A HBS team placed second at the Northeast semifinal of the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) held at Babson College on March 01-03. Led to victory by captain Marc Tremblay (OG), the team also included Yi Sun (OE), Christina Teo (OI), Chris Goh Bardon (NH), and Gourav Grover (NK).
The VCIC is an annual competition that allows MBA students to play the role of venture capital investors deciding among real investment opportunities. They read actual business plans, and meet real-life entrepreneurs that are currently raising capital. Companies come from diverse sectors including health care, high-tech and services.
The teams are judged on their ability to perform due diligence, to interact with entrepreneurs, to write term sheets, and to present and discuss their investment decisions. Teams present their final investment recommendations to a panel of judges comprised of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and other professionals that work with the VC community, such as lawyers and accountants.
Business schools competing in the Northeast semi-finals included Harvard, Sloan, Tuck, Wharton, Cornell, Yale, Carnegie Mellon and Babson. The top two teams go on to compete in the national Finals to be held at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina on April 4-6, 2002. Joining HBS at the finals will be the first place winner, Carnegie Mellon University.
Harvard team members included a team of both first and second year students. Tremblay selected the team from a pool of over forty applicants. He reports that “this was a great group effort [where] we leveraged everyone’s strength.” Each team member had a different background critical to the team’s success in the competition: private equity (Teo and Grover), venture capital (Tremblay), health care (Bardon), IT/Software (Sun, Tremblay and Grover), as well as legal (Sun).
Sun and Tremblay brought critical experience to the team, having participated last year. For Sun, “the victory is especially significant, since this is the second time [Marc and I] participated in the competition. I went into the competition with the belief that our strong team and the experience we had from last year would enable us to qualify for the national finals – and we made that happen.”
HBS and Carnegie Mellon were very close in their final results. One reason that HBS might have narrowly lost first place was their contentious term sheet. Although this appealed to the venture capitalists amongst the judges, the term sheet might have appeared over-aggressive to the entrepreneurs on the panel.
Given the intense nature of competition in the Northeast Regional, which includes some of the nation’s top business schools, the national championship has been claimed by that region’s winner for the past two years. HBS is hoping to break this tradition by edging out CMU and others at the finals in early April.