Finance students put valuation skills to the test

December 2013

Recently, the winners of the 6th Annual Miami University - William Blair Case Competition were announced. The competition involves performing an in-depth analysis of a particular company, using the different valuation methodologies learned in Dr. Tom Boulton's FIN 461 class.

This year's company, Red Hawk Security, is a value-added reseller of IT security software and consulting based in Boca Raton, Florida. The goal for the students was to use different valuation methodologies to determine the value of the company and then to present estimates of the company's present value and identify potential buyers.

128 students in 30 teams began the competition. Next, the competitors were pared down to four finalists. The finalists then presented to a panel of judges from William Blair. Eventually, there was a winning team: senior finance majors Andrew Badea, Michael Badea, Tommy Bronken, and Ryan Hoffner came away with the title.

As with other competitions of this caliber, the most important part of the project was the question-and-answer portion of the presentation. The judges fired questions at the finalists from all angles; the teams had to convince the judges that their recommendations were compelling and correct.

Dr. Boulton's FIN 461 class, "Financial Analysis of Mergers, Buyouts, and Restructuring," has been required to participate in this competition for the last four or five years. "It fits well with what we're doing in 461," he said. "The skills learned in the class are applicable to the competition, and this is a great opportunity for students to practice what they're learning in class. William Blair is always impressed with the students—it's often the case that they will express interest in hiring students after competitions like these."

"The Farmer School provides all the necessary resources for students to excel academically, as well as gain valuable real world experience in various fields of study," Andrew said. "The William Blair Case Competition is just one example where students are able to apply classroom information in a professional, real world setting. I am grateful to have participated in a competition that not only challenged me mentally, but allowed me to perform real analyst-level work."

"This competition provided an unparalleled experience that really opened my eyes to the actual work that's done within the investment banking industry," Tommy said. "Having a prestigious firm such as William Blair invest the time to come to campus and host this competition goes to show that the future is bright for hard-working students within Farmer."