A team of four LeBow College of Business graduate students has taken first place in the fifth annual Philadelphia ACG Cup. MBA students Andrew Kennedy, Jideofor Agba and Chrystelle Foaleng, and MS-Finance student Chun Hui Liu will split the handsome grand prize of $10,000.
The Association for Corporate Growth designed this annual competition to give students from leading MBA and MS programs across the country real-world experience and invaluable insights into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advisory and private equity. This year’s competition involved a highly realistic mergers and acquisitions case study. The Drexel LeBow team spent many hours preparing for the final round of the competition before presenting its findings to a panel of judges at KPMG’s Center City offices on April 7.
The competition began with a Round One internal contest held on campus at LeBow College. Each Drexel LeBow team analyzed and presented solutions and recommendations to a complex business case that required a combination of corporate strategy, finance, and valuation skills. The winning LeBow team went on to compete against – and beat – teams from other regional business schools including Temple and Villanova universities and the University of Pennsylvania at the regional competition.
Team member Kennedy says the Drexel LeBow team built the valuation models they presented from scratch, and double-checked them. “Ultimately, it was truly a team effort to just build the model. After the model was built, we had to develop our opinions on what assumptions we should make,” says Kennedy. “We then had to make sure we could defend these assumptions if pressed on them.”
Kennedy says the competition taught him several lessons in addition to the immediate knowledge they gained of the M&A process and how to value companies. “We also learned a lot about ourselves and about relationships. I personally learned more about my own working habits and how I operate with the people around me.”
Kennedy also says that the win “shows that our program, professors, and faculty are among the best in the world. It was a moment of real triumph. It felt good.”
Overall, he says the biggest lesson learned was not a new lesson: Hard work really does pay off.
Drexel LeBow administrator Kamina Richardson says the ACG Cup team members spent well over 100 hours analyzing the case information and putting together valuation models. “The students also said this competition gave them a new appreciation for the complexities involved in M&A, as well as for the importance of teamwork,” she says.