It’s become a pretty common practice for would-be entrepreneurs to use their business school experience as an incubator to launch a new business. Whether through an undergraduate business experience or a two-year MBA, there are lots of obvious advantages that increase the odds of success for a new enterprise.
Besides gaining a full knowledge of the business basics, from finance to marketing, there’s the mentorship and coaching from expert faculty, classmates and alumni. All can help to refine an idea, provide seed capital and initial customers for a startup.
In Poets&Quants‘ newest ranking of the best MBAs for entrepreneurship, Washington University’s Olin Business School topped the list for the third consecutive time. To celebrate that achievement, we’re partnering with Olin on a pitch competition with a $50,000 cash prize going to the winner.
PITCH COMPETITION OPEN TO CURRENT B-SCHOOL STUDENTS & PROSPECTS FOR A GRADUATE BUSINESS DEGREE
Doug Villhard of Washington University’s Olin Business School
BIG IdeaBounce® is a pitch contest open to all current undergraduate and graduate school students or any prospect interested in a graduate business school degree (enter here). There are three rounds to the competition, starting with the submission of your idea in an easy-to-complete online form that is open through Jan. 7, 2022. Selected teams will then be asked to submit a two-minute pitch video. The top three teams will present their business plans in front of a panel of judges on March 3.
B-school entrepreneurs also will benefit from extensive coverage devoted to the competition by Poets&Quants. So even if you don’t end up among the final three teams, you may well gain the attention of other angel investors and venture capitalists through Poets&Quants editorial coverage.
Doug Villhard, academic director for entrepreneurship at the Olin Business School, notes that this is the first time Olin will open up its BIG IdeaBounce to students outside Washington University. “I think it’s really going to be exciting,” says Villhard in an interview (see video above) with Poets&Quants. “The ask here is for those of you out there who have an original business idea, something you’ve been noodling on and want some validation for. This idea can either be for profit, or nonprofit, or something with a social, environmental, or sustainable impact goal as well.”
PERSONALIZED FEEDBACK FROM A PANEL OF COACHES
To invite as many would-be entrepreneurs as possible, Olin has made entering the competition simple and easy. “It’s just basic information to understand your team’s idea and what makes up the elements of it,” adds Villhard. “And then on January 7th, a panel of judges will look through those entries and we’ll comb it down from there to pick a dozen or so to make us a two-minute elevator pitch. From there, we’ll get it down to three teams who will present live in front of judges on March 3rd of next year.”
The teams also will benefit from in-depth coaching before their presentations. “Those three teams will get personalized feedback from a panel of serious judges and mentors,” says Villhard. “And the winner will receive $50,000 in funding. At any stage of a company, but especially at this early stage, that $50,000 is a big deal. We may just propel forward the next great unicorn to come out of a college student project. We really think this event promotes the entrepreneurial spirit that certainly permeates here at WashU Olin, but is out there amongst this audience of folks who have innovative ideas that won’t quit. This is an opportunity for you to share those ideas and to receive validation. It should be a lot of fun.”