MBA Venture Challenge 2015

Online-shopping team ropers, buckets of water and a burst of light greeted more than 100 judges, faculty and staff gathered in the Wehner Building for the 13th annual MBA Venture Challenge.

The buckets illustrated a hydro-electric power generating device and the light represented a bioenergy. The challenge, hosted by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE), highlights the business aptitudes Texas A&M University’s Full-Time MBA program strives to teach: strategic thinking, diligent research, effective communication skills and professional networking.

In the week-long competition, 12 MBA teams analyze early-stage startup firms by providing a clear, unbiased and business-oriented evaluation of the businesses’ market and financial viability. This year’s companies were chosen from a pool of more than 20. They came from a variety of industries including life sciences, IT, retail, oil and gas, gaming and child safety.

The efforts of the MBA students culminated in an all-day event one week after they first met with their companies. Competition day is full of presentations, starting with two-minute elevator pitches. Next the 12 teams presented in four judging rooms, where they were given 15 minutes for their presentations and Q&A. Each judging panel selected one finalist to proceed to the afternoon finals presentations, and the remaining two teams moved to Round 2. Of the eight teams in Round 2, two additional teams moved on to finals.

The MBA teams are judged on their identification of their company’s issues, primary market opportunities, financial projections and the conclusions they drew from their research. Their research quality was also considered.

The judges – who are volunteers from the community – include investors, financiers, entrepreneurs and academics.

Taking first place in the competition were Prithviraj Chougule, Ali Arif, Zachary Friske, Daniel Gaona, and Lolina Pena, with “Ebio, LLC.” Their prize was sponsored by AT&T.

The second-place winners were Pei Lin Mei, Luis Matus, Mark McCord, Brad Myers, and Rachael McPhail, with “” Their prize was sponsored by BB&T.

The third-place winners were Clayton Watson, Shanaly Daya, Spencer Dearinger, Ashwini Kalia, and Virgina Koran, with “SynShark, LLC.” Their prize was sponsored by JBKnowledge.

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.