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MBA Start-up and Entrepreneurship Competitions
A host of MBA students have competed in start-up and entrepreneurship competitions recently. Here are some of the most exciting success stories.

Students build app during all night Hackathon

Oxford MBAs managed to create a car-sharing app and website during a 24-hour hackathon Hack Cambridge, which challenged 400 students from around the world to push technology to its limits.

Students Julian Muller-Lindloff and Bo-Erik Abrahamsson rose to the task, and built the site and app for their start-up,, during the event, which was hosted by the University of Cambridge for the first time in January.

The hackathon, sponsored by Thales Group, gave students and recent graduates the opportunity to connect, collaborate and learn from mentors from leading companies.

Julian commented, ‘The environment was actually quite playful. Most people already came with something in mind that they wanted to try for a while to see what’s possible. Some projects were amazing and seeing the teams pulling them off in only 24 hours was incredible.’

MBA team competes for $10,000,000 in funding

Competing to secure as much as $10,000,000 in funding, a team of five Oxford MBA students took part in the final of the Kellogg Real Estate Conference and Venture Competition.

The competition, hosted by Guthrie Centre for Real Estate Research and the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, gives students the opportunity to pitch real estate start-ups to a panel of investors. Thirteen teams from business schools around the world were invited to take part in the final at Northwestern University in Chicago in April, where teams competed to receive a prize of $100,000 in cash, as well as millions in equity funding.

The Oxford team included MBAs Stephen Robert Morse, Nick Martinez, Piotr Nowak, Tilman Melzer, and Mario Felix Pasku. The team impressed judges with their company AgRomania, which handles investment opportunities presented by the low price of land in Romania. However, the Harvard University team was ultimately crowned winner.

Stephen commented, ‘This was an incredible opportunity to practice pitching our Entrepreneurial Project in front of live judges and decision-makers. Though our team didn't win the competition, we got amazing feedback and individual investors who are now considering investing in us.’

MBAs win Best General Start-up in The Grad Factor

With an ambitious tech start-up that aims to disrupt the insurance industry, a team of five MBA students and an undergraduate scooped the Best General Start-up Award in nationally televised start-up competition, The Grad Factor.

The government-endorsed competition, organised in partnership with RBS and NatWest, gives university business students across the UK the chance to pitch for investment and support.

The Oxford team consisted of MBAs Sherry Wan, Bo-Erik Abrahamsson, Andrew Kent Gee, Jamie Huckabay and Patrick Staudt, and engineering undergraduate, Jian Lim. The team impressed judges with their innovative start-up, Digital Fineprint, an Oxford-based company that helps insurance providers sell life insurance policies by using big data analytics and predictive models to create targeted online advertising campaigns.

The students identified that although life insurance is one of the most promising and long-established products in the insurance industry, it is currently being sold through outdated and ineffective channels such as cold calling, word-of-mouth referral and in-branch cross-selling.

As their prize, the team was awarded a PR and branding support, personal development opportunities and mentorship, among other benefits.

Bo-Erik Abrahamsson commented, ‘We faced some amazing teams in the final, but the judges saw that our fintech solution can really help the sponsors of the competition, NatWest and RBS’.

Three Oxford MBAs make list of Top 100 MBAs in the World

Three Oxford MBA students beat competition from more than 3,000 applicants to be invited to the MBA World Summit in Miami.

The students, Talisa Dubois, Neil Yeoh and Bo-Erik Abrahamsson, took part in a rigorous application process which involved four rounds of screening, before they were selected to be part of a group of ‘Top 100 MBAs in the World’ invited to attend the three-day summit in March.

The summit, organised by German talent network Quarterly Crossing, gives students the chance to network with other MBAs from around the world and meet top executives. Following the event, students are invited to be part of exclusive alumna network, the Global Leadership Community.

Participating students were responsible for shaping the agenda and held sessions in which they shared key learnings from their career to date. For example, Bo-Erik led a session on tech recruiting, in which he described his journey of working in finance in Switzerland to working in the tech industry in Singapore.

Bo-Erik commented, ‘My fellow Oxonians, Talisa and Neil were attending as well, which meant that Oxford was one of the more strongly represented business schools. With a combination of great weather, interesting insights and outstanding people, the time in Miami gave me memories for life, and now I can safely say that the MBA network has spread from Oxford and out to the world.’

MBAS fly to Chicago for final of 2016 Kellogg Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition

A team of Oxford MBAs travelled to Chicago after being selected to take part in the final of the 2016 Kellogg Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition, which was held at Northwestern University in January.

Thirty-five teams from business schools around the world applied to take part, but only 11 teams were invited to take part in the final of the competition, which challenges students to debate a complex healthcare question. This year’s topic was the merits of direct-to-consumer marketing.

The winners of the debate were chosen by healthcare executives from AbbVie, the competition’s sponsor. Competing against teams from universities such as Berkeley, UCLA and Georgetown, Said Business School was represented by MBAs Neel Patel, Molly Shaw, William Ou and Abdul Khan.

Oxford team beats 107 competitors to win Johnson & Johnson healthcare competition

MBA student Abdul Hameed Khan was a member of the winning team of the Johnson & Johnson Case Competition, beating 107 other teams globally.

Khan, alongside undergraduates Matthew Rehrig and Michael Meerkotter, won the top prize of £1,000 and a Johnson & Johnson internship.

The team impressed judges with their solutions to healthcare business scenarios provided by Johnson & Johnson. In the final round, Abdul, Matthew and Michael developed a plan to launch a new J&J drug to cure a type of blood cancer. They presented their proposal, which highlighted their 'Go-to-Market' strategy, to a panel of J&J senior executives at the competition final hosted by London Business School in February.

Abdul Hameed commented, ‘A key reason for the success of our team was the diverse but complementary healthcare expertise of each of the members. I am a physician with industry experience in medical marketing, operations and public health; Matthew is a consultant for pharmaceutical companies and global health, and Michael is an actuary in health insurance.

‘As I am originally from India and my fellow team members are from the USA and South Africa, this has also helped bring diverse experiences to our thinking and strategy.’