INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—A team of Evening MBA students from the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis recently earned the top spot in the ACG Cup case competition, sponsored by the Indiana chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth. The team including R. J. Forbes, Marc Kleinman, Brian Sullivan and Ryan Litherland finished first in the state competition against a team from Purdue’s Krannert School of Management. Teams from Kelley’s full-time MBA program and Notre Dame have won the state ACG Cup in recent years.
“The ACG Cup provided a risk-free opportunity to try something new,” said Forbes, an analyst for the Knall/Cohen Group of Stifel Nicolaus. “I have quite a bit of experience with financial modeling and valuation, but my previous experience was limited to the analysis. This competition helped me move past the analysis.”
The ACG is a global organization comprised of finance professionals working in the industries of private equity and mergers and acquisitions. The ACG Cup is a nationwide competition offering students from leading MBA programs real-world experience with mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advising and private equity. ACG member Steve Jones, associate professor of finance, has recruited and coached teams from Kelley Indianapolis for four years. His teams receive a case via email one week prior to the competition, where they present their evaluation before a panel of judges.
“The judges act as a board of directors, and students present the case as if they were an external consulting team advising the board on a financial mergers and acquisitions problem the board is facing,” said Jones, the faculty chair of the Evening MBA program. “It’s really a Wall Street-type scenario.”
The runner-up Kelley Indianapolis team in the intra-school competition included Phil Daubenmire, Matt Kaercher, Ketan Patel and Matt Metcalf. Evening MBA students say the competition allows them to put their class work into action.
“The ACG Cup provided us with a wonderful opportunity to explore the world of mergers, acquisitions and high-level private equity transactions; to present in a boardroom environment that simulates what we all will certainly face throughout our careers and to receive feedback and encouraging recognition from some of the industry’s local leaders,” said Kleinman, founding principal at MJK Life Science Solutions, LLC. “I couldn’t ask for a better way to apply the material I’ve learned at the Kelley School and to prepare for a career in corporate transactions.”
The competition is judged by a group of local financial professionals.
“The Kelley students represented their school magnificently and certainly deserved the honor of winning,” said Peter Schueth, lead judge for the ACG Cup and financial advisor at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. “It is clear they have a good understanding of both the technical and more human aspects of the case and how to present to an investment committee. It will serve them well in their careers.”
“The ACG Cup was a great opportunity to meet established industry professionals with extensive valuation experience and to receive their constructive feedback,” said Ryan Litherland, a JD/MBA student and business development associate at E&A Industries. “Personally, the experience aligned well with my current work experience with merger and acquisition transactions as well as with my professional goals moving forward. I am sure it will prove to be a differentiator for all of us as we pursue our respective careers in this competitive business environment.”