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Hopkins business students to compete in venture capital contest in Boston

A team of five graduate students from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School will compete this Friday in the world's largest venture capital competition for students.

The Venture Capital Investment Competition features teams representing more than 70 business schools from around the world. Schools hold internal competitions, then face off against regional challengers. The Hopkins team placed second in the Mid-Atlantic regional event last month and advanced to compete at Boston University against teams from Cornell, Georgetown, Miami, Notre Dame, and Virginia. The global finals will be held in April at UNC Chapel Hill's Keenan-Flagler Business School.

In the VCIC competition, real start-up companies pitch their business plans to the student teams, who act as investors. Team members conduct interviews, gathering as much information about the start-ups as possible in order to make informed investment decisions. They then negotiate a deal based on their assessments of the business plans and projected success of the companies. Judges observe each step of this process, scoring each team on their intelligence-gathering and investment strategy. A vote by the panel of judges determines the winner, and a round-robin follow-up allows student teams to ask for feedback on their strategies.

"This competition allowed us to really learn what it takes to become a venture capitalist and how to evaluate companies," said Kelvin Fu, a Global MBA student and president of the Johns Hopkins Private Equity and Venture Capital Club who participated in the Mid-Atlantic regional competition. "The application of our business learning allows us to engage in due diligence and negotiation, and promotes entrepreneurship."

The Hopkins team competing in Boston includes Andrew Hinton and Preeti Singh from the Design Leadership program, Dushyant Gadhia and Sumner Webster from the Global MBA program, and Yu Dai from the flexible MBA program.

Judges for the Boston round will be Kevin Connors, founder of Spray Venture Partners; Howard Beber, partner and co-head of Proskauer Rose; John Murphy from Hyperplane Venture Capital; Margaret Kohin, senior vice president of business development for eMagin; Jennifer Powell, founder of The Excellent Writers; Greg Madden, leader of fundraising and investor communication activities for SV Life Sciences; Richard Fedorowich from J. Locke & Company; and Don Nelson, co-founder and managing director of Harken Capital.

The start-up companies participating in the competition will be announced Wednesday evening.