From an Entrepreneur to a Management Consultant – A weekend journey.
City Starters Weekend – Oct 21st 2016
City Starters Weekend is exactly what it sounds like. Over a weekend, you bring an idea and if it gets selected you get to form your teams , work on the idea and pitch it on Sunday in front of judges. If you get selected, you get a prize and the pride to carry on with an idea.
It’s the best environment for people who want to become an entrepreneur, and for people whom this start-up thing seems cool. But as a part of larger cohort in City University, you get a far better environment than other open Starter Weekends. You are in your City Family and it’s a safer environment to experiment and work on your business model, approach and presentation skills.
So that part was for promoting the event, now you have to give it to the staff who work really hard for the event (special mention for our Professor Aurore Hochard). So now, since I have ensured my good marks, lets get into the story.
I came up with an idea of digital integration in auto-mobiles to make them safer, don’t read on if you think I will share my ‘actual’ idea with you guys, as Thor would say “you’re not worth it” YET.
I pitched and did not get selected, although people said that my pitch was good, but who cares about cars any more. The room was full of millennials and they have a very different set of priorities. Hence, to ease of a bit of disappointment, I went to the nearest pub with a friend of mine. Whilst still under healing my pride, this guy with unusual hair came up to me and said, ‘Would you work for me over the weekend and try to develop my business model’ (his idea was selected).
I didn’t need to hear the idea and just said ‘YES’. I generally do say yes to people and not products. Well I reached day 2, and there was only this guy working there. I felt a bit sad for him as others who had said yes to helping him, never showed up. I thought the guy seems okay, let’s have a go at it. His idea was called WOOLAND, I am not sharing this idea either.
What I will tell you, however, is the back-story. WOOLAND is a brainchild of Eduardo, he is an MSc Student at Cass and is an exceptional musician. He started showing me his idea and he had already pretty much worked it through. But as a businessman I kept on asking more questions, such as where does the money come from (although only to myself). And then started the journey of a management consultant – Mr. Umang Shankar, at your service Sir.
We went over the business model, over and over again, trying to make a bit of sense from the whole thing, no offence but Eduardo is a musician and artists are the beacons of civilizations, these guys show the way and we count the stones. Both are needed and both need to be respected. By lunch time another very decent bloke with awesome PPT skills; David, my classmate Dan, and Eduardo’s classmate, Alice joined in. And suddenly we have an Idea, an eccentric CEO , a team and the model that can make money.
Come the final pitch day, that is generally Sunday, because if you guys don’t know it yet, it’s the day when the weekend generally ends, we had to decide who pitches what. As you always do in group presentations, you divide the part to show the group cohesion and to let everyone take part. We practised and it just didn’t work. I was not having any of it, and said, rather bluntly ‘It’s your idea we’ve worked for and I believe it’s you who should go ahead and pitch it’. In all these pitch contests we need to keep in mind the benchmarks, all big product launches such as Apple do not happen with 5 people talking about their departments, there is only one guy with specs, talking about the product. Well we did it and result was, a prize was invented for us, the best pitch presentation….
Learning :- Do whatever you are good at and don’t shy away from making tough decisions.
Please have a look at the entire event’s video :-
Full-time MBA (2017)