BYU Finance Students Place in Duff & Phelps Competition

PROVO, Utah – Feb 13, 2015 – A team of Brigham Young University undergraduates recently made the cut as runners-up in the Duff & Phelps YOUniversity Deal Challenge competition. The students’ valuation of companies earned them a trip to New York City and $2,000 each.

“Their success is confirmation of the high quality of BYU’s students,” says finance professor Hal Heaton, the team’s adviser. “They competed with great schools from around the nation and came out as one of the top teams.”

The BYU team was one of three selected from more than 100 teams to present in the final round of the competition, held January 28-30 at Duff & Phelps’ New York office. The squad consisted of finance juniors Tailor Ford, from San Diego; Erik Paustenbaugh, from Stillwater, Okla.; and Matthew Sanchez, from Denver.

Now in its fifth year, the competition presented students with the real-life task of valuing PayPal and eBay in anticipation of their upcoming split. The BYU students each spent about 100 hours over the course of a month to prepare their solutions before turning in their presentation to be judged.

“It was fun because we had never tried to value a company or transaction that is actually happening in the business world,” Sanchez says. “It was pretty cool to apply what we learned.”

The long hours paid off in the form of possible internship opportunities with companies, including Duff & Phelps, and team members are looking forward to using what they have learned in their finance careers. 

“We put in a lot of hard work, so it felt awesome when my team made it to the finals,” Ford says. “I gained a lot of valuable experience for my future.”

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, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems and public management. 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.

BYU students Erik Paustenbaugh, Matthew Sanchez, and Tailor Ford were selected as runners-up in the Duff & Phelps YOUniversity Deal Challenge.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Angela Marler