Over the course of last year, a team of our fellow Boothies took on a $1 billion challenge against several other universities to see which school could best invest the theoretical sum of money in commercial real estate. The Booth team’s unique strategy beat out the rest of the Real Confidence University Challenge participants and earned them the $30,000 grand prize (in real money). The Booth team returned 23.86% on their portfolio over the course of the year and cleared the runner up of 32 teams by 4.80%. Hear what a couple of the team members have to say about their winning two-point approach and how Booth set them up for success.
“Do you desire the fire of a business battle royale? A spectacular clash of Booth smarts, charismas, and egos? Come and see the struggle, the stakes, the glories of victory, and the agonies of defeat, the names of the winners, and the shame of the losers, and see our school’s champions of venture capital chosen to go and dominate every other school in the world!”
You do not get an email like this everyday, but when you do, the game is on! This is what happened a couple weeks ago when I participated at the Energy Foundry Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC).
Entering my second year, I realized that packing more exciting things into an already busy-enough schedule is what we have become really good at. One of the most important secrets to make everything work is the people around me. During the course of the past 4 months, I was lucky enough to join a fantastic journey about virtual reality.
Read on to find out how a handful of us Booth students made our mark on the media and entertainment industry with our winning market strategy pitch for TV and online video innovation.
The next few days passed by in a blur. In between classes, corporate events, study groups, and other case competitions (two of our members were involved in a Booth Business Solutions Group case project as well), we somehow found time to meet, discuss our findings and come up with a solution. By the time we presented our recommendations to the Kraft and Chicago Booth faculty judges three days later, we had learned much in that short time about marketing, Nielsen data, managerial decision-making, and strategy. Everybody in my team was invigorated by the fact that we had an opportunity to take a sneak peek into a real challenge that a huge Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company faces. We had been told countless times by recruiters, alumni and second-years that companies look for future employees who can deal with ambiguity, and we finally had a chance to practice. This wasn’t an in-class case where a professor would guide us in discussion to a particular solution, and it wasn’t a homework problem set where we would get the answers. We had to use limited data, analyze it, and come up with suggestions for future steps. That’s as real as it gets as an MBA student practicing critical business skills, and exactly the kind of problem solving that our Booth classes train us for.
Though my team did not win the competition, we felt that we gained a great deal through the experience. We were reminded once again of why we chose to apply to and attend Chicago Booth and why it is the right place for us. We were able to combine our quantitative and qualitative analytical skills and apply them to a real-world business. We were able to present our ideas to the real decision-makers at Kraft. We listened to Deanie Elsner’s words of wisdom, and were gratified to learn that she was impressed by everybody’s findings and mentioned that with the increasing importance of big data, it was a great time to be Chicago Booth students on the forefront of research designed to grapple with these kinds of high-level analytical problems. The Kilts Case Competition was simply unreal in terms of the level of learning, application of our classroom marketing knowledge to actual business problems, and teamwork and camaraderie we got to experience with our new classmates over the course of a few days.