eMBA Field Report: A First Foray into Scaleups

As part of Endeavor’s annual eMBA program, MBA students from around the country are selected to work on-site with our entrepreneurs for 10 weeks. University of Michigan Ross School of Business student Daria Gorodnia worked in Quito with Location World. Here, she reflects on lessons learned. 

The University of Michigan eMBA students at Location World in Quito

Earlier this year I was a part of a five-MBA student team from the University of Michigan, working as a consultant on a strategy project with Location World, an innovative, Ecuador-based SaaS company operating a connected car business in Latin America. Having only worked for large corporations throughout my career, working with Location World was a great experience for me. I found the culture, the people, and the dynamic of a start-up environment to be very refreshing. While there were many takeaways from the project, one that I found the most valuable was the idea of “bias for action.” It’s often talked about in the corporate world, but where you really see it in action is in a rapidly growing technology start-up. And Location World is a great example.

A little bit about our actual project with Location World: The client asked our team to recommend a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for an automotive telematics SaaS business, provide industry benchmarks and design a dashboard to help management make strategic decisions to grow the business profitably and efficiently. Then, we were to take these recommended inputs and company’s actual financial performance data and feed both into a valuation model that would dynamically display the value of a company at any given point in time. On a high level, the project was all about connecting decisions with company valuation, which go hand in hand and are particularly important for entrepreneurs.

While working on the project, I met great people from Location World’s Quito office and got emerged into the fast-paced dynamic of the business. Throughout our three-month collaboration, I observed first-handed what a “bias for action” really means. It’s all about making decisions based on imperfect and incomplete information, learning from past experiences, and sometimes trusting your gut feeling. In the corporate world, we tend to over-analyze and try to get to a perfect answer. But in so doing, we often miss out on opportunities and valuable learning experiences. Besides, in the real world, there are no perfect solutions to most business problems. It’s all about complexity, ambiguity, flexibility, and agility. Those who conduct due diligence, are comfortable with making decisions in uncertain situations and taking action, often succeed, and not just by winning, but also by failing, failing fast and learning from the experience, to emerge as stronger players in the next round.

At the end of the day, one must find a balance. And this is what my experience at Location World and Endeavor has taught me – be analytic, do you due diligence, use your business acumen, but be courageous, be decisive, be confident about your decisions and act on them, and most importantly learn from all your experiences.