FORTUNE -- In front of a standing-room-only crowd at a Rice University auditorium Thursday night, business plan contestants set the scene: A would-be student entrepreneur walks into an elevator with Warren Buffett. They have 30 floors -- or 60 seconds -- to get him to invest in their company.
More than 40 student teams delivered elevator pitches to an imaginary Oracle of Omaha. But the crowd was real: Nearly 500 students, investors, and Texas business leaders crowded into the Houston business school auditorium. This micro-spiel showdown is a high-drama event at the university's annual business plan competition, which draws teams from all over the country to compete for $1.6 million over the course of three PowerPoint-filled days. Some stumbled -- a few presenters went cold in front of the crowd. And some succeeded, you can see all the pitches here.
The judges will hand out prizes to the winning teams at a gala on Saturday night, including $1,000 for the best elevator pitch and $450,000 for the top team. But for now, Fortune has picked a few of its favorites.
Best appeal to the hypochondriac in all of us: NanDio, University of Notre Dame
The plan: The team says it has a simple diagnostic test for the human papillomavirus, which it says is causing epidemic levels of oral cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The pitch: "Do you know what's in your mouth? It could be HPV."
Most likely to further depress manufacturing workers: NVBOTS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The plan: With 3-D printers already increasing the amount of automation in manufacturing, this team has developed one that can run all day and night.
The pitch: "We've eliminated the human from every step of the 3-D printing process. You can run our machines 24/7 without any human interaction."
Most likely to spark a sequel to The Graduate: PolyDrop, University of Washington
The plan: The company wants to make durable plastic materials that can conduct electricity. The team thinks its semiconducting polymers could take over the electrostatic charge dissipation market (yes, it's a mouthful), which it says is worth $2.3 billion.
The pitch: "We are PolyDrop, and we are completing the plastics revolution."
Most likely to purge Britney Spears songs from your bar night: CrowdTunes, Duke University
The plan: Create a digital jukebox marketplace where bar-goers can use their phones to control the sound system, paying per play, and paying more to play a song immediately.
The pitch: "Patrons can bid on their songs, and then outbid their friends with terrible taste. We've created a music marketplace where I've seen songs sold for $20 in bars."
Best reason to ditch that arts career and get an MBA: FilmShaker, London Business School
The plan: FilmShaker promises to be the "Netflix of independent films." With even the best indie films getting little distribution, the business would give those movies a platform, and a business model.
The pitch: "A few years ago, I met a producer whose movie won the Cannes Film Festival. He told me his movie hadn't made any money."
More than 500 teams applied to the richest business plan competition in the world, Rice University's event in Houston. The 42 still standing will compete this weekend for $1.6 million in prizes.
FORTUNE -- Want to start a business? So does everyone else.
More than 500 teams applied to participate in the richest business plan competition in the world, Rice University's Business Plan Competition in Houston. The 42 still standing will compete this MOREAnne VanderMey - Apr 11, 2014 9:56 AM ET
For at least a decade, parents have become deeply involved in their children's undergraduate admissions process. Those same parents are now taking the graduate schools by storm.
By John A. Byrne
(Poets&Quants) -- The call came in at midnight on the eve of Harvard Business School's round two admissions deadline this past January.
Stacey Oyler, an MBA admissions consultant for Clear Admit, was used to getting late-night calls from clients. After all, MOREApr 10, 2014 1:25 PM ET
About 95% of Stanford's Graduate School of Business's 809 students opt to take at least one entrepreneurship class. A look at how the school teaches students to start their own businesses.
By Kim Girard
(Poets&Quants) -- T.J. Duane began the Startup Garage course at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business last September planning to build a closed online network for lawyers.
About eight weeks into the 24-week class, he and his team MOREMar 25, 2014 10:56 AM ET
The school made its first move into the digital educational realm with a $1,500 online program of three fundamental business courses for undergraduates and recent graduates.
By John A. Byrne
(Poets&Quants) -- Harvard Business School on Friday made its first move into the digital educational realm with a $1,500 online program of three fundamental business courses for undergraduates and recent graduates of liberal arts programs. The school expects 500 to 1,000 MOREMar 21, 2014 11:39 AM ET
Just a few months after replacing its admissions chief, the elite school names an Australian native for the top job.
FORTUNE -- The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School has a new dean. On Monday, the school announced that Geoffrey Garrett, current head of the Australian School of Business at Sydney's University of New South Wales, would replace Wharton's current Dean Thomas Robertson, effective July 1.
Garrett, an Australian native, will leave Sydney MOREAnne VanderMey - Mar 17, 2014 2:18 PM ET
Sixty years since its birth, the spectacular growth of the admissions exam mirrors the rise in popularity of the MBA degree, arguably the most successful educational product of the post-war period.
By John A. Byrne
(Poets&Quants) -- Sixty years ago on Feb. 6, 1954, slightly more than 1,000 people sat down in 100 different places around the world to take a test for the very first time. It was the precursor MOREFeb 11, 2014 1:51 PM ET
For the past nine years, Northwestern Kellogg has hosted a Super Bowl Advertising Review that requires MBA students to assess commercial spots during the big game.
By Jeff Schmitt
(Poets&Quants) -- What a difference 47 years can make.
In 1967, the first Super Bowl tickets sold for $12. Now, they cost $2,000. In Super Bowl I, the winning Packers took home $15,000 a piece. Now, winning players earn $88,000. Back then, marching MOREJan 31, 2014 4:22 PM ET
Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria publicly apologized for the school's treatment of female students and professors, and vowed to make changes at the institution.
By John A. Byrne
(Poets&Quants) -- The dean of the Harvard Business School made an extraordinary public apology on Monday in San Francisco for his school's past behavior toward women. At a ballroom in the Ritz Carlton Hotel before 600 alumni and guests, Dean Nitin Nohria MOREJan 29, 2014 10:24 AM ET
A Poets&Quants analysis of 2013 employment reports at most of the world's top business schools shows that there was no shortage of extraordinary pay days for the best and brightest MBA grads.Jan 28, 2014 9:51 AM ET
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