MBA students at Saïd Business School have had a fantastic start to the year with victories in rigorous international MBA competitions.
Hermes Challenge, 23 January
There were four shortlisted teams in this year’s Hermes Challenge which pits Oxford Saïd against LBS and Judge Business School. The shortlist comprised of one team from each school (Oxford Saïd, LBS and Judge) and the best runner up, also from Oxford Saïd. This year Oxford were named as the overwall winners, and the winning team was Artem Katilov, Mats Multhaupt (MFE) and Rohit Vardhan (MBA).
‘We presented an investment recommendation to the Hermes GPE committee for the takeover of a technology services company,’ explained Rohit. The presentation included various aspects of a Private Equity deal – entry strategy, capital structure, business plan and exit strategy. Rohit described the win as a ‘Great feeling… We won because we had a clear strategy on the various aspects of the deal and had proactively prepared for all possible questions from the Hermes GPE committee.’
Microsoft Accelerator Competition, 3 February
MBAs Sarah West Young and Senjuti Bhattacharyya competed at the Asha London India Edtech Hackathon in February, where participants developed solutions for rural unemployment in India. Asha is a volunteer-run partner organisation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
‘The key focus areas of the hack day were the problems of job matching, where people are unaware of the work opportunities in their local area and elsewhere, and upskilling,’ explained Sarah.
‘Senjuti and I partnered with another program participant, Tanuvi Ethunandan. We proposed a mentorship solution that aims to reduce unemployment by enabling rural Indian youth to be entrepreneurs while encouraging rural businesses to scale their operations more effectively. To accomplish this aim, we proposed using existing tech and CSR budgets to connect rural youth with urban mentors that will help them to set up and/or scale up their entrepreneurial ventures.’
While there was no prize money advertised in the competition, Sarah and Senjuti received $5000 from a panellist to take their idea forward, and they are now planning a trip to India to develop the project. 'When we won, I think we both felt successive waves of surprise, incredulity, and happiness,' commented Sarah.
Wharton MBA Buyout Competition, 23 February
The Wharton MBA Buyout Case Competition is described as the world’s premier MBA-level Leveraged Buy Out contest. It brings together teams from the world’s leading business schools to evaluate and make recommendations for a proposed PE buyout transaction. Presentations are judged by a panel of private equity professionals, and extensive networking opportunities are available for participants.
Monica Camino Matta, Gregory Tsimbler and Anders Smedsrud (MBA) and Matteo Sutto and Paolo Baorda (MFE) competed in the 18th running of the competition, which took place at the Penn Club in New York.
‘We had 10 days to build a financial model and prepare an investment committee deck with our recommendation i.e. whether to buy the assigned company, and if so, at what price,’ said Monica. ‘For this year, the company chosen by the Wharton committee was the sports apparel company Under Armour. In order to prepare our case, we had to build a financial model to provide an investment recommendation and offer price, and prepare the Powerpoint deck that included an explanation of investment proposal, company overview, expected returns, risks related to the investment, and business turnaround plan. The team had to work for hours upon hours during the 10 days. We had to be on it 24/7 if we wanted to win this!’
‘It was so rewarding knowing that we got 1st place out of the 20+ schools represented – including the best US business schools and a few European ones,’ continued Monica. Never before had I experienced the power of teamwork in a similar manner. We all had very relevant and complimentary skillsets, amazing disposition, and our interests were aligned: we all wanted to win this.’
IESE Impact Investing Competition, 23 February
Five MBA students from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford won the IESE Business School Impact Investing Competition, marking the fourth consecutive win for the School. Maelle Barbancon, Tori Hellrung, Sam Hilditch, Malina Keutel, Marte van Oortwon the €1000 prize after competing against business schools from across the world. The event was held at the Doing Well, Doing Good conference at IESE’s campus in Barcelona.
LBS Validus Private Equity Risk Management Challenge competition, 2 March
A team of MBAs from the Private Equity Oxford Business Network including Jonathan NeWin, Steve Xie, Nicholas Tang, Peter Yick and Hanny Kusu competed and were victorious against out of 8 teams competing at the finals, including LBS and INSEAD.
The case situation given to the team was of a hypothetical private equity firm named Phaedrus Capital, which was exploring a potential acquisition of a South African mining company. ‘As the company is, by nature, extremely cyclical and sensitive to macro changes, the task for us was to understand what the investment rationale was followed by identifying and managing the risks of this acquisition,’ explained Jonathan.
The team described their surprise at finding themselves in the finals. ‘The two other teams we conversed with had a very different take on the same topic and were in our opinion, more knowledgeable about the sector… When we won, we were almost dumbfounded and also extremely happy. I think we had an extremely strong team and that enabled us to identify and manage the different issues in the challenge,’ said Jonathan.
Oxford Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge, 5 March
Oxford Saïd won the Oxford Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge, an annual three day competitive programme held between the Private Equity Institute at the University of Oxford and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago that allows students access to leading investment banks and private equity firms.
Oxford’s team included Arber Gjoka (MBA), Niclas Huck (MBA), Artem Katilov (MFE), Maximilian Müller (MFE) and Felix Tan (BA Economics and Management).
Yale Integrated Leadership Case Competition, 13 April
Oxford Saïd joined the Global Network for Advanced Management in January 2017. The Network’s mission is to encourage innovation and create value by connecting global business schools to collaborate and benefit from each other’s particular strengths. The Network also hosts exchange visits, joint case study development and student contests, such as the Yale Integrated Leadership Case Competition, which Oxford Saïd MBAs competed in, and won, for the first time this year. The team included Neetu Puranikmath, Charlotte Kirby Thomson, Marla Woodward and Arpit Jain.
‘The case competition uses Yale’s proprietary raw online case format, where a large amount of information is supplied so teams have to filter for what is relevant to their presentation. We also had a judge sit in on our preparation for an hour to assess our team dynamics using a framework designed by one of the Yale SOM professors,’ explained Charlotte. ‘The case we were given was for Prodigy Finance, a Fintech company established out of INSEAD in 2008 to fund international students to study MBAs. They had a number of possible growth options so we had to make recommendations on their business strategy and brand identity.’
‘It was a fantastic experience to win the competition for Oxford on our first time entering,’ concluded Charlotte. ‘We met some really great people from other business schools and there was good camaraderie for the weekend.’
SDA Bocconi International Finance Competition in Milan, 21 April
The SDA Bocconi International Finance Competition is described as Italy’s most prestigious student-organised business school case competition.
Oxford’s winning team comprised of Chrysanthe Georgiou, Emily Lesham, Colleen Carroll, Elly Brown, Arthur Hughes-Hallet and Jack Wearne, and they competed against 13 other schools in developing a business strategy for a digitally-focused retail energy business in the Italian market.
‘Chrysanthe and I wanted to work together and we had never competed in a case competition before, so we decided to put together an all-star team to take part in the event,’ said Jack. ‘We were given the case details on Friday afternoon. With the team still scattered around the globe on electives, we had a Skype call on Sunday to allocate initial research. From then on we put a huge amount of work into the project, working until midnight on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for submission on Thursday by 11pm.’
Jack described how the team were ‘very pleased’ with the win. ‘Even more pleasing was the other teams congratulating us and telling us what a fantastic quality presentation we had managed to put together,’ he said. ‘We also won €5k, which was a great reward for our team’s hard work.’