MBA team takes first at ACG competition



Alexandra Cihlar

Kent State’s Master’s of Business Administration team took home the grand prize in the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Competition Jan. 25 at the Union Club in Cleveland. The regional competition’s case focused on mergers and acquisitions (M&As).

The team, which included Josh Hostetler, Brad Neumann, Frank Russ and Kaushik Saha, competed against teams from Cleveland State, Baldwin Wallace and Case Western Reserve.

Neumann said he is proud to be part of Kent State’s first MBA team to take home this prize.

“The success of all of the case competition teams from our MBA program has proven that a Kent State education is nothing to be underestimated,” Neumann said. “I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from my teammates, peers, and professors, and I attribute any current and future success to their help and guidance along the way.”

Neumann and his other team members are all second-year MBA students and plan to graduate in May. Both Hostetler and Neumann were previously part of the MBA team that competed in the John Molson MBA Case Competition earlier this year.

The group prepared for this competition with the MBA coursework they have done within the past year and half. However, once they received their case, a week before the competition, no one was allowed to assist them, not even Doug Lightner, instructor in Kent State’s MBA program and the team’s coach.

According to Jaume Franquesa, Ph.D., Kent State’s MBA program director, the group had to analyze a case and present their implementation plan and how they would fund it to a panel of judges. Judges included ACG members and board members.

“I’m very excited about our win because it’s a confirmation that all of the efforts we’ve made in the program for the past two years are working,” Franquesa said. “Students are not just learning concepts, they’re applying them; they are doing things.”

The team received the ACG Cup at the ACG’s Deal Maker Awards where more than 700 professionals were in attendance, along with the judging panel from the competition.

“This was a great opportunity for students to network with leaders in the Northeast Ohio deal community,” Tod Wagner, ACG Competition coordinator, said.

All of the team members won an all-expenses paid trip to Orlando, Fla. for the ACG Global Conference that will take place in April.

Another MBA team will compete in the Key Bank Competition later this month.

Contact Alexandra Cihlar at [email protected].