MBA Students Take Second at Global VCIC Event

PROVO, Utah – Jun 04, 2019 – BYU Marriott School of Business MBA students found themselves among elite company at the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) in April 2019, placing second overall. After taking first place at the regional competition in Boulder, Colorado, in February 2019, the BYU Marriott team traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for a three-day global competition for the world title against thirteen other schools from the United States, Singapore, Europe, India, Spain, and Canada.  

Participating in the VCIC event is a significant accomplishment by itself, as only the top schools and students in the world are invited to attend. The BYU Marriott MBA team was comprised of second year students Rachel Whitlock and Bryce Pinder of Orem; Derek Croft of Midvale, Utah; and Landon Essig of Centerville, Utah. First year students Drew Romney of Mesa, Arizona, and Jared Skousen of Draper, Utah were also on the team. 

BYU Cougar Capital, the program’s venture capital and private equity fund, played a big role in the success of the BYU Marriott MBA team. Not just anyone can be a part of BYU Cougar Capital—only about half of the students who have completed a prerequisite private equity class are invited to join. Among the BYU Cougar Capital group, a mock venture capital investment competition is held to determine who will compete in the VCIC event. The best-performing students are selected to represent BYU Marriott.  

Students often have little to no experience with private equity before taking the private equity class and joining BYU Cougar Capital, says teaching professor of entrepreneurship Gary Williams, who is also Cougar Capital’s founder and advisor. “At the end of the courses, these same students compete against some of the world’s best,” he says. “BYU Marriott’s performance at the VCIC consistently tells the story of the quality of Cougar Capital and our MBA program over time.”  

Despite the prestige of the competition, the BYU Marriott team didn’t experience rivalry or intimidation, according to team captain Whitlock. “There was a lot of respect and camaraderie. We tried hard to go out of our way to make friends with the other students and be friendly." The team members recognized that they were among students from the best schools in the world, and took advantage of the opportunity to build their network and learn from those around them. 

“Not only is our team good, but it stands out among others,” Williams says. He believes the team’s distinction is because of the students’ support of and accountability to the school’s mission. The judges often tell Williams that though the team identities are unknown, they can recognize the BYU Marriott group by the way they present themselves. “At BYU Marriott, these students care so much,” Williams says. “They own this experience on behalf of the university and they take that responsibility seriously."  

The students from this year’s team have high hopes for next year’s group. “I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to be a part of the team,” says Skousen, who will compete again next year. “I learned so much about the industry, met incredible mentors, and made lasting friendships. I hope that next year we have a similar outcome.”  

BYU Marriott MBA team
The BYU Marriott MBA team placed second at the global VCIC event. Photo courtesy of Rachel Whitlock.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Erika Magaoay