I arrived at the venue in the pouring rain, not really knowing what to expect. It was an early start and I was looking forward to the prospects of breakfast, shelter and the exciting day ahead.
Over breakfast we had just one hour to interview representatives from four companies (McKinsey, Regus, BNP Paribas and the Civil Service) to find problems they faced that could potentially be solved by a startup. The challenge came in finding the right questions to ask that could unlock the idea generation process in the shortest period of time.
Once this hour was over, each group was assigned a company to solve problems for. We were given McKinsey, and since none of us had any experience in consultancy, it felt as though this was going to be a difficult task. Nonetheless, we set about trying to come up with a good idea by the end of the day. After various remarks about how we had just become a ‘consultancy for a consultancy’, we came to the conclusion that McKinsey wasted hours of valuable time simply formatting PowerPoint documents. By creating a simple plugin, we could solve one of their major issues – managing versions of a PowerPoint document constructed by a team of people. We estimated that it could save a well-paid analyst 5hrs a week, providing a significant financial incentive for McKinsey and other firms to buy our product.
With renewed enthusiasm for the task ahead, we spent the rest of the day estimating the market size, constructing a financial model and producing a minimum viable product all to be presented to a panel of judges at the end of the day. In the presentation we were pleased to see the product was well received and in fact, McKinsey contacted us afterwards expressing a keen interest in what we had come up with. It really does go to show that by approaching tasks like this with an open mind, it is possible to exceed initial expectations. This is the second EF event I have been to like this one and I have found both of them incredibly useful. For someone with limited business experience having just graduated, these events have given me the chance to practice my presentation skills, liaise with representatives from first class businesses and to try working in teams with people who are equally as enthusiastic as I am to start their own business.
It was a great day, and I would like to thank Founders Fit for doing such a fantastic job of organizing the day.