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MBA Team Takes First in Finance-Driven Case Competition

By Nicole Federica

ACG Case Cup

5th ACG MBA Cup Competition

This month, Kogod MBA students took home the title for the ACG Cup National Capital for the first time.

Michael Hirschberg, Andrew Boutros, Sanjana Banerjee, and Selma Kikic came together to form the Kogod Capital Advisors team and compete in the ACG Cup, a case competition focused on mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advisory, and private equity problems.

ACG National Capital is the Mid-Atlantic chapter of a professional development and networking group for value-oriented business leaders.

"ACG cases have more of a finance focus, and the competition is against other MBA students," said Boutros. "The most challenging aspect was learning how to calculate a leveraged buy-out."

The competition brings together the best and brightest minds from business schools in the D.C. Metro area. BDO, an accounting, tax, financial advisory, and consulting organization, hosted this year's case competition in their corporate offices in Bethesda, Maryland.

The team was honored at ACG’s February monthly meeting at the Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner, where the speaker was Bill Varner, president and chief operating officer of ManTech International Corporation's Mission, Cyber & Technology Solutions (MCTS) group.

A Unique Competition

The case dealt with ITS, an IT staffing company. "The CFO of the organization was looking to sell the company," explained Boutros. "There were two different options. The first offer was from another staffing agency. The second offer was from a private equity firm."

The challenge? Determine which was the better offer.

"While there was some firm and integration strategy involved, the answer was reliant on maximizing value for the current shareholders," said Hirschberg.

The presentations also proved a challenge. Instead of the standard ten-minute presentation with a ten-minute question and answer component, group members had to be prepared to improvise at any moment.

"The judges were allowed—and willing—to interrupt our presentation to gain clarity and explanation about our assumptions, results, and overall direction," said Hirschberg.

Previous winning teams have hailed from the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business and Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.