GVSU graduate students take first place, win $6,000 in ACG Cup

Drew Schertzer

Headline: GV grad students take first place, win $6,000 in ACG Cup

By: Drew Schertzer

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It can be a challenge for Grand Valley State University students to juggle everything in their schedules as they approach finishing graduate school. It’s even tougher to do so while working on an extensive case study on the side. 

But for Robert Walmsley, Brent Pelishek and Russ Duba, three GVSU graduate students, the challenge was accepted. The group managed to take first place in the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Cup for the Western Michigan chapter, earning $6,000 collectively.

The ACG Cup is a case study competition that allows undergraduate and MBA students to work to craft strategies for addressing issues in the business world. During this competition, students form teams and are given a case study that reflects a real-world problem. These problems revolve around mergers and acquisitions, banking, equity and more.

“Winning felt great,” Duba said. “It really validated the hard work we put into it in the months of preparing.”

For four months, Duba and his team prepared for a presentation that would last 20 minutes. They met with Paul Mudde, associate professor of management in the Seidman College of Business, on numerous occasions. During these meetings, the team obtained the foundational information and initial boost they would need to formulate their ideas. Duba said the team brainstormed and worked in different sessions in preparation for the day of the event.

The final round of the competition was held Saturday, Feb. 25. Teams from GVSU, Western Michigan University, Michigan State University and other colleges gathered to compete. Each had been practicing their presentations in preparation for this final round.

The MBA students were allowed to randomly select what time of day they would present. Duba said his team had to give one of the last presentations, so they had to wait around most of the day. Duba said this helped give his group members time to perfect their presentation.

Pelishek attributed a big part of the team’s success to Mudde. He said Mudde facilitated their learning and let them know what to expect in the competition. Pelishek believes the knowledge Mudde gave his team, along with hard work, allowed the team to obtain first place.

“The feeling is unbelievable being on stage with the anticipation from the previous months building up,” Pelishek said. “We didn’t find out for a month if we had won, but when we finally did, it was just a phenomenal feeling.”

Pelishek said the ACG did a good job of bringing in experts from the business world and that he learned a lot about what goes into buying a business.

The winning team of the ACG Cup was announced Tuesday, March 21, at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. The best undergraduate team received $3,000, and the best graduate team won $6,000.