Business and law students make a deal at negotiation contest


The complex acquisition of a promising tech startup was the subject of a negotiation competition that paired MBA students with Berkeley Law students last week.

Jamaur Bronner, MBA 16, and Jared Ginsburg, JD 17, prevailed in the Emma and Joseph H. Halloum Business Competition at Boalt Hall Nov. 6. They represented the fictional company Simtech, which had patented a technology that could charge mobile devices through movement and was being acquired by Microsoft.

The other finalist team, Moe Poonja, FTMBA 16, and Jasmin Varjavan, JD 16, represented Microsoft. The finalists were selected from among 12 teams after the first of three rounds of negotiations.

Halloum The winning dealmakers, front left to right: Moe Poonja, MBA 16; Jasmin Varjavan, JD 16; Jared Ginsburg, JD 17; and Jamaur Bronner, MBA 16

"This was an incredible experience. I spent three days competing against well-prepared peers and evaluating a very relevant and multi-faceted technology case," Bronner said. "The opportunity to connect with and learn from fellow Haas classmates and Boalt law students was invaluable. Negotiation is a key business skill that can potentially define and propel one's career."

In each round, the teams had to negotiate a purchase price, along with a number of other complex deal terms such as a no-shop provision, early termination fee, and CEO replacement, Poonja said. Among the judges were Saleforce's senior corporate counsel, the CFO of RingCentral, the vice chairman of Activision Blizzard, a Trust Company of the West VP, and Haas Senior Lecturer Tim Dayonot.

The competition is held every fall to give Berkeley MBA and Law students an opportunity to join forces in tackling a real-world transaction under time pressure.

About The Author

Laura is a senior marketing and communications manager at Berkeley-Haas. As a former journalist, she finds no shortage of interesting stories to tell at Haas. As a Cal alum, she loves being able to walk to work through redwood groves along Strawberry Creek.