Dingman Center recently launched the second year of Venture Practicum, a course that provides MBA students with hands-on experience at startups. Selected students are paired with a local startup based their skills and interests. We invited Jimpei Harada, second year full-time MBA student from Tokyo, Japan, to share his experiences thus far in the course. Along with part-time MBA student, Tadhg Moriarty, Jimpei will be consulting for Homesnap, a real estate search platform for people to explore homes online or from a mobile phone. Dingman Center Board of Advisors Chairman, Mark Walsh serves as Executive Chair of this D.C. based startup. You may also remember Homesnap from last year’s Cupid’s Cup Showcase.
Grant Lee (GL): Tell me how and why you decided to participate in Venture Practicum?
Jimpei Harada (JH): Last summer I interned in the Amazon Japan leadership program in the Supply Chain Department. My role was more of a consultant than a supply chain intern. Traditionally, in the business world, people tend to collect and analyze data and then come up with possible solutions. However, at Amazon, my boss, who was an experienced consultant in McKinsey, taught me a different framework which is to develop the potential solution first and then prove that work by gathering and analyzing data. For this project, I want to leverage the skills I have learned through my internship and MBA coursework and apply them to Homesnap. Plus, I have never worked in the US; I believe it will be a valuable experience.
GL: Describe the startup will you be working with this semester?
JH: Homesnap is a real estate broker platform. Users can download the app, take and upload pictures, and search information using the property search.
GL: Describe your project. What is the goal?
JH: The goal is to create a platform to measure user engagement. The company wants to know how users test, track, and behave with the website and app. Tadhg Moriarty and I will investigate website analysis like Google Analytics and create tutorials in the end.
GL: Do you think working at a startup will be unlike any other job you’ve had?
JH: Definitely. Prior to beginning MBA, I had ten years of corporate experience as an IT engineer in Japan. Through the MBA program, I have learned that startup companies have a fast decision-making process, and now I am going to see how it works.
GL: How do you think the project will help your future career?
JH: I hope I learn to have an “entrepreneurship mindset” while doing this project. This project will help me to ease the pain of transition period from a student into a full-time employee.
Founded in 2008 and based in Washington DC, Homesnap is a trusted real estate search platform for people to explore homes and search real estate listings online or from a mobile phone. Using the Homesnap app (available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices) you can snap a photo of any home, nationwide, to find out all about it. For listed homes, you may be able to see interior photos too! When you’re ready to buy or sell real estate, you can contact a real estate agent within Homesnap to schedule a showing or list your home in the Multiple Listing Service.
Follow the Dingman Center blog for updates on the other students and startups participating in Venture Practicum.