Summer 2005

In Brief

Haas Student Teams Win National Competitions

Haas Wins Global Ethics Challenge
The Berkeley MBA student team won the first-ever Social Responsibility and Ethics Challenge, sponsored by Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management in Glendale, Arizona.

The competition, which took place in April, attracted 56 MBA teams from business schools around the globe, including UCLA's Anderson School, Kellogg School of Management, University of Southern California's Marshall School, HEC Montreal, and London Business School. UCLA and London Business School won second and third prize, respectively. The winning Berkeley "Jackrabbits" team included Aaron Ackermann and Steve Hardgrave, both MBAs 05, and Seth Bindernagel, Kirsten Tobey, and Eric Potts, MBAs 06. 

Competitors were challenged to develop socially responsible solutions to real business dilemmas. For the finals, five teams developed strategies to help Tyco International instill a sense of ownership in its new corporate ethics program across a large number of divisions. The top three teams won cash prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000, and each donated half of the prize to their charity of choice. The winning Jackrabbits donated half of their $5,000 prize to BAYCAT, the Bayview Hunters Point Center for Art & Technology.

Fair Trade Firm Shines among Social Ventures
A Haas Team, World of Good, a distributor of globally-sourced, fair-trade certified gifts and accessories, beat out eight teams to take first place at the Global Social Venture Competition in April.

The team members are Berkeley MBA alumni Priya Haji and Siddharth Sanghvi, both MBAs 03, and first-year students David Guendelman and Jonathan Klein. World of Good also won the inaugural Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) Venture Challenge, taking home $250,000 in seed financing. It took second place in the UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition.

"This year, the Global Social Venture Competition really came into its own with strong plans from Europe and Asia that rivaled the US entries," says Jerome Engel, executive director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, which hosted the competition.

The competition, founded by five Berkeley MBA students in 1999, has grown into a global partnership between UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School in New York, and London Business School, as well as long-time sponsor The Goldman Sachs Foundation and Omidyar Networks.

Harmonic Devices Takes Top Bplan Prize
Technology improving the performance, battery life, and component size of mobile phones and portable wireless devices helped a team of Berkeley MBA and engineering students take the top prize of $25,000 at this year's UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition.

Harmonic Devices uses a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) that is based on research breakthroughs achieved at the engineering school's Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC). The team members are: John Hwang, MBA 05; Kenneth Miller, MBA 05; Justin Black and Gianluca Piazza, both Ph.D.s 05 in electrical engineering and computer science; and Philip Stephanou, Ph.D. 06 in mechanical engineering.

The Harmonic Devices team also won the UC Berkeley Nanotech Challenge and the Elevator Pitch Challenge at the University of San Francisco's annual International Business Plan Competition in early 2005.

UC Berkeley's competition is organized annually by Berkeley MBA students and hosted by the Haas School's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in collaboration with UC Berkeley's College of Engineering, the School of Information Management and Systems, and UC San Francisco.

Haas Team Triumphs at Finance Contest
The Haas School team of MBA and financial engineering students won the 8th Annual Graduate Business School Financial Engineering Competition held at Lehman Brothers in New York.

The team – Luca Barone, MFE 05, Alex Bauer, MBA 05, Jaime Lee, MFE 05, Yadong Li, MFE 05, and Steve Liang, MFE 05, – defeated competitors from five of the nation's top MBA programs: Wharton, Chicago, Columbia, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon. Professors Richard Stanton and Nancy Wallace served as the team's Haas faculty advisors.

The case involved credit derivative products that were securitized by home equity loans, which exposed investors to potentially significant levels of real estate risk. The Haas team was the only team to solve the case completely. They won by a unanimous vote of the judges.

MBAs Win National VC Competition
Berkeley MBA students won the $10,000 grand prize at the eighth annual Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) held in April at the University of North Carolina's Kenan Flagler Business School.

The Berkeley team, which had placed second at VCIC's Western regional finals in February, included Manuel Rodriguez, Alex Jeffers, Daniel Yoo, Josh Scott, Camille Landis (who could not make the trip to UNC), and Jeff Renaud (who ably stood in for her). They beat competing business school teams from the universities of Chicago, Colorado, Harvard, MIT, Texas, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

In the competition, participating teams evaluated business plans and presentations to decide which plans they would fund in their role as venture capitalists. A panel of actual venture capitalists then judged the teams' investment decisions. The Berkeley MBA team's winning strategy was not to fund any of the business plans presented to them.

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Priya Haji, MBA '04

Priya Haji, MBA '04, and her Haas team took their World of Good venture to victory at the Global Social Venture Competition and the Draper Fisher Jurvetson Venture Challenge. The team also placed second in the UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition.