BYU students win ACG Cup

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In addition to a rigorous school and work schedule, certain MBA students find the time not only to enter a competition, but win it as well.

On March 8, an MBA student team from BYU won the second annual Association for Corporation Growth Cup in Salt Lake City. The competition featured several Utah universities, including MBA teams from University of Utah, Utah State and Westminster. The competition presented students with a study case based on a real private equity transaction. Teams were judged by a local panel on their analysis, strategic recommendations and conclusions of the mock case.

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From Left to right: John Hendrix, Chair of ACG Utah Cup, presents a check to BYU students Adam Mabry, Todd Castagna, Tyler Casper, Michael Cox, Cory Steffen. Sponsors Charley Shumway, senior manager Ernst & Young, and Donald Rands, Vice President of Zions Bank are also pictured.
BYU’s winning team included Cory Steffen, Michael Cox, Tyler Casper, Adam Mabry and Todd Castagna. The team received $5,000 and an invitation to attend the annual ACG Utah Intermountain Growth Conference. The conference is a great way for students to network with industry professionals.

John Hendrix, chairman of ACG Cup in Utah, said the students put in countless hours of preparation for the competition. He said the cases students dealt with will benefit them greatly in the future because they are real world issues.

“The competition gives an indication of how BYU provides outstanding MBA students,” Hendrix said. “Winning [the competition] will add greatly to their résumé and prepares them to enter real life.”

Steffen, an MBA student from Salt Lake City, was part of BYU’s winning team. In an email, Steffen said his passion for financial modeling and strategy pushed him to enter the competition for the second year in a row. This year, however, he came home with the first place prize. Steffen said he prepared for the competition by reading valuation methodologies and reviewing last year’s case.

“One great thing about the ACG Cup is the exposure to industry professionals who serve as judges for the competition,” Steffen said. “We presented our recommendations to investment bankers and private equity investors who do this kind of work every day.  The insightful feedback and comments they provided helped us to really view this case study from a real-world perspective.”

Steffen said he was able to take what he learned in the classroom and apply it to the case. He said utilizing his classroom skills for real-life scenarios was the most beneficial part of this experience and the support of the faculty for the whole team is a testament to BYU’s program.

“I feel it offers MBA students a hands-on learning opportunity to apply their finance and valuation skills and gain exposure to industry professionals,” Steffen said.

Tim Rush, a senior partner at Springboard5, one of the Cup’s sponsors, said in an email this competition gives access to networking opportunities with local merger and acquisition professionals. Rush also said the BYU students’ victory reflects the stellar MBA program BYU offers. As more students and schools participate each year, Rush is looking forward to how the competition will continue to grow.

“The ACG Cup provides an excellent venue to introduce Utah schools and graduate students to ACG Utah,” Rush said, “which is the state’s prime support organization for executives, investors, lenders and other capital providers and professionals focused on corporate growth.”

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