MBA students win venture capital competition; advance to finals

by Dennis K. Brown

A team of five MBA students from the University of Notre Dame won the Central Region championship of the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) last weekend (March 11 to 13) at the University of Michigan.

Competing under the auspices of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Mendoza College of Business, the Notre Dame team earned a $5,000 prize and qualified for the national finals April 15 to 17 at the University of North Carolina.

Other business schools participating in the regional event, from second through eighth place, represented the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Indiana University, the University of Wisconsin, Washington University in St. Louis, Carnegie Mellon University and Georgia Tech.

Notre Dame and Chicago both will advance to the finals against the Universities of Washington and Texas, MIT, Cornell, and the top two teams from the Southeast Region competition. Notre Dame qualified for the Central Region event by finishing second in a wildcard competition in January.

Organized by the University of North Carolina, the VCIC puts students from some of the nation’s leading business schools in the role of venture capitalists. The students evaluate business plans, make funding decisions and prepare investment terms and conditions for a portfolio of actual start-up companies. Practicing venture capitalists serve as judges.

In feedback after the competition, one judge cited the Notre Dame students’ “uncanny understanding” of venture capital as the reason for their win.

The Notre Dame team participating in the Central Regional was composed of Steve Abdalla, Balahan Bobus, Ting Chen, Katrina Glerum and Jeff Stewart. Students who competed in the wildcard round were Abdalla, Glerum, Stewart, Chris Clevenger and Paul Koss. James Davis, associate professor of management and Siegfried Director of Entrepreneurial Studies, and Theresa Sedlack, program manager for the Gigot Center, serve as the team’s advisers.

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