One of those bright students is Nelson Fleming (MBA ’20). With a background in the construction industry, he had no real exposure to startups or venture capital prior to VCIC. “Since being introduced to venture capital and entrepreneurship through the competition, I landed an internship with a venture capital firm in the area and plan to pursue venture capital as a career at some point in the near future,” says Fleming. “It has been by far and away the most valuable learning experience I’ve had to-date as an MBA student.”
In 2014, Vernon added an annual undergraduate VCIC and 34 U.S. universities competed in 2019. “There is a lot of demand for undergraduate entrepreneurship classes,” he says. “And while many schools now have entrepreneurship majors, very few have specialized classes in venture capital.” For many undergraduate students, VCIC is the only place they can learn about venture capital. “VCIC offers undergraduates the ability to learn about what is happening today in venture capital through very practical, real experience,” says Vernon.
Sunny Sun (BSBA ’20) competed this year on UNC’s team. “VCIC gives a unique and hands-on chance to understand entrepreneurial finance but all transferrable skillsets required are coming from classes I took at Kenan-Flagler Business School, the fantastic guest speakers our professors brought from industry, and essentially all of the best help I received from my professors,” she says.
While Sun’s focus is on investment banking and investment management, she says, “VCIC gives me a new lens to evaluate business through an entrepreneurial mindset.”
Haywood developed an appreciation for venture capital and the role it plays in commerce. “As someone with little experience in the startup and venture finance world, the VCIC competition offered me and my teammates a crash course,” he says. “We learned on the fly, building a bit more knowledge with every deck, pitch, practice session and round of the competition. Even without taking a single class, I now feel as though I could intern at a venture capital firm because of VCIC.”