Conferences and Business Plan Competitions
A comprehensive listing of conferences and business plan competitions, including application deadlines

Conferences and Competitions


Berkeley HAAS Investing in Inclusion Pitch Competition

Calling all entrepreneurs! The Investing in Inclusion Pitch Competition is an avenue for MBA students and their teams to pitch start-up ventures related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Up to $15,000 in prizes will be awarded to the top teams who demonstrate a vision and potential to generate a positive impact!

Venture Focus Areas
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender/Gender identity
  • Socioeconomic Status
  • Intellectual, Mental, Physical Disability
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age
  • Former Incarceration
Team Requirements
  • At least one team member must be a current MBA Student
  • Other team members may be fellow students, community members, business partners, or otherwise
  • Travel stipends may be available to teams outside of the Bay Area
Application Deadline

February 7, 2020

Event Date

March 6, 2020


More information


U21/PwC Innovation Challenge 2019-2020

This competition was launched in 2018 to create worldwide talent networks through which U21 students obtain exposure to new global employment opportunities, showcasing their knowledge, skills and talents to potential employers. For more information, go here.


The winners will be awarded an expenses-paid trip to Dubai (7 days) courtesy of PwC where students will be able to explore the city and also see some of the innovative projects taking place. Runner-up prizes will include career development coaching with the PwC Academy. Everyone entered into the U21 competition will receive access to online training via the PwC Academy; the assessment and certificate fees will be covered by PwC.


The mission is to answer the challenge question posed by PwC/U21 in a compelling three minute video.

Each registered university will be able to submit a maximum of 4 videos to the challenge.

Students will submit their videos to the GSM Selection committee.  The committee can select up to four videos.  After selected, the student will submit the video to U21/PwC Innovation Challenge


Review the U21/PwC Innovation Challenge Handbook.


Video submission is February 10 . Please submit videos here.

This Year’s Challenge Question: How can universities help individuals gain a broader perspective on the long-term impact and consequences of their day-to-day actions on people, society and the environment? What types of jobs will an environmentally-sensitive economy need, and what is the best way to prepare students for them?

VCIC Business Plan Competition 2020

The VCIC 2020 is the perfect opportunity if you are interested in the Venture Capital industry and would like to network with professional investors!

UC Davis Graduate School of Management is invited to send a team of 5 graduate students plus a Team Shadow and/or a Judge Shadow to the event.

If you have any questions or would like to join this competition, please contact The Finance Club:

Jing Zhang

Registration Deadline

Friday, November 15, 2019

Event Date

Friday, February 21, 2020

More Information
What is VCIC?



Ignite’s Influence Panel 2019

The 2019 Influence Panel will take place on Friday, October 25th from 11am until 2pm at Granite Bay Golf Club.

The event will feature the following three Panelists:

Brian Alexander, CEO of Sutter Roseville Medical center
Maggie Bender, CEO of Bender Insurance Solutions
Tyler Campbell, CEO of Tytanium Ideas Inc.

Our panelists will participate in a Q&A discussion led by our IGNITE Leadership Council and talk about leadership, entrepreneurship and more! They will discuss their personal stories of how they became CEO’s within their companies and what trials and tribulations they faced along the way. They will also discuss what it entails to become a CEO in your own organization and how they continue to keep up with current business trends in order to remain relevant in the business community. 

The event will also feature breakout sessions from the following presenters:

Arthur May, Harvest Business & Leadership Development
Are You Ready to Lead Differently?

• What triggers the brains survival strategy?
• Learn the 4 primary survival strategies found in the wild & in business
• How creating greater awareness leads to more breakthroughs in business

Ellen Walker, Placer County
How to Search a Resume & Make the Right Hire

• How to navigate a resume in 5-10 seconds to find the stand-out candidate
• How to quickly compare the job description with the resume for skills and experiences
• How to know if you are offering a competitive rate of pay.

There will also be lunch and FREE professional Headshots Provided by Andrew Thrasher Photography.

Open to all professionals of any age!

Event Date

Friday, October 25, 2019

Purchase Tickets


The Howard University MBA Exclusive Case Competition & Career Fair

This two-day conference is comprised of opportunities including engaging developmental workshops, a Career Fair Exposition with industry-leading companies, and the 15th Annual Minority Case Competition sponsored by LMI.

