For the third time in four years, a team of undergraduate students from the Wisconsin School of Business walked into the boardroom of Duff & Phelps’ New York office and made a strong presentation addressing a complex business transaction to win the Duff & Phelps YOUniversity Deal Challenge. The team made an impressive presentation and faced an hour of grilling from a panel of Duff & Phelps experts and nationally recognized professors to prevail over two other finalists.
Wisconsin School of Business BBA students Risun Udawatta, Mary Hinzey, and Shane Maloney took the top prize, along with advisor Belinda Mucklow, a senior lecturer in finance. The 2015 challenge required the students to address valuation and transfer pricing implications of eBay’s plan to spin off its payments business segment, PayPal, into a separate publicly traded company.
“This experience was a tremendous opportunity for our team,” said Maloney. “It was a great way to test our ability to problem solve and apply what we’ve been learning in class in a real world context.”
Hinzey added, “After graduation, we are all hoping to pursue careers in investment banking, and this case helped prepare us for the kind of work we will be doing and the challenges we will be taking on.”
Duff & Phelps is a global financial advisory and investment banking firm, offering the annual event as a means of giving teams of college students from around the world a hands-on opportunity to tackle real-world business challenges. Students gain a unique perspective on how deals come together and have the chance to test a range of skills including mergers and acquisitions advisory, transaction opinions, dispute consulting, transfer pricing and valuation advisory. Working in teams of three, students apply technical reasoning and critical thinking at key stages of the deal-making process, gaining a stronger perspective on the types of problems that must be overcome in making a deal come together.
As part of their presentation, the WSB team provided:
- an economic overview examining recent spin-offs and market reactions to them;
- financial reviews, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, cash flow, and valuation analysis for the two companies; and
- transfer pricing analysis and recommendations.
“The team members put in over 200 hours of work, and it demonstrates what an intensive project this is,” said Mucklow. “The students had to deliver very focused analysis and recommendations and then defend their position to a panel of experts who have been doing this kind of work for years. It’s a very impressive accomplishment.”
Each member of the winning WSB team received $5,000 in scholarship money. Last year, the Wisconsin School of Business team came in second in the competition, after placing first in 2012 and 2013. More information on the event, including the 2015 Case Study Challenge and winning presentation, may be found here.