2022 Competition | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University
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The 2022 Fowler Center Impact Investing Competition

The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit would like to thank the students, judges, and Rumu Sarkar-our keynote speaker who helped make our 2022 Impact Investing Competition a big success.

The 2022 Impact Investing Case Competition was held in person on Feb. 25 in the Peter B. Lewis building on the Case Western Reserve University campus. Five student teams presented before a panel of six judges, all representing a unique and diverse field of investing and social impact-oriented practitioners. Presenting students included a variety of Weatherhead School graduate students. Students presented a wide range of unique ideas and solutions to manage a portfolio of investments as an impact investor. The competition was organized by Fowler Center Fellows: Ayushee Agarwal, Kyle Regan, Nikita Tayal, Tyler Holsopple and Yicong Wang. The six judges included:

  • Lynn Carpenter, co-founder of EPOCH Pi
  • William Vogelgesang, co-founder of EPOCH Pi
  • Christal L. Contini, co-chair of Mergers & Acquisitions Practice Group, McDonald Hopkins, LLC
  • Amy Wojnarwsky, business associate in the Business Department of McDonald Hopkins, LLC
  • Ben Cooper, senior vice president, portfolio management, KeyBank
  • Scott Hackenberg, social impact investor

Competition Format

This year Impact Investing Competition was focussed on enhancing the students' awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) 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 has maximum impact coupled with good financial returns.

Students were provided certain guidelines to follow a four-step procedure: first, choose a UN SDG; second, formulate an investment thesis; third, determine investments and allocate funds; fourth, perform due diligence; and fifth, prepare and present an investment thesis. Teams were responsible to allocate $100 million 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 like management team, mission definition, potential to scale, financial returns, business model and risk 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 videos.

The pre-recorded seven-minute video presentations from the participating teams addressed the reason behind choosing a specific UN SDG, their investment thesis, their approach for determining investments and 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 five-minute 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.

The pre-recorded interview between Fowler Center Fellow Ayushee Agarwal and Keynote Speaker Dr. Rumu Sarkar was streamed post the presentation of all the teams, followed by a live Q&A session.

Success of the Competition

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 impact 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

We also extend our sincere gratitude to Rumu Sarkar, general counsel of Millennium Partners and adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. 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.

Winning Teams

From the participating teams, judges selected first place and second place teams.

First place with a cash prize of $2,000 was won by the full-time MBA team "Coffee & Finance" with members Anshul Gupta (full-time MBA), Samit Kumar Chauhan (full-time MBA) and Suyash Pranjal (full-time MBA).

Coffee & Finance

Second place, and a prize of $1,000 total, went to team "ESG Capital": Colin Basinski (full-time MBA), Brandon Gathagan (full-time MBA), Nick Cwikla (full-time MBA), Shawn Sun (MSM- finance), and Yuzi Li (MSM-finance).

ESG Capital

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 School student body. We hope students enjoyed themselves and learned from the experience. We are looking forward to seeing you in-person next year!