MBA students had the upcoming presidential election on their minds as they plotted merger and acquisition strategies and recommendations for big players in the aerospace and defense industries. Teams from some of the country’s top MBA programs went head to head in an intense match to offer the best pitch in the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 6th annual Mergers and Acquisitions Competition.
Dean G. "Anand" Anandalingham (far left) and Sarah Kroncke (far right), senior lecturer and M&A Competition faculty champion, joined members of the Smith MBA student team that captured third-place, from left: Richard Ranieri, 2nd year; Karen Mu, 2nd year; Bo Li, 1st year; and Ryan Turner, 1st year. See more photos on Facebook.
A team from the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business captured the Oct. 25-26 event's $5,000 first prize. Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business placed second ($2,500) and the team from the Smith School finished third ($1,000), judged by a panel of corporate executives, Wall Street bankers and business professors. The competition’s hypothetical case asked students to analyze the aerospace and defense industry. The teams’ pitches addressed potential election outcomes and the looming federal budget crisis that could drastically impact defense spending and the industry.
“We continue to host this unique competition because it really offers MBA students the type of experiential learning that we are committed to providing here at the Smith School,” said G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. “These students worked around the clock and used real-time data to put together sophisticated M&A pitches – an exercise with which they will become all too familiar if they pursue this as a career.”
The teams, with up to four members, received their case assignment on the competition's first day and worked through the night to create a persuasive argument for strategic merger and acquisition alternatives. Students used data tools from silver event sponsor Standard and Poor’s Capital IQ-Compustat to prepare their analyses. They pitched their final presentations to judges on Friday. They were evaluated on their qualitative arguments and the quantitative models used to support their arguments.
“This competition provides an exciting and invaluable real-world learning experience,” said Howard Bernheim, director of client development for S&P Capital IQ-Compustat. “I was impressed by the professionalism and poise of the MBA students on all of the teams as they presented and responded to the tough questions from the judges. Any company will be lucky to land these top students.”
In addition to the prizewinning teams, competitors represented the Boston University School of Management, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
Each year, the Smith School’s MBA Finance Association presents the Mergers and Acquisitions Competition as its premier fall event. Targeting the nation’s top MBA programs, the event’s previous champions have represented the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business (2011), Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business (2010), New York University’s Stern School of Business (2009), the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (2008) and Columbia Business School (2007).