The 2021 Fowler Center Impact Investing Virtual Competition
Giving Weatherhead students the opportunity to assess environmental, social, and governance challenges through sustainable investing
The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit would like to thank the students, judges, and Aarti Chandna - our Keynote Speaker - who all helped make our 2021 Impact Investing Virtual Competition a big success. We would also like to give a special thanks to our sponsoring organization McDonald Hopkins.
The 2021 Impact Investing Case Competition took place on Friday February 26th. Five student teams presented before a panel of five judges, all representing a unique and diverse field of investing and social impact-oriented practitioners. Presenting students included full-time, part-time, and undergraduate Weatherhead students. Numerous degree programs were represented in the competition and students presented their creative solutions to manage a portfolio of investments as an impact investor.
This year’s Impact Investing Competition was focussed on enhancing the students’ awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN Global Goals) and gaining real- world understanding of portfolio management in the impact investing space. Students were given an opportunity to be creative in their role as an impact investor and create a portfolio of investment that had maximum impact coupled with good financial returns.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s competition was held in a virtual format. Students were provided certain guidelines to follow a 4 step procedure: first, choose a UN Sustainable Development Goal; second, formulate an investment thesis; third, determine investments and allocate funds; and fourth, perform due diligence. Teams were asked to allocate $100 Million USD in one to three investment opportunities. For performing due diligence of their chosen investment, students were given a rubric to grade their investment on multiple attributes including the management team, mission definition, potential to scale, financial returns, business model, and go-to market strategy. After finalizing their portfolio and completing due diligence, teams were required to “pitch” their investment portfolio to a panel of potential investors (judges of the competition) through pre-recorded video recordings.
The pre-recorded 8 minutes long video presentations from the participating teams addressed the reason behind choosing a specific UN Global Goal, their investment thesis, their approach for determining investments, and an overview of each investment. Teams also highlighted how these investments measured up during due diligence and how they would track the success of their investments over a period of time. Each team was given a specific time slot during which the pre-recorded video presentation was played. After the video concluded, judges had a 5 minutes long live Q&A session with each team to understand their investment choices and strategies. Judges evaluated each team and also provided their valuable feedback, which was shared anonymously with participating teams after the competition was concluded. During the time when the Judges deliberated on the winning teams, an interview with Aarti Chandna, impact investor and Case Western Reserve University board of trustee member, was streamed at the event.
The competition and the keynote speaker interview were live-streamed on the Fowler Center’s YouTube channel and are available to watch currently.
Success of the Competition
Impact Investing Competition was successful in its first ever virtual format. We are happy and proud to receive positive feedback from students as well as the judges.
The majority of the students felt that the competition was a good way to learn about impacting investing and social value creation. Students appreciated the creative and flexible approach of the competition. Students were able to learn more about the UN SDGs and how impact can be created to achieve these goals. Students enjoyed the flexibility to work with and compete against Weatherhead students from diverse degree programs. Judges enjoyed seeing the creativity and the thought processes of the students. They also appreciated the seamless transition from one team presentation to another in the virtual format.
We also extend our sincere gratitude to Aarti Chandna- Impact/Angel Investor & Advisor, Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund and also a member of the Board of Trustees at Case Western Reserve University. She was the Keynote Speaker (through a pre-recorded interview) for this competition and has been phenomenal in lending her support and advice throughout this competition.
From the participating teams, judges selected first place and second place team.
First Place was won by the PMBA team with members Eric Novak (Part-time MBA), Anchit Agarwal (Part-time MBA) and Brandan Durkin (Part-time MBA).
Second place was won by team Oriental Charging Bull with members Yue Lu (MSM- Finance), Tianchen Qin (MSM- Finance), Haoxin Liu (MSM- Finance) and Lingkai Wu (MSM- Finance).
Many congratulations to our first place and second place teams!
All the participating student teams worked hard and served as great representatives of the Weatherhead student body. We hope students enjoyed themselves and learned from the experience. We are looking forward to seeing you in-person next year!