On Friday February 28th, the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit hosted their inaugural Impact Investing Case Competition sponsored by EPOCH PI and McDonald Hopkins, LLC.
Fourteen teams competed throughout the afternoon, presenting 10-minute presentations to a panel of judges. The teams represented a wide variety of programs including full-time MBA, part-time MBA, Executive MBA, MS Finance, MS Business Analytics, MS Operations and Supply Chain Management, Masters in Accountancy, as well as undergraduate students studying Economics, Finance, Management, Accounting, Business Analytics and Marketing.
The eight judges included:
o Susan P. Mucciarone, Executive Director of Private Wealth, The Glenmede Trust Company, N.A. and Case Western Reserve University Board of Trustee member
o Lynn Carpenter, Co-Founder, EPOCH Pi;
o Theo Legwaila, Analyst, EPOCH Pi;
o Christal L. Contini, Co-Chair, Mergers & Acquisitions Practice Group, McDonald Hopkins, LLC;
o Amy Wojnarwsky, Business Associate, Business Department, McDonald Hopkins, LLC;
o Chris Jeannot, Relationship Management Officer, Portfolio Management, The Glenmede Trust Company, N.A.;
o Ben Cooper, Vice President of Utilities, Power & Alternative Energy Portfolio Management, Key Bank;
o Heather Frutig, Weatherhead Alumna 2016 and Former Fowler Center Fellow
The case was written by Alex Romanowski, Fowler Center Business as an Agent of World Benefit Scholar and second year full-time MBA student at the Weatherhead. The student participants were given three weeks to evaluate the potential for sustainable value creation of Natura, a Brazilian natural cosmetics company and B Corporation, while acting as analysts for a fictional investing firm looking to diversify into Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) funds. The teams were required to present their position and one-page memo to the “senior management” (the judges) and explain how they valued the company, how they valued the ESG components and whether they would recommend the stock as a buy or sell for the fictional firm’s Impact Investment Fund.
The day began with lunch and an opportunity for judges, teams, Fowler Center staff and Weatherhead Dean Manoj Malhotra to network and chat about the upcoming presentations. After lunch, teams filed into the presentation room one-by-one to deliver their pitches. After deliberating on the first and second place winners, the judges sat down with individual teams to provide feedback on their valuations methods and presentations. The winning teams were announced later that evening.
The first place, and a prize of $2,000 total, went to team “Finsight”: Lily Anne TranCat, BS Economics, Marisa Katz, BA in Economics, and Integrated MSM-Finance, Jasmine Butcher, BS in Business Management (Concentration in Innovation and Entrepreneurship), Victor Xie, BS in Business Management (Finance concentration), and John Wen, BA Economics.
The second place, and a prize of $1,000 total, went to “The Famous Five” composed of Manpreet Kaur, MS Finance, Aditi Deshmukh, MS Finance, Vaibhav Khurana, dual degree full-time MBA and MS Finance, and Nick Kobernick, full-time MBA.
The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit would like to thank all of the student teams for their hard work over the course of the competition, the judges for their time and dedication to the education and coaching of our business students, and our sponsors from EPOCH Pi and McDonald Hopkins for your support for the competition and prizes. We would also like to thank William Vogelgesang, co-founder of EPOCH PI, for agreeing to support our idea for an Impact Investing Case Competition and Theo Legwaila from EPOCH Pi for helping recruit judges and spending countless hours working with Alex to determine the appropriate case and parameters for the competition. Thank you to the Weatherhead faculty who supported student teams in their learning and to the Weatherhead staff and catering teams who helped make the case competition feasible. Also, thank you to Annie Morino, second-year MBA student and Fowler Center Scholar for helping to market the case competition and designing our materials.
Most importantly, thank you to our Fowler Center Scholar, Alex Romanowski for pushing your vision forward to host an Impact Investing Case Competition and for your tireless efforts in the last year to provide Weatherhead students with such an incredible opportunity.