Big Win in the Big Apple

PROVO, Utah – Feb 20, 2018 – Phantom of the Opera, Anastasia, Wall Street, the National September 11 Memorial, and a Duff and Phelps case competition win were all exciting experiences a team of BYU Marriott students had in the concrete jungle of New York City.

BYU Marriott’s team was one of three finalists who were chosen to travel to New York and compete in the Duff and Phelps case competition, all expenses paid. Kyle Nordhagen, an accounting junior from Sandy, Utah; Jess Landro, a pre-management junior from Frederick, Maryland; and Tyler Hardy, an accounting junior from Las Vegas, Nevada, didn’t just compete, they brought home first place, proving that NYC is where dreams are made of.

“We were excited, that’s for sure,” Nordhagen says. “All the emotions came into place once we found out we won, and it was an awesome experience.”

The case competition revolved around the newspaper industry. Since physical newspapers are dying but growing online, participants were tasked to decide whether a newspaper should get bigger by merging or get out of the business by shifting online. Teams came up with deliverables heavily based on financial aspects, valuation, merges and acquisition, and fairness opinions to present to a panel of nine judges.

The competition started seven years ago with BYU Marriott making the top three six times. Why does BYU Marriott perform well in this competition? Hal Heaton, finance professor and team advisor, says many students have been standing in front of audiences since age three at church and are used to giving talks and answering hard questions. 

“In addition to all the faculty support, they are confident, comfortable, and able to present in stressful situations when people are firing questions that may be antagonistic,” Heaton says.

Hardy is especially grateful for the experience. After winning the competition, he was able to network with Duff and Phelps campus recruiters in New York and has already had two interviews since. 

“I hope to secure a full-time position at one of the premier deal advisory firms,” Hardy says. “This summer will be crucial to achieve that goal upon graduation.”

Participants put in a lot of hard work towards the Duff and Phelps case competition. Each team member contributed about eighty to a hundred hours before submitting the case to be graded.

“Holding that check and realizing that the hundreds of hours we put in had paid off was definitely the most memorable and rewarding experience of the whole trip,” Hardy says.

BYU team with Duff and Phelp's CEO Noah Gottdiener
Participants from the top three teams: Auburn, Illinois, and BYU
BYU team at Ground Zero
Nordhagen, Hardy, and Landro visiting Ground Zero

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Emily Colon