Dhruv Patel, PMBA
Immediately applying PMBA lessons to gaming startup

Dhruv Patel, PMBA 45, wrote about his personal experience applying his professional MBA education to his startup business.

As gaming becomes more competitively aligned with sports, it has created multiple new business opportunities. Celebrities in professional gaming communities earn millions of dollars a year with major brand endorsement deals and cult-like followings on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and other social media.

As I took notice of this activity, I started a game development and software company called Mathmoola in 2016 to capitalize on this trend. Mathmoola was a simple math game competition website with daily prizes in its early days, and it became an instant hit with 1,500 organic users overnight. Since then, we’ve halted the website operations to focus on app development and developed a software that can turn gaming apps into profitable free-to-enter competitions almost instantly, with monetary prizes for players.

The software will allow game developers to analyze their user data and run profitable competitions, boosting in-app purchases and ad revenue with added incentive for the users to not just play the game, but also earn passive income routinely.

We are basically trying to expand the professional gaming market trend from big computer games to cellular gaming apps. Imagine playing a game like Candy Crush or Temple run on your phone—with an added incentive to win $1,000 a week? Competing in multiple such gaming apps can allow users to earn considerable passive income.

I convinced a senior software engineer and his team from one of the biggest tech giants to join me. I realized that I had a lot of leadership experience being a military officer, but I needed quantitative and qualitative skills to complement my managerial experience to lead such an experienced team.

After being referred to St. Louis’ T-REX business incubator and Arch Grants St. Louis by Megan Waite, then Olin’s associate director of admission for graduate programs, I knew this was the institution committed to developing young entrepreneurs like me. Olin’s PMBA program was naturally a perfect match.

The opportunity to learn new skills every Saturday in the classroom and apply them directly at your work on Monday makes PMBA an ideal program for driven working professionals. Being able to pitch and discuss ongoing challenges to talented group of individuals every Saturday with variety of business experience is a great opportunity to seek valuable mentorship.

My PMBA classmates Sandeep Sign and De Bona Paolo for example, both with statistical and data analysis background provide routine feedback on my progress. As a result, my Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop has improved by tenfold.

Classes such as quantitative decision making, managerial statistics, critical thinking and impactful communication were so applicable to challenges we were facing on a daily basis. Such classes helped us optimize our profit-maximizing models, construct algorithms for our software and do statistical analysis on the expected number of active users and their willingness to pay for in-app features.

We’re testing our software using our original game—Mathmoola—and plan on running multiple gaming apps from various genre in-house. We believe that will give us more flexibility and control over our software initially, making us well differentiated in a saturated market. Maybe in the future, we will start looking into revenue-sharing deals with already established games to reduce development cost and time.

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