Yes! At the end of this statement, everyone associated with St. Gallen MBA started weaving net of hopes for the next day.
This happened at European Business Plan of the Year’ competition held at LBS, London (http://ebpyc.eu/index.php/ebpyc2012/). There were 15 leading European B-schools participating this year. The competition was divided into 3 stages – first was to submit the business plan document. Second was to give an elevator pitch and a 30 min presentation (held on 8th June). The selected finalists (6 teams), were supposed to move to the third stage and contest for the top 3 slots the next day (9th June). There were some really interesting ideas pitched in the competition. The event was comprehensively covered by Business Because journalist, Ifeatu (http://businessbecause.com/news/MBA-Europe/10-lessons-from-the-european-business-plan-of-the-year-competition-81542)
At the end, St. Gallen MBA team was placed 4th and was declared the winner of elevator pitch. Congratulations to the teammates and thanks for all those who supported us.
Some nuggets of experience that can be helpful to the prospective participants next year:
- Start early. Identify early whether you want to participate and give yourself at least 5 months of preparation time.
- Idea. Have an idea that you think can be implemented immediately. Judges will be looking at the feasibility and practicality of your business. Run your idea up different flagpoles and see if anyone salutes it. Last but not the least, be passionate about the idea or the industry.
- Team. Choose the right mix of people. Early on, segregate the roles they are supposed to perform and what contributions will be required from them.
- Knowledge. Have a clear understanding of the industry and market of your business plan. Read a lot and research in depth. We often learn a lot by looking for the answer and not finding it than we do by simply knowing the answer.
- Rehearse your Pitch. Practice and practice more. Involve professors, mentors, peers, alumni and anyone else prominent in your network to provide you feedback from different perspectives. All inputs are valuable.
- Put effort. Its not easy along with so much going on in your MBA curriculum, but you need to put the effort. You will be competing against a lot of creative and bright minds. Other contestants were preparing for this competition for 9-10 months or have focused programs towards entrepreneurship.
- Network and make an impact. You will get enough opportunities of networking with judges and other B-School candidates. Grab them, get to know people and make an impact.
- Criticism. Take criticism from the judges, mentors etc. in a positive way. Judges are smart and they know what they are saying. It helped us a lot in receiving feedback from different people and incorporate it in our plan.
- Have Fun, Its not only about the prize. At the end, take this as an another learning opportunity and you learn most when you have fun in the process. Feel excited and restless to include much more in your business plan. As put by someone, In business learning, permanent state of restlessness is a wonderful disease to have.