Tuesday, November 6, 2012

MBA Student and Entrepreneur

Chris Kwiatkowski, MBA '13

I spent my summer building off of the success that my company had in UGA's Next Top Entrepreneur competition.  RapidCommittee was my business concept, a better, faster, and more efficient way to organize committees, meetings, and preserve historical documentation of all of the information in one online software system.  I built a team around the RapidCommittee business plan and began the process of marketing the concept to potential customers.  RapidCommittee was initially very focused on the academic market and we made numerous contacts and interviewed many decision makers in the U.S. college systems.  We began development of the core product with the help of outside contractors and finished the build of the system's core architecture.  We also launched our website at http://RapidCommittee.com and ran two large market research studies including the investigation into the applicability of the RapidCommittee concept in the healthcare market.
The summer came to a close and the condensed timeline prevented us from going-to-market with a production product without raising investment money. We were committed to getting our product to the minimally viable stage through bootstrapping and are continuing to build onto the product, albeit, much slower now that I am back in my second semester.  The lessons that I learned from the experience of attempting to start and launch a business while in the MBA program were numerous. The most important lesson I learned was time management and scheduling.  A startup business is unpredictable and there are always a hundred things vying for your attention.  Team meetings, interviewing prospective customers, building investment packets, talking with investors, adjusting business plans, and ultimately building a product that the consumer will purchase, are all on the agenda in the startup world. 

I would not trade my summer for any internship.  Running the business required 60 - 70 hour weeks, but at least those hours were the ones that I chose to work and the work was something that I am passionate about.

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