Fowler Center Impact Investing Case Competition: A unique and exciting challenge for Weatherhead students
The Fowler Center is pleased to announce its first ever Impact Investing Case Competition was held February 2020 in partnership with Epoch Pi, a local purpose-driven investment bank, and Cleveland-based law firm McDonald Hopkins. The competition was open to all Weatherhead students and required students to use various business skills to analyze and value a B Corporation. The purpose of the competition was to connect and engage students with the Fowler Center's mission and teach them about impact investment through a unique exercise and networking opportunity.
Participating in the FC Case Competition gave students the opportunity to:
- Network with employers in the Cleveland investment and impact investment field
- Gain insight into social enterprise and sustainable value creation
- Apply valuable academic skills to a real world investment situation
- Connect with Weatherhead students from different programs
- Enhance presentation and teamwork skills
- Win meaningful rewards including cash prizes
The case was presented to students as a memo between 10 - 15 pages which provided all the information needed to analyze and obtain the per-share value of a specific B Corporation. Students used this memo to create an internal memorandum addressed to an investment manager detailing their recommended price for the company and providing analysis of the company and its industry in terms of growth, profitability, and sustainable value creation. The student memorandum was advised to be no more than one page single-spaced (times new roman size 12 font, not including appendices or supplemental information). Students constructed the memorandum as if they were presenting a recommendation to an investment manager or an investment committee who was determining whether or not to include the company in the allocation of a particular social impact investment portfolio. As such, students discussed the merits of the company as an investment in terms of both its financial and social merits.
Students were allowed to supplement the materials within the case with their own additional research, however, they should have adhered to the dates provided within the memo and not use later information. Students received detailed submission rules and guidelines with the case memo. The memo included all other submission requirements.
Students also gave a ten-minute powerpoint presentation on the date of the competition to summarize their findings and highlight important points.
Goals For 2021 and Beyond
In the future we hope to improve the competition as a means to help teach the Weatherhead student body about impact investing and social value creation. Future goals for the competition include:
- Continued promotion of the value of impact investing, social value creation, and business for good education in a novel way that interests Weatherhead students
- Improving the quality of the overall students and judge experience by refining the size and complexity of subsequent cases
- Providing additional resources before, during, and after the competition in order to help students develop presentation and business communication skills
- Working with and involving more local impact-oriented financial and asset management professionals in order to better communicate to students the changing demands and evolving nature of the impact investing industry
- Improving the feedback mechanisms and networking opportunities for students who participate in the competition
- Explore expanding the reach of the competition into other areas that also have roles in social value creation (i.e. data analytics)