solar impulse and the Swiss American aerospace connections” conference preceded by a networking session. This conference was held by the MIT professor Olivier De Weck. We learned the technological advances in this field as well as the issues they face.
Boston and Worcester are cities we recommend not only for study trips or pleasure but definitely for business.
Meeting to NeuroPhage:
This morning we started with the visit of the company NeuroPhage, an innovative Therapeutic platform, for a meeting with the co-founder Mr Hampus Hillestorm.
Mr Hampus told us, that “company’s value is mostly driven by getting the right people at the right time”. To him, it is “important to decide who is a founder, when 2 or more people would create a company” and it is crucial to “don’t work with people for which the principal attract is Money and Option”. With him we learned the basic rules when you launch a start up.
Rewards and Challenges for European companies when entering US Market.
We returned to Swissnex to have a conference with Mr. Jos Scheffelaar, the CEO of LaunchInUS Alliance about the Rewards and Challenges for European companies when entering US Market.
When we would enter in the US Market, there are three elements that must be considered:
- Business Environment: while the US is the country of Great Opportunities and where the market is brutally competitive, with no consideration for international company.
- Marketing Challenge: because the market has more segment in a particular industry than a single European country and American people want to quickly understand the product’s value.
- Other Challenges as: hire local sales & marketing talent but we do stay careful to select whom we hire and be careful for the location of the 1st office
The afternoon start with a stop at Aeronaut, which is an incubator for food start-ups. It was an amazing to see the energy of those people and their passion for what they are doing. The incubator has start-up in beers, chocolate and others all artisanal. The logo is a simple can opening but if you pay more attention you could see a balloon, the aim is to say that in every little thing you can have an adventure.
The next door was an indoor climbing and fitness center named Brooklyn Boulders. They have space for climbing, fitness, yoga and more. But they don’t want to be seen as a simple center of fitness and indoor climbing that’s why they create a space for to chill out and a space to work on your computer. What is important to them is to create a community where everyone feels good.
We have been received by the Director of the Office of International Programs, Mr Stuart P. Krussel.
With him we were able to make the tour of MIT School Sloan. We started by MIT School of Management Sloan for which “the mission is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice”.
Then we did a brief stop at the entrepreneurship and innovation department which host especially Swatch. To conclude with the house of the founder of MIT and the famous building with the cupola which host the library. The tour ended front of the Stata Center.
Meeting with Fady Saad
Mr Fady Saad the Founder of ePowerhouse gave us a lecture on his vision for the company, at Swissnex.
His explanations of the many facets of a company and all which must be taken into effect either in the creation or during the evolution of the company, allowed some of us to realize the many elements that make up a company are related to each other and allow us to see the company global. We will remember a quote “the only way to absorb the complexly is complex”. Which prove us that the company will need to adapt all the time to face the market.
Transfer to Masschallenge via Park Street. Masschallenge is the leader of “high impact potential” Strat Up in the world. Their team is helping 120 Strat-ups around the world in their development.
We really realized how much big firms which are the sponsor of this non-profit organization encourage the entrepreneurship. They plan to open 10 Masschallenge during the next 5 years, let hope we will have one in Switzerland.
Last stop of the day was the Northeastern University. On the way we could visit the Museum of fine Art. May be we will have time to visit before we leave.
Northeastern University is focused on engineering and there, we have met the founder of Union Square Donuts. He is young and motived and did not take in consideration the leader competition Dunkin Donuts only focus on the satisfaction of the costumer need.
Finish for today. We keep in touch for the next day
We finished our first week in Worcester with the opportunity to get immersed in the “Leadership” class of Prof. Sharon Wulf. Before starting the lesson, we mingled with 18-years-old students in order to share our background, working experiences and our future projects. We were amazed to see how these young students were so motivated and involved. We noticed that during the lessons students had the possibility to express their opinions and thoughts in a real time using twitter. Very interesting because the tweets were displayed on the board. As the tweet “take me to Switzerland” written by an American student appeared on the screen everybody started to laugh.
Finally we were invited by a Fraternity for a dinner. They opened their doors and showed us their huge house, where about 50 of them live. We spent a nice evening chatting with them on different topics and experiencing the American Campus life. What an fascinating and impressive experience!
Let’s move to Boston and keep our mind open and curious to this amazing study trip.
Immersion in the “Leadership” class of Prof. Sharon Wulf.
Amazed to see how they use tweets to express their opinions and thoughts in a real time.
Invitation in a Fraternity for a dinner. We spent a nice evening chatting with them on different topics and experiencing the American Campus life!
Today, we had the opportunity to test our entrepreneur’s skills with a simulation game called “Marketplace”. In 4 groups of 5 to 7 people, all competing with each other, we began at the very beginning of a startup lifecycle operating in the microprocessors industry. Following each important step that an entrepreneur has to trough, we had to make several decisions with a same goal in mind: selling our products.
Here some of the most important decisions we had to make:
- Definition of our vision, our mission and our goals
- Choice of the most adequate customer target
- Development of a product that meets the customer’s needs
- Choice of the best marketing mix
- Production planning
- Opening of sales offices and hiring of salespeople
For sure, the most funny and exciting part of the day was the comparison of the results obtained by each team at the end. An interesting point to notice for us as students was that the ones who were really successful during the first quarters, are not necessarily the same at the end. One decision can totally change the game; one decision can totally change the future of a start-up, in a good or a bad way!
Exciting, challenging & rich of lessons !
Let’s go live with the simulation game “Marketplace”. In groups of 5 to 7 students, we tried today to put all our knowledge together to launch a virtual start-up and boost our sales.
More or less successful, we all enjoyed playing the game and endorsing the entrepreneur’s role. Exciting, challenging & rich of lessons !
We, as a part of the 2013-2015 MBA class, arrived yesterday in Worcester to start this unique incredible experience in the USA: discovering new markets. Antoinette of Swissnex and Prof. Jerry Shaufeld welcomed us on the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Campus. We started with Prof. Jerry Shaufeld’s class, who gave us an introduction about the main differences between Switzerland and the US in starting a new business. In the afternoon, we discussed with Prof. Sharon Wulf about leadership in emerging companies. Our first day ended with an interesting Campus tour and the opportunity to observe WPI Students Government.
What for a great start!
Welcome in Worcester: our study trip to discover new markets has started! We arrived yesterday and we met already interesting people at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Campus, like Prof. Sharon Wulf, who gave us an introduction about leadership in emerging companies.
Thanks to Prof. Jerry Worcester we had the pleasure to discover the huge Worcester Polytechnic Institute Campus. WPI was founded in 1865 and more than 4000 students are studying there. The Campus life is very active and students participate in nearly 200 extracurricular activities.
The student community is really alive with activity!
Our first day ended with an interesting opportunity of observing Students Government Association at WPI. The Associations acts as the voice for the undergraduate student body, and encourages open communication between students and the WPI community. Click on http://sga.wpi.edu/index.pl
What for a great start!
First Day in Boston :
Monday morning, meeting with Bob Caspe at Swissnex in Boston.
Technology is the challenge of our generation.
The old models for business are no longer available.
That’s why entrepreneurs that we are, must create our own model of success.
After a first visit of CIC, where we will return on Thursday for Venture Café, all the class trod the steps of Harvard Business School.
The space of an hour, through the various libraries, amphitheatre and the lab of start-ups, we were able to immerse ourselves in the shoes of Harvard students.