Venture capital is a famously intense world, and the venture capital investment competition (VCIC) that ran last week at CBS is no different. Three start-ups, six teams of MBA students and ten venture capital judges spent Saturday in due diligence meetings, preparing term sheets, defending investment choices and negotiating with investment targets as the culmination of a venture capital simulation that began several days earlier.
Late nights, early starts, a lot of coffee and even more learning, was what the process was about – for those with prior venture capital experience as well as those without. All team members brought their unique knowledge and skill-sets in order to drill down into the investment opportunities, present the choices to judges and persuade the companies that this was a deal they couldn’t pass up on. Everyone was challenged, everyone made mistakes, and everyone was corrected and improved as a result. I may still not know, for example, all the intricacies of term sheet preparation, but VCIC pushed me to figure it out, and I now certainly know much, much more than I did. These new learnings are important and satisfying, of course, but the experience of working on them under pressure as part of a team was what made the VCIC ride fun.
An understanding of the venture capital process from the inside will be invaluable to the numerous MBA students who choose to follow a start-up route in coming years. For those that don’t, the issues that were addressed are still extremely relevant for a general business education, and the pressure of working to tight deadlines is something we will all have to deal with again.
These kinds of intense learning experiences are a large part of what an MBA is about, for me – you push the boundaries of your own capacity, and the boundaries expand. That’s what we all chose the Copenhagen MBA for, and VCIC is a great bitesize example of the process, the pressure, and the payoff.
Alistair, fourth from the left in the accompanying blog image, was part of the winning VCIC team.