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MBA students take first in finance competition

April 22, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A team of four students from Western Michigan University's Master of Business Administration program recently placed first in the Association for Corporate Growth Cup, winning a $5,000 cash prize.

Team members Faisal Allaboon, Jon Andrews and Phillip Hammond, all of Kalamazoo, and Vincent May of Plainwell, Mich., defeated participants representing west Michigan MBA programs from Davenport University and Grand Valley State University.

The contest's final round was held at GVSU. The competition provides students with experience and insight into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking and private equity. Teams analyzed complex business cases and presented strategies, including valuations, identifying capital markets, developing merger/acquisition strategies and financing options.

The WMU students are enrolled in the Seminar in Finance course at the WMU Grand Rapids Regional Site, taught jointly by instructor John Boll and Dr. Robert Balik, associate professor of finance and commercial law. The class was divided into two teams and received a case two weeks prior to the presentation date. The competition was highly complex, held in two rounds and focused on firm valuation.

"We were at somewhat of a disadvantage, as both the two other schools had formed teams last fall, while our teams were formed just prior to the presentation," Balik says. "Both rounds dealt with the valuation of a privately held regional broadband service provider. The first case, including financial information, was 18 pages long."

The winning team was announced at the ACG awards ceremony.

"Even at the graduate school level, involvement in the competitions and events are valuable experiences for the students, providing them with both academic and networking components," Balik says.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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