MBA Case Competitions

MBA Team Takes Honors at Finance Case Competitions

Think of a case competition as the varsity sport of MBA programs. Our TCU MBAs showed they can take it so bring on the heat.

May 30,  2014

By Elaine Cole

One week, 100 pages of data and then a demanding presentation in front of Wells Fargo bankers who worked on the real deal months earlier. Tough? Yes. Impossible? Not even.

The TCU MBA team of Kayvon Shahbaz, Shawn Wescott, Dominick Robusto and Gyanendra Kumar created strategies, practiced moves and came together as a team to represent TCU against other top MBA programs. They scored second place and $2,000 at the 8thAnnual Finance Case Competition sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank.

The case represented a real-life bank-lending proposal with an energy finance client.  The Wells Fargo team of experts judged them on written analysis, oral presentation, quality of recommendations and the question-and-answer session.

Team captain Kayvon Shahbaz said such competitions force students to think critically.

“Sure, that sounds totally business-school cliché, but let me put it in context,” he said. “It’s noon on a Wednesday. You receive a 100-page PDF full of data from an industry in which you have little or no experience, and you’re asked one question: What would you do? You have one week to come up with the answer, and then you present to a group of bankers, some of whom worked on this very deal. That’s pretty daunting. But once you get over the shock, you start compartmentalizing what’s important, analyzing it and coming up with actionable insights. That’s what I mean by thinking critically.”

Five MBA teams participated in the prestigious Wells Fargo challenge, from Washington University in St. Louis (Olin), University of Oklahoma (Price), SMU (Cox) and our team from the Neeley School of Business at TCU. The SMU team won first place and Oklahoma took third.

The same TCU MBA team competed in the regional Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Cup and took home $1,000 as runner up. The ACG Cup is a case study competition designed to give students from leading MBA programs real-world experience and invaluable insights into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advisory and private equity. Students have the unique opportunity to present valuation, capital markets and M&A strategic advice to a panel of seasoned M&A professionals.

Kumar said that participating in the case competitions was a great learning experience. “I have an engineering background, and these competitions were about core finance topics I am learning in class, such as M&A and corporate lending. It gives you a chance to go above and beyond what you are taught via textbooks.”

Shahbaz, who has worked in investment banking, agreed. “These competitions act as fantastic supplements to an already rigorous MBA curriculum, because they give students a taste of a real-world professional ‘fire-drill’.”