Students Place in Valuation Competition

PROVO, Utah – Feb 07, 2017 – A finance major, an accounting major, and an economics major flew to New York City. They explored Times Square, visited Central Park, and competed in an international valuation competition. Then they came back with $6,000, connections with professionals, and experiences that will help them in their future careers.

Trevor Armstrong, a finance junior from Denver; Daphne Armstrong, an accounting junior from Beijing; and Derek Wilson, an economics junior from Shelley, Idaho, were these students who traveled to New York and competed in the finals for the Duff & Phelps YOUniversity Deal Challenge where they tied for second place.

“They are great students and they put in a lot of time and effort,” says finance professor Hal Heaton, the team’s faculty advisor. “I’m glad that they got rewarded.”

For the competition, students are given real-world companies from Duff & Phelps to practice valuations. This year the company was HBO.

The team identified trends and researched HBO to determine the media giant’s valuation. The process started in October, then the students received the assignment and had about a month to research and prepare a presentation. During this time, the students worked closely with Heaton who pushed them and asked tough questions to refine their project. They sent off their conclusions for review and in January, Duff & Phelps picked them as one of three teams to go to New York City to present.

The students were flown to the Big Apple for an all-expenses-paid trip. They spent thirty minutes presenting to professionals and then thirty minutes answering questions. Though the students agreed their time in front of the judges was one of the most challenging parts of the process, Wilson admits that “it was good for us to learn and to stretch.”

Participating in this competition gave these students insight into what they could want to do for future careers as well as build their networks.

“I’d like to go into valuation or investing,” Trevor Armstrong says. “It helped me make sure that this is something I want to do.”

One of the best parts, the students agreed, was the satisfaction of finishing a well-polished presentation.

“We felt like we were ready and we were prepared,” Wilson says. “When we were done presenting, we felt good about it. That was the best part—just feeling, ‘We did it.’”

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 3,300 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Derek Wilson, Daphne Armstrong, and Trevor Armstrong pose in the Duff & Phelps New York City headquarters where they competed in the YOUniversity challenge. (Patrick Nugent—Camera One, New York)
Accounting student Daphne Armstrong presents during the Duff & Phelps competition. (Patrick Nugent—Camera One, New York)
Trevor Armstrong and Derek Wilson listen as their teammate Daphne Armstrong presents at the Duff & Phelps competition. (Patrick Nugent—Camera One, New York)

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Maren McInnes