Business students have the opportunity to win up to $11,000 by solving a complex business case, developed by LMI.

MBAX also provides an excellent opportunity for corporate sponsors to gain access to an exceptional pool of MBA students, expanding the breadth of recruiting activities to a global scale.

Current MBA and Master-level students from all programs are welcome to attend the HU MBA Career Fair Expo for free!


October 28th & 29th

More information


U21/PwC Innovation Challenge

Universitas 21 and PwC, two globally-focused organisations, have come together to offer exclusive professional development opportunities for U21’s graduate students through the Innovation Challenge competition. 

Registration Deadline

Friday, August 30, 2019

More information>>



Sustainable Trade Challenge

The future of global trade is in your hands!

Graduate students, like you, now have an opportunity to help transform the future of global trade for more sustainable economic growth and development.

Join the Hinrich Foundation and APRU in the Sustainable Trade Challenge to develop innovative policy and industry solutions for strengthening trade sustainability – making trade more beneficial for societies and economies.

We are counting on you to help solve some of the social, economic and environmental challenges highlighted in the Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index 2018.

Registration Deadline

December 15


The competition is open to all graduate students from the Asia Pacific, either as individuals or in teams of maximum 5 students. Participants must still be enrolled at University in March 2019 when the winners are announced. Students from different universities are eligible to participate on the same team. 

Process and Benefits

Your submission will be reviewed by top trade researchers from multilateral organizations including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Build your network

Join a community of students and global experts who share an interest in trade! Participate in policy discussions on our online platform.

Build experience and your CV

Gain valuable experience applying what you’ve learned to solve real global challenges.

Win cash prizes

Policy Solutions (USD):

1st: $1000
2nd: $500
3rd: $300

Industry Solutions (USD):

1st: $1000
2nd: $500
3rd: $300

Shape the future of trade

Help make the world a better place for generations to come.

Venture Captial Investment Competition (VCIC) West Regional Finals

USC Marshall in Los Angeles, CA


Oct. 31: Secure a slot for your school

Feb. 15: Event date

Entry Fee



Global VCIC is the world’s largest venture capital competition with over 70 universities competing. VCIC is the only place where students get to be VCs for the day.


FoodBytes!  by Rabobank | Pitch Competition

FoodBytes! by Rabobank was created with a simple mission in mind – to find the most innovative concepts in food and agriculture, and pair them with the capital needed to bring them to market. Certainly not your average food and ag conference, our pitch competition-meets-networking event brings together the game-changing startups, investors and industry leaders pioneering a better future. More>

Important Competition Dates

San Francisco | Mar. 1-2

Application Closed

Montreal | May 15-16

Application Deadline Mar. 11

New York | Dates TBD

Application Deadline Aug. 12

Patagonia Case Competition | Carbon Neutrality by 2025

This case study focuses on Patagonia’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2025.

More specifically, how can Patagonia, a company that has implementing solutions to the environmental crisis as part of its mission, influence the industry broadly and create a model that other companies are inspired to replicate? Carbon neutrality means going beyond reducing energy use, increasing renewable energy sources and recycled materials, to also influencing policy, sequestering carbon in the soil through regenerative agriculture, and reducing waste in food production, consumption, and disposal.

Both established and unconventional options present challenges. This case will examine existing programs such as carbon offsets and Renewable Energy Certificates, as well as other programs that could offer greater carbon-reducing potential despite difficulties measuring these programs’ impacts. Without accurate measurement, Patagonia cannot evaluate its progress, nor can it communicate clearly to consumers without the risk of being seen as “greenwashing.” This case explores these questions to consider how Patagonia can best achieve carbon neutrality for itself, and provide a model for industry to follow suit.

Important Dates
  • November 13, 2017: Rules Released & FAQs Open
  • November 27, 2017: Team Lead Registration Opens
  • December 11, 2017 (11:59PM PST): Submission of Questions for Initial FAQs
  • December 14, 2017: Initial FAQ Answers Released
  • December 17, 2017 (11:59PM): Team Lead Sign Up Deadline
  • January 5, 2018 (11:59PM): Team Lead Sign Up Deadline EXTENSION
  • January 12, 2018: Final Team Registration Deadline
  • January 19, 2018: Case Study Release and Submission of Case FAQs
  • January 24, 2018: Final Submission of Case Questions (FAQs)
  • January 29, 2018: Case FAQs Released
  • February 11, 2018: Proposal Submission Deadline
  • February, 2018: Finalist Selection
  • March 2, 2018: Finalists Announcement
  • April 19 (evening) to April 20, 2018: Final event
  • June 1, 2018: Surf with Patagonia!
Venture Capital Investment Competition 2018

VCIC Silicon Valley Regional Finals will take place in San Jose, CA, hosted by UNC Kenan Flagler at Adobe on February 23.

