IMPACTathon 2021: Student teams delivering impact-oriented solutions to business challenges

Every year London Business School students gather to celebrate Social Impact week with an incredible speaker series, events and activities aimed at using our business skills for good. Capping off the week is the LBS Impact Consulting Club staple, the IMPACTathon. This 48-hour hackathon-style event challenges students to work with impact-oriented enterprises to tackle some of their most pressing challenges. Students benefit by learning from their peers and partner companies, as well as mentorship from consultants across a range of firms. This year’s competition included a case workshop guided by David Humphries, Senior Project Manager at Dalberg, and support from six experienced mentors. These mentors worked with teams to help develop actionable and organized solutions during the condensed weekend experience.

Students are driving real world decisions for six clients

Over 70 student participants from LBS, Oxford Saïd, Cambridge Judge, and IESE Business School competed in this year’s IMPACTathon. Students delivered groundbreaking ideas for six companies including:

  • SEQUEST: an API carbon analysis tool which enables banks to offer customers the means to track, reduce and offset their carbon footprint all within their banking app.
  • Mães da Sé: a non-profit organisation that helps Brazilians find their missing family members, mainly daughters and sons.
  • Gay Happiness Project: A group training programme (in-person and virtual) for gay men, based on mindfulness, applied neuroscience, positive psychology, and self-compassion.
  • Spiritan Springs: New, community-driven initiative that is using agriculture as a springboard to create lasting change in Nigeria communities.
  • Boresha: Digital agriculture platform for low-infrastructure settings in Africa. Businesses use our software to manage all activities related to buying and selling agricultural goods.
  • Clarigent Health: Designs products to empower mental health professionals to provide better treatment for better outcomes.

The challenges ranged from redefining the companies value proposition to implementing a clear financial model to maximize the impact of the organization. To achieve this, students were given direct access to client contacts to better understand the business model and specific challenges. By working with the client’s data, students delivered actionable solutions with immediate and tangible implications. Feedback from the weekend included testimonials such as:

“We heard GREAT ideas and some of the students mentioned they want to keep helping us in the future. These are AMAZING outcomes, and you are surely making an impact regardless of the (competition) results.” – IMPACTathon client

“Really top quality of presentation and recommendations. Delighted to have been a part of this!” – IMPACTathon judge

“Fantastic experience, thanks for hosting this event and can’t wait for next year!” – Student participant

These results are what IMPACTathon is all about – delivering real value to both non-profits and students to create a better world.

Highlighting some of the amazing work this year.

A huge congratulations to LBS students Joseph Parquet, Junlin Lu, Thibault de Cidrac, Christoph Sieker, and Joseph Perrin who won the competition for their work with Spiritans Springs. They helped revamp the company’s financial model to advance their mission of spring-boarding change through community driven agriculture in Nigeria. Their idea focused on altering crop harvesting schedules to avoid “down years” and create a steady revenue stream for Nigerian communities. In addition to the £1,000 prize awarded to the winning team, the ideas developed are already in the process of being incorporated into Spiritans Springs’ business model.

An IESE student team, led by Alan Bleiberg took second place and the £500 prize for their work with Sequest. They brilliantly modelled customer acquisition costs with customer lifetime value to help Sequest understand the right customers to pursue, and how to maximize the carbon savings their customers could achieve. Overall, the team were able to develop a platform that would help Sequest partner with banks to achieve their goal of reducing their cusomters’ carbon footprint to 2 tonnes per year.

Beyond the winners, we saw students and teams step up to provide insightful ideas to help all six clients increase the impact and long-term sustainability of their businesses.

We want to offer a huge thank you to all of the students, clients, judges, and mentors for getting involved in this year’s IMPACTathon. The LBS Impact Consulting Club also saw an overwhelming amount of student and mentor support from both the LBS community and those of our partner schools including Oxford Saïd, Cambridge Judge, and IESE. We also had incredible support from the David Humphries and Kapil Kanuga on the Dalberg team that helped make this event as focused and impactful as possible. Finally, a huge thank you to all of the clients (Spiritans Springs, Mães da Sé, Gay Happiness Project, Boresha, Clarigent Health, and Sequest) that opened their business models up to us with a growth mindset.

We cannot wait to do it again next March! If you are interested in the IMPACTathon, or the work that the LBS Impact Consulting Club does please reach out to us via our website:

James Austin (MBA 2022) is one of the Outreach leads for the Impact Consulting Club at London Business School. James is a seasoned media and marketing professional and an avid rock-climber.

The Wheeler Institute is inspired by the purpose and passion of our students who are focused on applying innovative thinking in the area of business for development. We seek collaborations with student clubs and initiatives that have the potential to evolve how we think about business, and those initiatives that allow students to apply their business skills and knowledge in complex real-world environments whilst creating positive and sustainable impact for local organisations and communities.

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