On a muggy, February morning the Memorial Student Center was bustling with business and community leaders serving as judges for the 2020 MBA Venture Challenge. February 17, 2020, marked the 19th year of the competition, at which 12 teams of Full-Time MBA students competed for $5,000 and bragging rights as the winners of the 2020 MBA Venture Challenge.

In preparation for the annual competition, each team is tasked with developing a financial and competitive analysis of current and future market and growth strategies for real-world companies. The Full-Time MBA students only have 3 weeks to complete their analysis and the companies are not required to provide any documents or information to the students. Most companies will hand over financials, business plans, and private information. However, many ask that the students form their own conclusions independent of how the company is currently operating.

Before teams could present their analyses, they first had to deliver an elevator pitch that would hopefully convince the judges that their presentation was worth watching. Each team was allotted a hard 2-minute time limit on their pitch. No slides, videos, or other technology was allowed during the Elevator Pitch round. After watching all 12 pitches, the judges self-selected which judging group they wanted to join. In total, the day-long competition includes over three rounds of judging by an audience of experienced judges from McFerrin Center’s network of business, academic and entrepreneurial community leaders. Each round required the teams to present a concise yet in-depth analysis of the start-up and provide meaningful recommendations for future company success. By the Final round of judging the number of competing only 6 teams were left with a chance to win cash prizes.

“Our 19th annual MBA Venture Challenge established new records in the number of companies applying to participate and the number of volunteers judging the competition,” said Blake Petty, director of the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. “The Challenge has clearly set the standard for high-intensity and high-impact interactions between student teams and startup ventures, and the analysis provided by these outstanding MBA students has proven to be immediately and immensely impactful to the participating companies.”

In the end, team Kappa 6 who carried out an analysis of Moto Cinch, LLC earned first place at the 2020 MBA Venture Challenge. Company applications for the 2021 MBA Venture Challenge will begin circulating in November 2020. Individuals interested in judging at future MBA Venture Challenges are encouraged to join the McFerrin Center Mentor Network.

2020 MBA Venture Challenge Winners

1st Place: Chris Compton, Madhur Gupta, Madi Heck, Nick Iconos, Guiselle Parker, Moto Cinch, LLC

2nd Place: Ahmed Ellahi, Brian Ellis, Wade Emmons, Saif Gul, Peter Wang, Mach1 Services

3rd Place: Benjamin Adams, Luis Bodero-Bullon, Chris Brown, Supriya Dara, Shique Singleton, ScriptlyRx

1st Place Elevator Pitch: Sophie Curie, Jiashan Lang, Ryan Pugh, Tyler Miller, Christopher Nettles, Bondwell Technologies