The Group Consulting Project: a highlight of the Cambridge MFin programme.

How Cambridge MFin students helped VC firm identify new start-ups for investment

2 November 2022

The article at a glance

The Group Consulting Project (GCP) is a cornerstone of our Master of Finance degree. We spoke to the project hosts and a group of students from one of the MFin 2022 projects to find out more about their experience.

The Group Consulting Project (GCP) is a cornerstone of our Master of Finance degree. We spoke to the project hosts and a group of students from one of the MFin 2022 projects to find out more about their experience.

At the heart of the MFin at Cambridge Judge Business School is the Group Consulting Project – a five-week project that takes place over the Easter break. The GCP gives students the chance to work with a real-life client, carrying out research under the guidance of a mentor in preparation for a final presentation.   

We spoke to the project hosts and a student team to find out more about the process, the skills our students gained from it and the takeaways for the client. 

The project: Identify investment-worthy start-ups for VC firm 

Pretiosum Ventures, a London-based VC firm that invests in early-stage B2B and Web3 companies in Europe and the US, tasked students with a ‘research and deal flow analysis project’ to identify potential start-ups for investment.  

“In addition to sourcing up to 40 start-ups that fit with our investment criteria, we asked students to carry out research on the Web3 landscape in Europe, build our community on Twitter, and present their findings to senior partners on our investment committee,” says Yana Abramova of Pretiosum Ventures. “This was the first time we’d hosted a GCP project with Cambridge Judge Business School, so we were really excited to get involved.” 

“Our aim for the project was to give students practical, hands-on experience on what it’s like to be an associate in an early-stage fund,” she says. “The Venture Capital space is becoming increasingly tougher to break into and may seem intimidating. We’re passionate about helping to debunk myths about a career in VC, and we wanted to provide practical experience to support upcoming talent.” 

The process: Teamwork, client interaction and presentation to the investment committee 

The 5 week project kicked off with a meeting to discuss the objectives and key deliverables, says MFin student, Samuli Pyy. “We already had a general idea about what was expected from us, but the meeting helped to elaborate the job description and the details more,” he says. “This was a crucial part of the project, giving us a chance to set the boundaries and make sure it was an achievable task for the time given.” 

The team assessed around 150 companies, whittling it down to around 7 to present to the client. Pretiosum Ventures then selected 7 to move forward with. 

“Throughout the project, we kept the client informed by having weekly calls, confirming the target companies we were analysing matched with Pretiosum’s criteria,” says student team member, Sarah Aulia Andriana. “We had daily Zoom calls within our team to divide the workload and share our ideas and met twice a week in person too. 

“We also had 2 calls with our mentor, Professor Othman Cole – one at the beginning of the project and one midway through,” she says. “He then came to the dry-run of our presentation a couple of days before the real event and provided valuable feedback.”  

At the end, the team presented their research and analysis on the chosen start-ups to the investment committee, and followed it up with a Q&A. “This was an awesome experience and gave us an excellent insight into what to expect from a real-life situation with an investment committee,” Samuli says. 

Key takeaways: An insight into real-world VC activities for the students and an actionable result for Pretiosum Ventures 

Sarah says the project was invaluable in preparing the team for life after the MFin. “It gave us a real glimpse into what the venture capital industry does in practice and how things work in real life,” she says. “This was a breath of fresh air after months of building up academic and theoretical knowledge.  

“We learnt first-hand how the VC industry works, how to value and rank companies, and what metrics to use in valuation,” she says. “We also learnt what happens in the Web3 space, how to prepare and survive investment committees, and what channels and techniques to use for research and valuation purposes. We now also know at least a couple of friendly faces that work in venture capital in London!” 

It wasn’t just the students that benefited from the project; Pretiosum Ventures says it has since entered talks with some of the companies selected and is carrying out further analysis to decide whether to take them forward. 

“The team provided a solid contribution to our deal flow – to the extent that we spoke with some selected founders and will continue monitoring their progress for potential pre-seed/seed investment,” says Yana Abramova. “We will bring some of their investment proposals to the internal committee and conduct additional research around them.”