The Venture Capital Investment Competition® began in the middle of the technology bubble in 1998 as an educational event for MBAs to learn about venture funding. Now in its 18th year, through good times and bad in the venture industry, VCIC® has evolved into a marketplace for entrepreneurs seeking investors and a training ground for future venture capitalists. In 2010, VCIC included 50 events in four continents, and served 1,000 students, 150 venture capitalists and 100 entrepreneurs. The program is akin to a network of mini-venture fairs, wherein about a quarter of the entrepreneurs who present go on to raise venture funding.

Global VCIC is the world’s largest venture capital competition with over 70 universities competing. VCIC is the only place where students get to be VCs for the day.

Host | UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Date | April 6-7, 2018

Registration | December 1, 2017

Registration Fee | $500.00

More information here>>


Monsanto Olin Case Competition 2018

Olin Business School is once again hosting a national case competition in collaboration with our partners at Monsanto.

Registration Opens

Registration will open and the case will be released shortly after October 31, 2017.

Case Competition Date

Wednesday, February 7 and Thursday, February 8 in Sat. Louis

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany-Anniversary Edition of the Innovation Cup Summer Camp 2018, July 16-24, 2018

Participants learn how R&D in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry works by lectures from Merck KGaA Darmstadt Germany managers and scientists. The students will also advance an idea to a full project plan with their teams. The event brings together a promising new generation of talent with senior Merck managers and researchers and accomplished Merck retirees in a meeting of the generations. It also provides a unique chance to network with the brightest students from all around the world.

Teams will work on innovative projects in the areas of: healthy lives/drug discovery, synthetic biology/life reimagined, innovative materials & solutions, digitalization and bright future/new ways of working together.

Here is a video showing an overview of the event and statements from previous participants.

This Summer Camp is completely free for all accepted participants; travel, accommodation and food are paid by Merck.


Postdocs and post-graduate students on their way towards a PhD in biology, chemistry, physics, medicine, biotechnology, bioinformatics, computer sciences, data sciences, informatics, biochemistry, pharmacy, engineering or related fields are invited to apply. In addition, advanced MBA students or recent MBA graduates with an interest in the pharmaceutical or chemical business and a background in natural sciences are also eligible.

Submission Deadline

Application are accepted from October 1, 2017-January 15, 2018.

22nd Annual MBA Exclusive Conference-Howerd University MBA Program

The theme of this year’s conference is “Becoming an Agent of Change, and will feature workshops, keynote speakers, a career fair with notable companies, and the 13th Annual Minority Case Competition. The entire conference is being organized and run by the HU MBA student body. 

Students from GSM are encouraged to attend this year’s conference and participate in the Minority Case Competition. The competition is a great way for students to showcase their business analytical skills and win a monetary prize of up to $11,000.


MBA or MS students

Submission Deadline

Case teams that register by or before October 16, 2017, will only pay $100 in registration fees, and will have full access to all conference activities at no additional charge. The first 15 teams to sign-up will receive free hotel accommodations.

More information

Students can register for the case competition through the following link.

CISCO Global Problem Solver Campaign

This summer, Cisco will award 10 ideas that use technology to benefit the economy, environment, or society – this includes $100,000 USD to the winner of the challenge!

The most innovative solutions are the kind that disrupt our way of thinking to spur change. We all have a role to play to change the world and your idea is just the beginning! Cisco understands that big solutions require big ideas and knows that students are the source of the next big thing.

Gather your team of thinkers, tinkerers, change agents, and do-gooders to enter the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge. The winning team will receive $100,000 USD to help advance their technology-enabled solution towards the market. Up to 9 more teams will receive between $10,000 and $75,000.


To be eligible, teams must have at least half of their members currently enrolled as students or have received a degree after March 1, 2016. If a business has already been formed, it must be at least 25% owned by individuals that meet the above qualifications. Individual students and recent grads may also apply. For detailed eligibility requirements, please visit the website.

