Somebody's product has endorsed by Apple, a group of people discovered a new heat storage method, others became evolutioners of the pharmaceutical industry with their cell simulation software. What is common to all of them: They owe a lot to the educational system of Hungary where they 're all started.
“This subject was taught by a couple of instructors at the Corvinus University Department of Business Economics and we took over the methodology as a student” - says Zsolt Ábrahám, founder of Case-Solvers, a Hungarian startup dealing with case competitions. The instructors have prepared them for the tournaments, and now they recapture the knowledge they have acquired, for example by organizing high school competitions.
He says, he earned the basic set of values at the The Rajk László College for Advanced Studies which still help him to manage the business part of life. And the knowledge from Corvinus helped him not only for competition organizing but it became useful in their own company development as well.
Zsolt Ábrahám has also been added to the list of 30 successful young people under 30th by Forbes Magazine. Their company now stands on four feet: training for companies; case-solving competitions are organized at international level and for other nations (e.g. to Greeks and Romanians).
They have established an agency feet to reach young audience: they can be relayed from their international alumni of 10,000, and it’s a plus that they know the competition results of their members. In addition, they are now dealing with information technology: the companies had a request to quickly gain feedback from the knowledge provided by Case Solvers – so they developed a software to easily measure results.
What did the team have to do to achieve working with such companies today? “There must be determination, faith and passion. You have to do it, there's no excuse. We didn't need money, we are still a service company, the company was set up for five hundred thousand forints, and we bought a projector. We had to give up on the weekends, because we have to travel a lot“ - says Zsolt.
Shapr3D, a CAD software specifically designed for the stronger version of Ipad (called Pro) has achieved something that nobody could do in Hungary, but very few in the world: the product was featured on Apple's own TV commercial in the US, and it was a key player on keynote three times in a row. We were able to reach István Csanády.
"Infinite amount of stubbornness and arrogance" - István replies to the question about what did he have to do to realize his ideas like such a young age. “It was a very, very tough process, very few believed in me. The fact that it started at all I had to believe that I knew better than the others ”. And that hasn't changed, despite the success. There is still a lot of work to be done. “It needs endurance. This is the most important. You're not giving up when the sky is overwhelmed, you need to go ahead.”
The founders of HeatVentors, Rita Farkas and Zoltán Andrássy studied at BME when they came up with an idea: with phase change they can revolutionize heat storage (the energy is stored in changing phases of materials, ideal probably for server rooms). They wrote Scientific Students' Association Conference papers and also a thesis on the subject, and then began to develop a product from it.
Many Hungarian and international accelerator programs behind them and now they are finishing the pilot measurements. In the past, teachers encouraged them to apply to Scientific Students' Association Conferences and the university gave them technical knowledge, but according to Zoltán, accelerator programs were needed to learn the basics of the business.
Kristóf Szalay is the founder and chief technology officer of Turbine, a company that simulates drug experiments with artificial intelligence. His doctoral dissertation, supervised by Péter Csermely - the founder of Hungarian Research Student Association (KutDiák), which mission is to help talented students -, laid the foundation for the technology of Turbine.
They developed a software that simulates the operation of cancer cells and their response to various drugs. “When there were no more than 6-7 members in the project, everyone was very enthusiastic, but no one was paid for it. This is how we could create this company from zero money. It contributed to the people’s success at the university, and on the other hand, because of this setting, it was not necessary to make a business plan, and we didn’t even need to search for investors - only when it turned out that it really makes sense”- says Kristóf, about why it is good to establish the company during his university years.
“Hungarian scientific and technological education and higher education have a long tradition since the 19th century. To date, there is a strong theoretical training at the expense of practice. Although this gives less immediate knowledge on the labor market, a freshly graduated student - for example, an electrical engineer –, because of his strong theoretical background, learns new technologies much more easily, and understands the basics that systems can build on” - says Kristóf about the Hungarian education system. “They are able to invent original solutions, not to be frightened if there is no ready-made scheme to solve a problem. Not only is this a great help during a technological change but also essential for research and development“ – according to him. And in the particular area of cell modeling there is no ready-made solution, that’s why Turbine employees really need this strong theoretical background.