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BW School of Business students shine at annual ACG Cup

In a performance that was the talk of the contest, the BW team of four undergrads and one MBA claimed second place out of nine teams, barely edged out by a group of mostly graduate finance students from Case Western.

The BW contingent at the ACG Cup at Cleveland’s Union Club, front row, left to right, Vincent Bucci ’23, Dane McNulty ‘24, Ryan Rivera ‘23, George Newcomb ’23. Back row, left to right, are Professor C

In a bit of a David and Goliath story, an impressive team of students from Baldwin Wallace University claimed second prize and the respect of judges at the 2023 Association of Corporate Growth ACG Cup® Cleveland.

The rigorous investment banking case study competition, annually organized by the Cleveland chapter of the ACG, saw an upstart, mostly undergraduate team from the BW Carmel Boyer School of Business come in a close second to one of three teams entered by Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) comprised largely of MBA students.

Judged by experts

The contest, held Jan. 13 at Cleveland's Union Club, was judged by 12 investment bankers and wealth management, private equity and accounting experts.

"Our team was the buzz of the competition, and we heard from many of the judges that they were amazed by our students' performance," reports Dr. Christian Nsiah, the BW economics and finance professor who coached the team.

In addition to BW and CWRU, the competition featured teams from The University of Akron, Ashland University, John Carroll University and Notre Dame College.

Real-world experience

According to the sponsor, the case study competition "is designed to give students from leading MBA and undergraduate programs … real-world experience and invaluable insights into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advisory and private equity."

That real-world challenge is exactly what the youngest member of the BW team sought from the experience.

Junior finance and accounting double major Dane McNulty '24, who also serves as vice president of BW's Investment Club, budget chair for student government and plays for the Yellow Jacket football team, says the BW ACG Cup team was not intimidated to take on teams of graduate students.

"Maybe at first we were," McNulty recalls. "But we were so passionate and so prepared, we went in confident."

Forging industry connections

The youngest member of the 2023 ACG Cup team Dane McNulty ’24 (right) talks through the ACG project with the Carmel Boyer School of Business dean Dr. Susan Kuznik (left) in BW’s Business Research Center.

McNulty, who aspires to work in private equity after graduation, says he came away from competition day with a fistful of business cards exchanged during an afternoon networking session.

The cherry on top? An invitation for the top three teams to celebrate at ACG's signature Northeast Ohio Deal Makers Ball, billed as "one of the best networking events of the year" for financiers.

"I met a lot of awesome people," McNulty says.

ACG also provided students' resumes to members and notes, "competitors are hired every year by ACG Cleveland member organizations."

Gaining a new mentor

The BW team also included finance and accounting major Vincent Bucci '23, finance and digital marketing major Ryan Rivera '23 and finance and business administration major George Newcomb '23, who all plan to enter BW graduate business programs after graduation, and Shelly Barth, business analytics MBA '22.

ACG also assigned the team a professional mentor for the competition.

"We are so grateful to Andrew Lease, an analyst with PNC Erieview, who served as ACG's advisor to our team," notes BW business dean Dr. Susan Kuznik. "Members of BW's strong alumni network also cheered our team on to success."

Leap of faith

McNulty offers some sage closing advice for BW students who may be timid about jumping into such an experience in the future.

"To anyone who might be afraid to enter a competition like this or who thinks they don't know enough, take a leap of faith. That's exactly why you do it, to challenge yourself and push out of your comfort zone. You will learn a lot in the process, which is the point, and you may just surprise yourself by coming out on the other side at or near the top!"

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