Forty Brandeis students have three days and one mission: To build a tech company.

The Brandeis 3 Day Startup Challenge has returned. From April 4 to April 6, students will be trapped inside the Brandeis International Business School, their eyes locked on the clock while trying to turn an idea into a full-fledged company.

“Students clamor for it,” said Brandeis IBS Professor Ben Gomes-Casseres, who helps oversee the program and will serve as a mentor over the course of the weekend. “It’s an event which really is a highlight for anyone interested in entrepreneurial thinking and practice.”

What the event is not, however, is a program solely reserved for students from the business school. Brandeis 3DS is designed to attract both undergraduate and graduate students studying everything from computer science to the humanities and the arts.

An undergraduate entrepreneurship club was formed out of last year’s event, according to Gomes-Casseres, and is now being led by an English major — proof of the implications this event could have outside of simply starting companies.

“Not to downplay the outcome, but I think it’s the process that matters here,” said Gomes-Casseres. “The pressure cooker atmosphere, the fast-thinking, the team formation … that’s really what it’s about.”

Following the 2013 Brandeis 3DS, MBA candidate Pooja Gandhi shared her motivation for participating, which didn’t necessarily involve building a business:

My prime motivation to join 3DS was to find an avenue to connect academic learning to practicality. We learn a lot of theories and ways to make presentations, so this was an avenue where we seriously sit down and think about a business, and ultimately apply that knowledge to the real world.

To Gomes-Casseres, this weekend will be about “practicing this entrepreneurial muscle” and being open to new ideas, as well as to the idea of working with other students.

“For some of them, it’s new,” Gomes-Casseres added. “They haven’t quite been in this cauldron before of ideas.”

Those ideas, however, could still get them some recognition from the judges come Sunday. Final pitches, which are open to the public, will be taking place at 7 p.m. in the International Business School’s Lee Hall, and critiqued by the likes of Joanna Meiseles, senior director of operations at MassChallenge and Jane Ives, director of Grameen Bank.

If nothing else, Gomes-Casseres hopes participants walk out of the room with this sense of empowerment — one, he said, that forces them to start taking initiative on their own and think about changing the world by starting things new.

“Brandeis innovation is unique,” Gomes-Casseres noted. “It is creative. It is cross-discipline.”

And it will be put to the test this weekend.

If you go: Brandeis International Business School; Friday, April 4, at 2 p.m. to Sunday, April 6, at 10 p.m.; Only the final pitches, beginning at 7 p.m. on April 6, are open to the public.

Image via Brandeis 3DS