First ever Investment Banking Case Study comes to Baruch
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 14, 2012 20:05
Baruch College’s Finance and Economics Society (FES) hosted their first ever Investment Banking Case Study Competition on Tuesday, April 17th.
The competition commenced three weeks ago on Thursday, March 30th when the applications from the interested participants were due. Over half of the applications that FES received were from non-members. FES received approximately 70 applicants out of which eleven groups were formed.
Baruch FES is a professional development organization that equips students with the essential tools to exceed in careers in the financial industry and was chartered at Baruch in the 1930s.
These participants were given webinars on how to do a Pitchbook, how to Present and how to choose comparable companies. They were also informed on the different resources that Baruch Library offers.
After weekly phone-calls with each group assessing their progress, FES’ Executive Board narrowed down the teams to eight and finally, after spring break to the top four.
The top four teams, teams F, D, G and J, received the luxury and opportunity to present their acquisition pitch to the judges.
“Only the teams that were the best formatted executive summaries, who submitted their work in a timely manner and showed good progress with each periodic phone call were promoted to the third and final round,” said Greg Dutov, President of the Finance and Economics Society at Baruch.
The judge panel was made up of professionals from various backgrounds. Professor Radhika Jain brought in her background in economics logistics to assess industry factors and macroeconomic viewpoints with her business process integration, IT outsourcing, crowdsourcing, and agile software development.
She is currently an assistant professor for Statistics and Computer Information Systems Departments at the Zicklin School of Business of Baruch College.
Professor Alan Rosenbloom, a Baruch college Zicklin Business School professor and licensed NY Bar lawyer has had a great deal of experience in holding and judging case studies at Baruch College. There were also two past Finance and Economics Society Alumni in the Panel.
Scott Topiel, a Baruch College Finance 2009 Alum who is now working in investment banking at Barclays and Ilir Hasi who graduated from Baruch College as a finance major and is now in investment banking at BMO.
Each team was tasked with recommending an acquisition for Conagra Foods Inc. Conagra Foods is a health conscious Consumer Foods and Commercial Foods conglomerate. It’s consumer foods are found in 97 percent of America’s households, and 25 of them are ranked first or second in their category.
FES picked Conagra Foods because “we saw that food companies were interesting, and Conagra was the most acquisitive food company in the news. It had recently tried to acquire a $5 Billion Private Label food maker- Ralcorp. Private label foods are a similar concept to generic medication- cheaper with no brand name. Just as generic medication, Private Label’s have been doing really well during the recession and Conagra has been trying to acquire companies smaller than them ever since due to the growth in the industry,” said Dutov.
Each team had 15 minutes to present their case and reasoning and 10 minutes to answer the judges grueling questions. In one instance Hasi pointed out that a group was using three different metrics for revenue throughout their slides and even took out his phone to correct the group. Yet, the group took the questioning well by knowing their report and research like the back of their hand. This group truly demonstrated through the audiences’ and judges’ eyes to know Conagra, the company they wished to acquire and the exact details of the transaction to the point that won the case study competition; that team was Team D.
The judges based their decision on: presentation skills, content of pitchbook, feasibility of recommendation, answering of questions and team contribution.
Team D was made up of three finance major juniors: Zhi Yang Yu, Matthew Croft and Marcelo Saravia. They ended up choosing to acquire Inventure Foods Inc. based on their SWOT analysis, Conagra’s market trend of buying small snack commercial food brands over the last year and, most importantly, price feasibility that abided by government antitrust regulations.