Sparing the stubble to support upstarts

Beard-off contestants are judged at the final ceremony Dec. 6.

Ben Clark (left) evaluates the facial hair of (from right) Avishek Dey, Bill Maples, and Scott Marsh at the Beard-off final ceremony Dec. 6. Photo by Tim Schoon.

After one full month of not shaving, the Beard-off results are in.

Sixteen official participants from the Tippie full-time MBA program and a handful of unofficial contestants grew facial hair in the initial Beard-off competition, sponsored by the Net Impact student group. The event raised money for the Kiva microloan program, which loans money—typically around $25—to people in developing countries so they can start their own businesses.

Jon Finley, a second-year Tippie MBA student and president of Net Impact, created the Beard-off contest. Competitors were itching to learn their fate at the Dec. 6 final ceremony, where donations were collected and prizes were awarded.

Blaine Rourick earned top honors. Photo by Tim Schoon.

Blaine Rourick earned top honors. Photo by Tim Schoon.

On the final check-in, the competitors were honored for their work (“Best Mustache,” “People’s Choice”), while some received less coveted awards (“Least Amount of Change”).

While the Beard-off is similar to “No Shave November,” Finley focused on raising money for microloans instead of a health cause in order to have a greater impact for a cause. The contest yielded about $350 in donations—enough for about 14 typical microloans.

This is the first year for the Beard-off; Finley was proud to see enthusiasm from the participants. While he won’t be returning, Finley hopes the Beard-off legacy lives on.

“I was curious to see who would want to go four weeks without shaving,” Finley says. “It definitely gets ugly, but it’s worth it.”