News at Smith

Mergers and Acquisitions Contest Draws top MBA Programs; UVA Triumphs

Oct 24, 2011
Experiential / Reality-based Learning

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2011 M&A Competition Winners

College Park, Md. – Oct. 24, 2011 – A college football weekend likely comes to mind when a mid-autumn competition is associated with beer and the likes of UCLA, Texas A&M and the University of Virginia.

Teams from these schools and others recently concluded a pressure-packed competition. But it involved neither athletics nor tailgating fans. Instead, MBA students matched their skills as the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business staged its 5th annual Mergers and Acquisitions Competition.

UVA's Darden School of Business captured the Oct. 20-21 event's $5,000 first prize.

The UCLA Anderson School of Management placed second ($2,500) and Texas A&M’s Mays Business School finished third ($1,000), as corporate executives, Wall Street bankers and business professors judged merger and acquisition pitches hypothetically based on the international beer/brewing industry.

"This one-of-a-kind competition really prepares MBA students for the fast-paced world of mergers and acquisitions," said G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. “We challenge the students to excel under deadline pressure in a sophisticated, cross-disciplinary exercise under the scrutiny of investment bankers, strategic consultants and high-level corporate financiers who work M&A transactions on a regular basis.”

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 for a large international brewer. Students used event co-sponsor Capital IQ’s tools and real-time databases for the brewing industry in preparing their analyses. Teams pitched their final presentations to the judges, representing the likes of JPMorgan Chase, ATK and Accenture. Teams were judged on their qualitative arguments and the quantitative models used to support their arguments.

Michael Schenk, account executive for the competition’s other sponsor, Morningstar Inc., said the Smith School has established a niche among academic business competitions. “This [competition] is on par with the best of the many competitions I’ve observed, plus it’s uniquely focused on one segment of the market -- mergers and acquisitions.”

Howard Bernheim, director of business development for Standard and Poor’s Capital IQ-Compustat, said he was impressed by “the highest levels of professionalism and poise by MBA students. The students were capable and knowledgeable as they presented and responded to an onslaught of hard questions,” he said. “They will be assets to their employers and to the U.S. economy.”

In addition to a Smith School team and the prizewinning teams, competitors represented Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management and the George Washington University School of Business.

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 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).

Activity also includes a networking reception and opportunities for students to meet industry professionals and recruiters.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.