Haworth College of Business News

MBA students take first place in finance competition

A team of two students from Western Michigan University’s Master of Business Administration program recently placed first in the West Michigan Chapter of Association for Corporate Growth Cup Competition, winning a $5,000 cash prize.

Drew Guinn of Mattawan, Mich., and Matthew Maring of Kalamazoo shared the cash prize and reclaimed the traveling trophy won by WMU in 2010. The past three years of the competition involved  two rounds. Each school held an internal first round followed by the West Michigan Chapter competition. New this year is a third intrastate round where the two best teams from the West Michigan Chapter will compete against the two best teams from the Detroit Chapter on Saturday, March 31.

“The ACG competition has been a great way to apply the classroom learning experience to real life,” says Guinn. “It provides an introduction into the merger and acquisition world that is invaluable to someone considering this field for a career. What’s really impressive, from a student’s point of view, is the commitment from the industry professionals to coordinate the competition and judge each round. The prize money is a nice reward for the weeks of late nights necessary to do well in the ACG Cup.”

“The competition, along with the Seminar in Finance course, taught by Dr. Robert Balik,  associate professor of finance, has been the highlight of my graduate work at WMU,” says Maring. “The competition has provided great networking opportunities and real world experience. While there is a large time commitment I feel that all MBA students would benefit from this class and competition.”

The ACG Competition is designed to give MBA students real world experiences and invaluable insights into mergers, acquisitions, investment banking and private equity. Teams analyze complex business cases and present strategies including valuations, identification of capital markets, merger/acquisition alternatives and financing options. Prominent professionals from the corporate community and ACG membership apply their industry expertise as judges for the event. For WMU students, the competition is part of the course content in the Seminar in Finance course that focuses on entrepreneurship through acquisition.

The WMU winning team was announced at the ACG West Michigan meeting in mid-March. The WMU team placed first over the teams from Cornerstone University, Davenport University, Ferris State University and Grand Valley State University. At the intrastate competition, which also has a cash prize of $5,000, the WMU team will compete against teams from the University of Michigan (winner, Detroit Chapter of ACG), Walsh College (runner up, Detroit Chapter), and Grand Valley State University (runner up, West Michigan Chapter).

About ACG
ACG’s 14,000 members include professionals from private equity firms, corporations and lenders that invest in middle-market companies, as well as from law, accounting, investment banking and other firms that provide advisory services. Founded in 1954, ACG is a global organization with 56 chapters. Learn more at acg.org. ACG drives middle market growth. Learn how at www.middlemarketgrowth.org.