Budapest, Hungary: a new approach to study abroad

Student teams in the Venture Advising Consulting Course taught by Clifford Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship, spend 10 days in Budapest, Hungary immersed in the startup community and working on specific projects with founders. They also learn about Eastern European history and culture. Each team in this year’s course will submit a blog post about their experience and consulting project.

Szia from Budapest! Over the course of our intensive, onsite week in Hungary, we worked with a local education company that wants to expand a new kind of study abroad program to students throughout Central Europe. Our client, Milestone Institute, helps Hungarian students get into and succeed at highly selective Universities in the UK. They also look to bring these students back to Hungary to build the future generation of business and community leaders. Milestone asked us to suggest strategies to build an international presence.

Milestone Institute Mission: Our mission is to act as a national centre for nurturing, launching and bringing home talent. Rather than strike out on their own, we seek to create a community of bright young minds who want to broaden their horizon by studying abroad. Our hope is that they will return, so that Hungary as a whole will benefit from the experience and skills they have gained. In the last four years, we have thus prepared nearly 300 students for leading English-speaking universities.

budapest1AA lot of our work in the education market has been informed by our experiences around Budapest. The country is relatively small, with only 10 million people. However, as Hungary is a member of the European Union, it has much stronger ties and relationships with neighboring countries. The country sees itself more as a key stakeholder in the Central European Region. This worldview impacts the value we see Milestone can provide, as their services could prove highly beneficial to other local markets.

Monday: On Monday, we got a personal perspective on Hungary’s history. Hungary is a country which shares its history with the Roman Empire: Roman Law and Roman Catholicism. However, there are cultural differences as well which encompass a free people mindset, primarily branching out from German philosophy. During the 19th century, Hungary and Austria formed the Austro-Hungarian empire, creating a melting pot for people from different cultures, which can still be seen today through the art and architecture in Budapest.

BUdapest1CTuesday: On Tuesday we had the privilege to meet with two of the founders of Milestone Institute. The founders had so many ideas about what to do and how to best support Hungarian startups and NGOs, while at the same time encouraging Hungarian students to study abroad.

Having a strong vision, Milestone Institute will help to put Budapest, Hungary, on the map as a leading force in the study abroad educational market as well as improving economic prospects for startups.

Wednesday: On Wednesday, We prepared for our first presentation and got advice from David, our project leader, on how we were doing. Professor Orban taught us to use a MECE tree structure to test hypotheses and formulate the problem in its entirety. We spent most of Wednesday developing this model and fine-tuning our understanding of how to tackle this project going forward.
Budapest1B
Thursday: Our day began quite intensely, as we presented our approach for the summer to Professor Orban. Afterwards, we stopped in at our clients location for further clarification and to discuss an action plan for the summer. Following this, we continued with more preliminary research for our final presentation in Budapest.

We look forward to continuing our work over the summer and have taken much different perspectives from our time in Budapest!

By Anish Agrawal, Adam Clark, Sawyer Kelly, Lauren Rogge

Top Image: Budapest Heroes Monument, Giannis Arvanitakis, Flickr creative commons

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