Written by Joanna Hughes

Think hackathons are the sole domain of techies? Think again. Business students, too, are getting in on the action as they realize their potential to fuel creativity and boost innovation. Here’s a closer look at the trend, as reported by BusinessBecause.

Little Sleep, Lots of Opportunities

Hackathons originally began in the coding community as members came together to 'hack' problems. But they weren’t just calling on their tech skills during these sessions. Problem-solving, decision-making, and the entrepreneurial spirit were also coming into play -- qualities business schools are also looking to imbue in their students.

Enter business school hackathons. Designed around topics pertaining to everything from education to sustainability, business school hackathons offer students the chance to attack business problems through the hackathon model.

Collaboration is Key

Take first-year ESMT Berlin MBA student Demis Estabridis, for example. After having organized hackathon events in his native Peru, he envisioned bringing them to the school. “I had realized that it was very insightful for business people and tech people to share mindsets. It’s usually hard to bring these people together before MBAs go into a new job,” he said.

Estabridis reached out to Berlin’s strong hackathon community, which led to the establishment of “Hacknight” at ESMT. Estabridis added, “ESMT supported the idea from the very beginning; they loved the reason why we were doing this kind of event. And we managed to bring a lot of people together that had no previous experience in hackathons, which was also part of the plan!”

In addition to business schools, traditional corporations are also embracing hackathons. Estabridis concluded, “Companies are doing a hackathon to gather new ideas and to innovate, and startups are also using them to found teams that can build those ideas for them. [...] But also for simply recruiting new people -- hackathons are the new way of recruiting top tech talent.”


Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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