MBA Students Hit High Mark at National Competition

A team of MBA students from Brigham Young University received second place and a $1,000 cash prize at the 2012 Wharton MBA Buyout Case Competition, beating out other top Ivy League and international schools. The high-profile competition, which took place in Philadelphia, tested graduate students on their leveraged buyout knowledge.

"How well we did speaks to the quality of the students and education in the MBA program," says Gary Williams, finance professor and a team adviser. "To me, this validates that we can compete with the best."

The five MBA students competed and placed along top schools such as Chicago University and Northwestern, which placed first and third respectively. Other schools at the competition included Columbia, Oxford, London Business School, Cornell and University of California, Berkeley.

All teams worked on a fictional leveraged buyout, examining whether or not to purchase The Children's Place Retail Stores. Approaching from strategic and financial points of view, BYU's team created a recommendation in just four days, a judgment that takes companies months to decide.

"Our students were working around the clock," Williams says. "It's pretty amazing when you see the finesse and skill our team had in this competitive event."

Many teams, including BYU, agreed it was a smart financial decision to purchase the company. However, BYU students stood out with their structure of the purchase deal and the research that was gathered to back up their decision.

This is the third year BYU has competed in the Wharton competition. This year's team included second-year MBA students: Adam Mabry from Mesa, Ariz.; Scott Cole from Tempe, Ariz.; and Cory Steffan from Salt Lake City. They were joined by first-year MBA students Spencer Clawson from Salt Lake City and John Mayfield from South Jordan, Utah.

"It was great to put our knowledge and skills to the test," Cole says. "The judges said we had one of the best presentations and a solid understanding of the market. Overall, it was tremendous experience to be a part of."

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Miriam Shumway