Have you ever wondered what it takes to launch a new business? The best and fastest way to learn how to do something new is to start from scratch. That’s the philosophy behind the Enterprise Challenge, one of four core challenges of Daniels’ full-time Denver MBA program.
The Enterprise Challenge gives students the experience of pitching and developing a new business idea. For Rahul Kochikar (MBA 2018), it was a lesson on how a team can work when everyone wants to play the same role.
Rahul’s team planned a company called RentSmart. “It was a backbone to bring together renters and tenants,” he said, “because we found that in the current renter landscape there’s quite a bit of a gap between the two. There’s not enough interpersonal connection between the two parties. So the objective of RentSmart was to try and bridge that gap by bringing a more personal flavor to renting.”
The platform would allow renters to look up reviews of their new landlord by previous renters, for example, and would allow landlords to look up reviews of renters, so each could make their decision with more confidence.
The dynamic on Rahul’s team was “pretty tricky” at the start, he said. All students receive an in-depth 360-degree review at the beginning of the program based on surveys of their past coworkers. And according to Rahul, “all five of us were in the passive area of the leadership 360,” meaning that in the past, “everyone would always wait for someone else to speak up or wait until something’s been established to talk and move forward.”
Because everyone on the team was working on developing the same new strengths, “we all wanted to speak first and be more assertive and active in the entire project,” Rahul said.
“It was very interesting to know that in the first week or two of being a team, because all of us are working on the same thing, but if all of us did the same thing, you would not be able to gain value from it. So we decided to take turns. For different areas of the project we would each be the primary point of contact, and when those came up, we would be entrusted with the leadership of that portion.”
They were able to work out their process with the help of a group coach. Each team meets regularly with a group coach during every team challenge, to help them work through issues and find ways to be most effective.
Their coach “worked with us initially to identify that all five of us were in a similar boat,” Rahul said, “and she gave us tips on how each of us can supplement each other’s goals without stepping on each other’s toes, and that was really helpful.”
“It felt good to explore the idea of being less passive and more assertive, and more aggressive in some sense.”
Rahul walked away from the experience with a good view into entrepreneurship. He’s found that for him, starting a business might be an option for the future, but not just yet. “It gave me the perspective that I should gain a little more experience and more worldly ideas before I dip my toes into entrepreneurship overall,” he said.
“I feel like I need to develop a good sense of business practices and business operations before delving into creating something of my own.”
Want to learn more about Rahul and his MBA experience at Daniels? Click here to read his student profile.