Farmer School MBAs back on top in regional ACG Cup case competition

Win is fourth in five years for Farmer School teams

Gary Richardson, Curtis Luken, Ekaterina Gay, Michael Popson, and Jason Lipps pose after their win
Gary Richardson, Curtis Luken, Ekaterina Gay, Michael Popson, and Jason Lipps pose after their win Photo: Vickie Daniels, Studio 66 LLC

Win is fourth in five years for Farmer School teams

For the fourth time in five years, Farmer School of Business MBA students have taken the top prize in a prestigious case competition, beating teams from the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University to win the Southern Ohio ACG Cup.  The Association for Corporate Growth is a national organization with local chapters, with a focus on deal making in local markets. 

The competition involves the students working as an investment banking team in a mergers and acquisition scenario based on an actual case. Each team has 20 minutes to make their proposal and handle questions from a board of directors, played by local business leaders, who then pick the winning team based on criteria they would likely use if it was an actual transaction.

Michael Popson, Ekaterina Gay, Curtis Luken, Jason Lipps, and Gary Richardson comprised the winning team. "The competition involved an initial meeting where we were given the general overview of how the competition would be structured and how to approach it. We were then given the case materials and began working on the analyses," Popson explained.  "We often met via Google Hangouts on evenings and weekends, including a meeting immediately following the Super Bowl. We reached out to Professor Boulton to get insights into our valuations and met with him one afternoon prior to our first round presentation for coaching. After our first round presentation, we continued to develop our recommendations and strategies, while polishing our delivery."

"I saw the ACG Cup as a way to apply the knowledge I have gained over the course of completing my MBA in a competitive environment against individuals who have had similar training," he said.

“I got involved to witness the subject matter I am learning about in class become real. I wanted to get a feel on how my class material is expressed in the ‘real world,’” Richardson explained. “I learned how to work with other people's skills and talents and filled in where others were weak. I also learned how to listen, stay poised, and answer high-level questions.”

"I gained a lot of valuable experience by participating in this project, including great insight into investment banking and mergers and acquisitions. I had an invaluable opportunity to interact with and learn from experienced professionals in the field through their very detailed and focused coaching," Gay recalled. "I found the whole process, starting from first getting familiarized with the company we were working with to the point of us pitching our strategy, simply fascinating. So I was trying to get the most out of those learning experiences as much as I could."