Submission Deadline

It only takes a few minutes to register your team for the challenge and the deadline for your full submission is May 30, 2017 at 5pm PT.

To find out more information and / or register, click here to digitize and do more good.

APRU and New York Times Asia-Pacific Case Competition 2017

The inaugural APRU–NYT Case Competition brings together the best minds from universities in the Asia-Pacific region to solve a pressing issue: The Future of the Pacific Ocean.


Team must be comprised of currently enrolled Asia-Pacific university students (as of May 2017). Students of all disciplines and stages of their studies are welcome including undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

Submission Requirements
  • Original writing piece
  • Individual or maximum 4 teammates per group
  • Email, university name and Student ID
Submission Deadline

Friday, March 31, 2017

Freedom from Cancer Startup Challenge

In partnership with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and MedImmune, we have recently launched the Freedom from Cancer Startup Challenge (FCSC), an accelerator-challenge aimed at launching 100 startups around cancer-related technologies.

UC Davis graduate students and alumni are encouraged to apply.

Get more information here.

Patagonia Case Competition – UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

This one-of-a-kind case competition redefines the relationship between business and a healthy planet.

Graduate students from across the US tackle the interconnected business and sustainability aspects of a current, real-life issue facing the outdoor gear retailer Patagonia. In the first round of competition, interdisciplinary teams submit solutions to a case developed by the Berkeley-Haas Case Series and Patagonia. Senior leaders from Patagonia review all submissions and select finalists to present their solutions to Patagonia executives in person at Berkeley-Haas.

  • Team Registration Dec. 18
  • Final date to add team members Jan. 13

Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge

The Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge seeks to identify outstanding proposals offering novel investment strategies to meet some of the most pressing global challenges ahead. As the world’s population approaches 9 billion people by the year 2050, the challenge of meeting human demand for scarce global resources will intensify. Finance has a key role to play in meeting this challenge.

  • All prospectuses will be due February 15th, so now is the time for your students to be forming teams and starting to brainstorm towards their financial concepts.
  • Each student team should be made up of no more than four people, all graduate students.
  • Teams will identify a social or environmental challenge that can be addressed through financial innovation and craft their own creative impact investment approach.

See flyer and these videos

Nespresso Sustainability  MBA Challenge

This year the world’s leading premium portioned coffee brand, Nestlé Nespresso, engaged with the academic world and inspired 86 different MBA schools to take part in the fourth edition of the Nespresso Sustainability MBA Challenge.

Nespresso, in partnerhip with the Sustainable Markets Intelligence Center (CIMS) and Latin America’s leading Business School INCAE organize and manage the global MBA Challenge. All information on criteria, rules, FAQs, registration, etc., is available on the Participants Guide

  • School Registration is open until January 31
    • Should be completed by a university representative
    • Within 72 hours the faculty sponsor will receive the school code by email (this is necessary for team registration)
  • If interested in forming a GSM team, please contact Inger Maher by January 11.
  • Team Registration is open until January 31

Contact by email at:

Howard University 21st Annual MBA Case Competition, Career Fair, and Networking

The theme of this year’s conference is “Navigating the Global Business Environment, and will feature workshops, keynote speakers, a career fair with notable companies, and the 12th Annual Minority Case Competition. The entire conference is being organized and run by the HU MBA student body.


Register your case team: October 24, 2016

Conference: November 3-4, 2016

VCIC Venture Capital Investment Competition

Students play the role of VCs who have around $100MM to invest in one of the startups presenting. They’ll be assessing the investment opportunities and pitching an investment strategy to the VC judges.


School Entry Fee for 2017: October 15, 2016

Team Registration for 2017: 10 days prior to the Regional finals event January/February 2017

Team Photo for 2017: One week prior to the event January/February 2017

Keybank Foundation Minority MBA Student Case Competition

Teams of three presenters are being invited from universities and colleges across the country to compete. Each team have the opportunity to develop important professional skills such as analyzing and responding quickly to often-complex business issues. Also, teams will have a chance to hone their communication and team-building talents while learning from the expertise of business executive judges and moderators.

At least two presenting team members must represent ethnic diversity. In the spirit of this minority MBA student case competition, it is desired that a majority of the team members presenting be of an ethnic minority background  (identify as being African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino American, Native American/American Indian or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander). 


