MBA Program

WHU MBA Students Take 2nd Place in Competition

Team of six see success in investment contest

In the world’s largest venture capital competition, six teams from Europe’s top business schools go head to head as prospective venture capitalists. The Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) is a fast-paced, intensive event that pits teams of MBA students to make a successful investment decision. The decision is based on the pitches of potential start-ups, with a final proposal to real-life VCs.

On February 25th, the 2022 VCIC Europe South Regional competition took place online, welcoming six teams from competing schools, including London Business School (UK) and SDA Bocconi (Italy). WHU achieved an incredible second place, coming behind the winners Cranfield School of Management (UK). The team of six was formed of full-time and part-time WHU MBA students, including Cihan Sügür, Darshann Kayan, Louis van Wyk, Mengqi (Iris) Qian, Tamás Kiss, and Vincent Plautz.

“I have been volunteering as a chairperson in the MBA student club, the Entrepreneurship Roundtable, and have connections to the start-up world. It was interesting to get this perception from the other side as a VC,” says team member Iris. “What factors help a VC to invest in a start-up? What are they looking for? But it was also the perfect way to get to know the students from other cohorts, as we were a mix of full-time and part-time students and different batches. We utilized the knowledge we collectively learned in class and put it into practice. The competition puts that knowledge into perspective with additional real-life insights.”

The competition puts the student’s business acumen to the test, applying their leadership and teamwork skills and offering a chance to experience decisions as a VC for a day. The event leads them through the decision cycle, with pitches, research, and time to make final investment decisions. These proposals are then pitched to real-life VCs.

“Even though it was mostly online, we were able to meet in Berlin for the simulation day with the VCs. The support we had from Professor Dries Faems and WHU alumni was invaluable. We were able to practice with real VCs and start-ups. While our questions at first were superficial, we were able to refine these and uncover the real criteria we were looking for. As a team, we didn’t know each other or our working style at first, and with all of us from different cultures and backgrounds, it was a challenge. But we came together for the common goal, and we’re all, in different ways, leaders. We had to learn how to lead ourselves.”

“All of us brought different skills,” adds Tamás. “We used these skills and the learnings from our MBA classes to come together as a team. The VCIC is an excellent opportunity to bring together theory and practice in a concentrated environment. It is also a great opportunity to build your own network. The VCIC encourages you to do so during the preparation time within your own university/school. WHU has an excellent VC and founder ecosystem in Germany, so with support from Professor Faems, we could connect with this wider network. However, the biggest learning from the whole experience was how a VC structures and approaches a received pitch and how to successfully break down a business idea through a due diligence process. These are useful skills that we can apply at any point in our careers, whether as founders or future venture capitalists, but even entrepreneurial-minded employees in corporate roles.”