A team of four Western Michigan University MBA students placed first in the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Cup, a competition which provides students with experience and insight into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking and private equity.
The team of Faisal Allaboon , Jon Andrews and Phillip Hammond, all of Kalamazoo, and Vincent May of Plainwell, Mich., won a $5,000 cash prize in the competition held at Grand Valley State University in late February. They defeated participants representing leading west Michigan MBA programs from Davenport University and Grand Valley State University.
From left are the ACG Cup winning team members Jon Andrews, Fiasal Allaboon, Vincent May, and Philip Hammond.
As part of the competition, teams analyzed complex business cases and presented strategies including valuations, identifying capital markets, developing merger/acquisition strategic alternatives and financing options.
The WMU students are currently enrolled in the Seminar in Finance course at the WMU Grand Rapids Regional Site, taught jointly by John Boll, BBA ’77, and Dr. Robert Balik, associate professor of finance. “There are seven students in the class,” says Balik. “We formed two teams. Each team received a case two weeks prior to the presentation date. The first round of the cup competition was held in late January. 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.
“This is the second year for the ACG cup competition,” says Balik. “The crux of this year's case is firm valuation. Both rounds of the competition dealt with the valuation of a privately held regional broadband service provider,” says Balik, adding that the case was highly complex. “The first case, including financial information, was 18 pages long.”
“Winning teams from each school repeated the process in the second round receiving the information two weeks before the presentation.
The winning team was announced at the ACG awards ceremony on Tuesday, February 23. “Even at the graduate school level, involvement in the competitions and events are valuable experiences for the students, providing them with both the academic and networking components,” says Balik.
ACG has two chapters in Michigan, the West Michigan chapter in Grand Rapids and the Detroit chapter. Each chapter runs separate competitions.