First through fifth place winners receive trophies and team awards ranging from $500 to $7,000.

Event Dates and Application Deadlines

Registration: October 3 – December 2, 2016

Applicant Acceptance Notification: December 9, 2016

Event Dates: February 24-26, 2017

Katz Invitational Case Competition

The University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is hosting an invitational case competition, designed to test the teams’ ability to collaborate on different business disciplines, and will focus on a current issue within the energy industry.

Event Dates

Registration for the 2017 Katz Invitational Case Competition will open on October 1, 2016.

Eligibility: Each university will be represented by one team of fou) graduate students pursuing an MBA. Students pursuing a dual degree (JD/MBA, MBA/MIS, etc.) qualify as MBA students. The team may be a combination of U.S. and foreign students. All team members must be enrolled at the same university. Executive MBA students are not eligible to participate.

CFA Institute Research Challenge

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis.

Event Dates

  • Asia Pacific Regional: March 15-16, 2017, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Americas Regional: April 6-7, 2017, Seattle, USA
  • EMEA Regional: April 26-27, 2017, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Global Final: April 28, 2017, Prague, Czech Republic

Eligibility: Full-time student  at a participating university, you do not hold the CFA charter. You have never worked in a role that involved fundamental company analysis. You have never participated in the CFA Institute Research Challenge. You are eligible under local competition rules.

Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge

In the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, interdisciplinary student teams define an environmental problem, develop a solution, design and build a prototype, create a business plan that proves their solution has market potential, and pitch to 250+ judges at a demo-day event.

Event Dates

  • Team Registration – Open your account and provide basic team info only. January 20 to Sunday, Feb. 1 at midnight
  • Official Team Entry: Screening Round Monday, Febuary 20 at midnight: 5-7-page Business Summary due.
  • Monday, February 27: Teams will hear if they have been selected to compete in the Challenge on March 30, 2017

Eligibility: Eligible students can form a team with non-students, but for the sake of this competition, they will be considered as advisors. Students must have an ownership stake in the business or the potential for equity or employment.


Retail & Health Innovation Challenge – 2016  early team registration deadline October 17, regular registration October 28, late deadline November 4.

Meet industry executives and the world’s best corporate retail innovators. Get a shot at tens of thousands of dollars in prize money. Be named as a Top Student Retail Innovator.

The competition is seeking ventures that meet the following criteria:


  • Products/Services with a potential for commercialization within the next 12 months
  • Pioneering, value adding ventures that go well beyond currently available solutions
  • Venture-fundable ideas, those that carry the greatest potential viability and profitability
  • Products/Services that are accessible to customers through a variety of channels (mobile, web, brick & mortar retail)


  • A commitment to overall personal health, wellness and well being
  • New tools, systems and mechanisms that address:
  • Diagnostic understanding
  • Preventative measures
  • Persistent relief
  • Therapeutic care
  • A dedication to supporting holistic, long-term, chronic health


Nespresso MBA Sustainability Challenge - School registration opens in November 2015, Team registration deadline February 8, 2016.

2015 Busbud Scholarship of Travel Innovation - Application Deadline: November 30

Nestle Nespresso Global Sustainability MBA Challenge 2015-Register your school by January 23. Register your team by January 30.

5th Merck Serono Innovation Cup Summer Camp – Application Deadline: January 31

CFA Institute’s Investment Research Challenge


Hult Prize RegistrationApplication Deadlines: November 18; December 31

LeanModel Start-up Competition-Registration Deadline: November 4

2015 International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition – Application Deadline: November 14

2015 BNY Mellon-Katz Invitational Case Competition-Registration Deadline: December 3

Fuels Institute presents The Future of Transportation Case Competition-Application Deadline: December 8

Henkel Innovation Challenge – Application Deadline December 10

Past Competitions

NSHMBA Case Competition

Global Fund for Children MBA Challenge

Tulane Business Plan Competition

Asian MBA Leadership Conference & Career Exposition

Reaching Out Conference for LGBT MBA Students and Business Leaders

Climate-Smart Agriculture: Global Science Conference

John Molson MBA International Case Competition

McGinnis Venture Competition

Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition

MIT $100K Business Plan Competition

Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge

Venture Capital Investment Competition

Net Impact Competition

Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge

Cleantech Open

Saint Mary’s Sobey School of Business RMA Credit Risk Competition