BYU MBA Takes ACG Cup Title

PROVO, Utah – Mar 09, 2017 – A team of five BYU MBA students placed first in the statewide Association for Corporate Growth Cup Competition, defeating teams from the University of Utah and Utah Valley University and winning $5,000.

“We did some fairly complex analysis on some of the problems, and the judges really liked that,” says team member Christopher Barnes, a second-year MBA student from Eugene, Oregon. “We were very creative in our solutions to the proposed problem, but we were also realistic, and we were rewarded for that.” 

The ACG Cup is a case study competition intended to give MBA students real-world experience in concepts such as mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advisory, and private equity. Participating teams are given the opportunity to present strategic advice to professionals posing as the board of a fictitious holding company.

The competition involved two rounds in which the team, acting as investment bankers, gave advice to the company regarding subsidiaries and paying off debt to fund growth.

“I’ve learned the principles in the classroom, but to be able to apply them in a setting that was more representative of what happens out in a real business deal was so valuable,” Barnes says.

The other team members included first-year MBA student Menglu Liu from Jinan, Shandong, China; and second-year MBA students Carson Allen from Midland, Texas; Dave Gordon from Hartford, Connecticut; and Spencer Hutchings from Provo.

“I think we worked together really well,” Allen says. “Sometimes we got bogged down in the details, but I think the conflict we had was healthy and helped us get a good product in front of the judges.”

BYU teams have won five out of the last six ACG Cup competitions, with this year’s title being the second consecutive win.

“It’s always good when your students go out and take first place,” says Grant McQueen, BYU MBA director and team faculty advisor. “External approbation indicates that we’re doing something right here.”

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

ACG Cup 2017 winners
BYU's winning team of MBA students poses after winning the ACG Cup competition. From left to right: Spencer Hutchings, Carson Allen, Menglu Liu, Dave Gordon, and Christopher Barnes.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Laura Spilsbury