Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge 2015 for Graduate Students – $15,000 in prizes

Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge 2015 for Graduate Students – $15,000 in prizes

Deadline: February 25, 2015

Applications are now open for the 2015 Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge. The Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge is a pitch competition for graduate students, which focuses on developing institutional-quality investment vehicles that seek positive environmental or social impact and competitive financial returns. The Challenge harnesses the power of capital markets and student creativity to create positive impact in a world of perpetual resource scarcity and continued population growth.

The Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge seeks to identify the next generation of sustainable finance practitioners, connect emerging leaders with industry professionals, and foster even greater emphasis on sustainability at graduate schools around the world.

Contestants must propose and defend a strategy that uses finance and investment tools to address an environmental or societal challenge. The competition is an opportunity to apply core finance principles to target the economic, social and environmental challenges that drive the field of sustainable investing. Pitches might focus on areas like water, energy, food, social mobility, climate change, education or healthcare, among others. Contestants are encouraged to apply the entire spectrum of investment tools, styles and asset classes.


$15,000 in prizes will be awarded to the winning teams. Awards will be made for the overall quality of the proposals based on the judging criteria.

  • Overall First Place:  $10,000
  • Overall Runner-Up:  $5,000

The organizers will provide airfare and two nights lodging in New York for the ten finalist teams.


  • Graduate students from around the world are invited to participate in the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge.
  • Teams are limited to a maximum of four members, all of whom must be enrolled in a graduate program at the time of the prospectus submission, and the team cannot include more than one member who is pursuing an Executive MBA.
  • A team may include members from different graduate schools.
  • All ideas must be the original ideas of the team members.
  • Each team is required to submit a two-page prospectus outlining their proposal.  From the submitted prospectuses, ten teams will be selected to present at the finals competition.
  • At least one team member should be available to present at the finals competition, if the team is chosen to advance to that round, and all team members attending the finals competition should plan to stay for the entire event.

Please note that any team member not in attendance at the finals competition will not share in any prizes awarded to that team.

Judging Criteria

The following criteria are applicable to both the first and final rounds of the competition:

  • Feasibility (30%)
  • Innovation and creativity (20%)
  • Impact and scale (20%)
  • Quality of due diligence and financials (20%)
  • Presentation (10%)

How to Apply

Teams of graduate students are invited to submit a two-page prospectus that outlines an innovative financial vehicle that addresses a sustainability challenge and meets the requirements of an institutional investor. Each prospectus should appropriately address the guidelines provided.

Ten finalist teams will be selected from the pool of submissions and announced by March 13, 2015. Finalists will present their proposals to a panel of judges at Morgan Stanley in London on April 17, 2015. A panel of experienced investors and officers who currently manage pension funds, foundations, and institutional assets will review and judge the pitches.

For more information, visit Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge.