Five students in the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics Master of Science in Finance program will compete in the inaugural Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Cup.
The event involves a case study designed to give students from leading MBA programs across the country real-world experience and insights into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advisory and private equity. ACG is a group for business leaders founded in 1954 with 12,000 members in 54 chapters throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
The students advanced to the final competition after a preliminary round in Morgantown—a scenario of a family-owned business that a corporation is offering to buy. The teams had one week to prepare and, first, were required to sell their mock financial advising firm’s services to the business and then to give advice on whether to accept or reject the corporation’s offer. The WVU team will compete against the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Feb. 18 in Pittsburgh.
“This competition builds on what our students learn in the classroom and validates it by applying it to real world situations,” commented finance professor Frank DeGeorge. “The preliminary round was a very good opportunity for professionals to see WVU students and our graduate program. What they saw impressed them.”
From the students’ viewpoint, the work was worth the experience. “In my opinion, mergers and acquisitions are the most interesting topics in finance; so it was no problem spending the night with the team in the library,” said Matt Anstey of Canberra, Australia, one of the student competitors. “I learned a great deal from the experience, which will hopefully help me in my studies and when I go to the job market. In particular, we got experience in how a real investment bank would approach a private company acquisition and some of the issues that arise in these complex deals.”
Caitlin Henning of Elkins, W.Va., said the case was tough. “The competition case was very difficult, especially with the time constraint of one week that we were given,” she said. “We spent many hours working to perfect both our underlying assumptions and overall calculations. It felt great to win, mostly because we realized that our hard work for the past week had paid off.”