Campus Düsseldorf

WHU MBA Students Take 2nd Place in Venture Capital Investment Competition

WHU MBA team competes against European business schools at regional finals.

Take six teams from Europe’s top business schools and pit them against each other in an intense race to win, as they take on the role of investors and analyze potential start-up pitches. This is the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), a fast-paced annual event taking place across the world, where teams of students compete to make a successful investment decision and propose investment deals to real-life venture capitalists.

On March 15 at the IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, the 2019 VCIC Europe South Regional Finals welcomed six teams from competing schools including ESADE (Spain), SDA Bocconi (Italy), London Business School, and for the second time participating in the competition, WHU. In an outstanding move from last year’s third place, WHU’s team of five ‘Ash Ventures’ ultimately achieved second place, following closely behind 2019’s winners London Business School.

The structure of the competition puts the student’s business acumen to the test, by not only applying key WHU leadership and teamwork skills, but also offering the chance to experience decisions as a VC for a day with a highly interactive simulation of the VC process. Leading them through the decision cycle, the process begins with pitch decks from real-life start-ups and a fund profile per team. The teams are then given time to research the start-ups and on the day of the competition itself, receive start-up pitches, one-on-one time with each start-up, and two hours to make an investment decision.

The final element of the competition is a ‘partner meeting’ with the judges, requiring the competitors to pitch their deal. Regardless of each team’s standing in the results, all participants have the chance to network with the real-life VCs and ask questions about how they would have invested if they were part of the teams. In doing so, students can expand their professional contact base, thus emphasizing the importance of an expansive business network.

“The VCIC was a challenging yet fulfilling experience,” says ‘Ash Ventures’ team member and WHU Full-Time MBA student, Hozefa Kutiyanawala. “We relied on the concepts and methodologies we learned in our various Finance and Accounting classes and leveraged our learnings from detailed case studies we had solved in our Strategy and Negotiations classes, which helped us to dig deeper into the start-up’s pitch decks. Thanks to the MBA Program’s various soft-skill based workshops and group related activities, we were able to portray confidence, build quick partnerships, and get a buy-in from the start-ups as well the other VC partners (the judges). We hope to mentor next year's team to come back with nothing less than gold.”

"It was a tremendous experience for all of us,” adds Part-Time MBA student Sergej Gutmann. “We were a diverse team with different academic and cultural backgrounds: everyone was motivated and brought different skills and insights to the table. Aside from our outstanding team dynamic, we were able to leverage the skills we acquired through our MBA studies at WHU to our advantage.”

To find out more, visit the VCIC website.