Searches for knowledge, talent intersect at William Blair case competition

November 2018

Jay Murdock

It started a few weeks ago with 32 teams, then narrowed to four finalists. But only one could win the 11th annual William Blair Investment Banking Case Competition. Seven Miami alumni now working at William Blair came to the Farmer School on Thursday to listen to the final presentations, decide which team did the best work, and perhaps find some future William Blair employees.

The teams of three or four students had been tasked to evaluate the future value and likely buyers of an e-discovery firm, a type of company that finds and stores electronic evidence to be used in criminal or civil cases. Students presented their findings while fielding questions about their decisions and processes from the William Blair representatives.

“We do this for a couple of reasons, one of which is selfish, because it’s a good way to brand William Blair with the school and the finance department,” Britt Trukenbrod, managing director and partner and 1990 finance graduate, told the students. “But as Miami alumnus, it’s also important for us to give back and do something that hopefully students find interesting and challenging, and something they learn from.”

"We know we can't hire everybody, but it's good for us to try to find people to hire, either today or in the future," he remarked.

The winning team consisted of junior Luke Bakies, junior Brett Helsel, senior Bruce O’Toole, and senior Kendall Wolfe, a group in which only Bakies had competed in the case competition before. “Getting the win was very exciting. It was a long way coming, so we’re very happy with our progress and what our team was able to accomplish,” he said.

“It was a foreign subject to me, so being able to learn from my peers and grow my knowledge in investment banking really helped me to grow as a student,” Helsel said. “It’s something I look at now and see as something I might want to pursue as a career.”

“To see the real life application of what they’re learning,” vice president of investment banking and 2006 graduate Darren Bank said. “In class, they learn the various skills and how to do things, but it’s theoretical. Seeing what we do every single day, and how those skills are actually used and are valuable, is the most important thing.”

See more photos from the competition here

Students make final presentation to William Blair executives William Blair executive asks question about a team's findings Student makes final presentation to William Blair executives Winning team talks with Britt Trukenbrod of William Blair