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UNIBusiness finishes 3rd in Private Business Valuation Challenge

January 13, 2020 - 8:00am
UNIBusiness Editor
Blake Smith, Adam Schmidt, Alex Smith, Levi Workman

Every Monday night for five weeks in the fall, a team of UNIBusiness students gathered with Brett Olsen, associate professor of finance, for up to two hours. The time was spent preparing and crafting a presentation for the upcoming Private Business Valuation Challenge, an international competition that offers a unique opportunity for students to assess the value of public and private companies. 

It was a tough task, considering the students were putting in work on top of their daily academic requirements, but it soon paid off. At the Private Business Valuation Challenge, held by Georgia State University and Business Valuation Resources in Atlanta on Nov. 22-23, the UNIBusiness team of Adam Schmidt, Alex Smith, Blake Smith and Levi Werkman finished in third place against some of the nation’s most esteemed schools. 

“Finance students from UNI can stand toe to toe with any university out there, large and small,” Olsen said. “It is a rigorous competition, testing students' ability in the areas of finance but also communication.”

The case used in the competition was from 2012, so students were tasked with finding data before that date. They evaluated a variety of factors when assessing the company, including management exit strategies, mergers and acquisitions and valuation industry best practices. 

Schmidt (Finance and Business Management, ’20), originally from DeWitt, Iowa, said much of the preparation time was spent finding data from 2012 or before. From there, the team put together a 30-minute presentation to support their valuation decision in front of a panel of expert judges. 

For Schmidt, the competition was similar to the Advanced Financial Management Class he took as a finance major. But this case took things a little bit further. 

“[In the class], we are given a case and have to use specific methods, then present our findings to the class,” Schmidt said. “During the competition, we had a mentor that helped us answer any questions that we had and guided us toward how people in the industry do things. We had a lot more in-depth conversations about things we learned previously in class, and applying it to a real world case was extremely beneficial.”

The team also learned how big of a need there is in the business valuation space. Schmidt said firms, particularly smaller companies, need graduates in the business valuation space. Turnover is high, especially in places like Atlanta, because after a few years, people are recruited by bigger firms. 

“Participating in competitions like this one is a great way to get your foot in the door, if this is an area you want to pursue after graduation,” Schmidt said.


UNIBusiness thanks the those who donate to the Dean's Fund for Excellence. Funds raised help pay for student organization competitions, global experiences and professional credential education.


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