Loyola University Seeks MBA Student Leaders For IDEAcorps MBA Consulting Challenge

NEW ORLEANS – Loyola University New Orleans announced a region-wide call for applications from MBA student leaders for the IDEAcorps MBA Consulting Challenge, which will take place as part of the 9th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), presented by IBERIABANK, on March 16-19, 2017. IDEAcorps is an immersive consulting experience, where MBA student teams work with early-stage entrepreneurs to radically grow a startup company in four days.

         The IDEAcorps program is unique nationally and solves a major problem facing MBA students today: students lack true real-world opportunities to apply their skills and learn by doing. Existing business plan competitions have student teams form educated guesses about running a business, while IDEAcorps allows MBA students to actually run an existing startup for four days as a temporary part of the company’s founding team. Furthermore, student teams in business plan competitions use desk research and untested assumptions to predict problems a business may encounter, while IDEAcorps student teams develop and test solutions to problems an entrepreneur is facing in reality.

         In entrepreneurship, the process of defining problems and validating solutions is where most of the learning happens. To this end, the program brings in local business leaders and investors as rotating mentors throughout the weekend, and hosts a networking dinner sponsored by a local professional organization, such as Louisiana Entrepreneurs’ Organization for last year’s program. Students can also have a potential long-term impact on participating IDEAcorps companies. As 2016 participating entrepreneur Tim Kappel said, “If Echo succeeds, it will be in no small part because of IDEAcorps and [the team’s] efforts.”

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         Of the 2016 IDEAcorps participants, 11 out of 13 MBA students reported that the experience changed their perspective on entrepreneurship, while 100% of participants said the program helped them with their current jobs or future career prospects. Moreover, 2016 LSU team leader Steven Goyne reflected on his IDEAcorps experience as being transformational. “The reality of the study of business as an academic discipline is that experiential learning is an absolute necessity,” he said. “IDEAcorps provides that, and more, including networking opportunities with one of the strongest communities of entrepreneurs and investors in the nation.”

         The immersive weekend starts on Thursday afternoon and concludes on Sunday evening. In four days, teams identify a problem the entrepreneur is facing, develop a solution, validate that solution through customer interviews and market research, and finally present the entrepreneur with a plan he or she can implement immediately. In a culminating event, the teams are then judged by a panel of business leaders on how far they have “moved the needle” for the company over the weekend. The 2016 panel of judges included:


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• Mike De Boer, CIO, GE Capital Tech Center;

• Brent Godfry, Past IDEAcorps Operations Director;

• Katie LeGardeur, Managing Director, JP Morgan;

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• Gay LeBreton, Managing Director, Chaffe & Associates;

• John Payne, CEO, Caesars Entertainment; and

• Hank Torbert, Principal, RL McCall Capital Partners.


         This year, Loyola University is expanding the call for team leader applications to universities across the Southeast.

         “All great journeys start with a first step,” said Jon Atkinson, Founding Director of Loyola’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development. “IDEAcorps is a window to the hard work that goes on behind the scenes and challenges MBAs to bring order and strategy to the firehose of opportunity that the entrepreneur faces each day.”

         Student leaders take on the role of aspiring business leaders and help develop teams at their universities. Each team can have up to six students and should have a diversity of professional backgrounds and skill sets, as well as a strong drive and work ethic. A faculty mentor is encouraged but not required.

         IDEAcorps was launched in 2006 by The Idea Village as a founding component of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Loyola University entered a partnership with The Idea Village in March 2015 to begin hosting the competition and to help institutionalize it with regional schools.

         Schools and startups participating in the 2016 Louisiana-focused competition included:


• Louisiana State University, paired with founder Tim Kappel and Echo, an app that lets you rediscover and share your musical past;

• Loyola University, paired with founder Karynn Verrett and TOURED, an app that provides curated and personalized travel experiences; and

• Tulane University, paired with founder Marco Altamirano and GradSquare, an online employment hub for people with advanced degrees.


         Student team leaders must apply online by Saturday, October 1, 2016.

         Applications are available here



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