MBA students named the pick of the bunch after earning entrepreneurs award

A group of MBA students won the Entrepreneur’s Choice Award Regionals Finals prize at the international Venture Capital Investment Competition.

The next generation of financiers showed their flair for business after scooping an international entrepreneurship award.

A team of six talented MBA students were sponsored by the Business School (formerly Cass) to compete in the annual Venture Capital Investment Competition, where they were tasked with simulating a venture capital investment selection process in a single day, reviewing business plans from entrepreneurs seeking funding for their companies.

Having been invited by the University of North Carolina Kenan–Flagler Business School to participate, Ashni Broota, Luis Hidalgo Gutierrez, Julian Hoffmeister, Derrick Ng, Gemma Samworth and Natasha Tucker — from the School’s Full-time MBA and Executive MBA programmes — saw off the challenge from the world’s top business school’s based at universities including Oxford, Cambridge, INSEAD in France, and Copenhagen to win the Entrepreneur’s Choice Award Regionals Finals prize. They also finished in second place overall in the Regional Finals, behind IESE Business School of the University of Navarra, in Spain, in the European Region competition which was hosted by Cranfield Business School on Friday 5th March.

Julian said the result was hugely satisfying, bearing in mind the level of the competing schools, adding that the team’s experience across fields including entrepreneurship, management consulting, financial services, start-ups, and insurance proved invaluable.

“It was a really rewarding experience,” said Julian, who praised Professor Costas Andriopoulos, and Helen Reynolds, Investment Director of the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund for their support, as well as and Mark Goldstein and Kyle Griffith, who competed last year and provided insight in the run up to the competition.

“The three UK-based start-ups had to pitch to us, and we led a due diligence rounds with the founders to decide whether we would invest in their company. Winning the Entrepreneur’s Choice prize means that the start-ups founders see us as valuable partners rather than any other VC, which is great.”

On the day, the team created term sheets which were then judged by the professional Venture Capital panel. We also had to defend our decisions and valuation at a ‘Partner Meeting’ with the VCs Ashni said it was an extremely thorough process but extremely rewarding.

“Everyone brought something to the table,” said Ashni. “Venture Capital Investments are all about partnerships and the combination of the founders choosing us to partner with, along with placing second in the regional competition, was validating.”

The winners of an entrepreneurship prize from the Business School

Dr Paolo Aversa, Course Director of the Full-Time MBA at the Business School, said: “I am very happy and proud about my students’ amazing achievement, yet not surprised. Our MBAs are selected among the finest and have constantly excelled in many competitions.

“This new award confirms that we managed to adapt to the challenges of Covid and switch to online classes without compromising the students’ learning.”

This year, the Financial Times recently ranked the Business School’s Full-Time MBA as the 7th best in the UK and the 3rd best globally for Corporate Strategy.

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