On Sunday March 19, the Student Management Association will hold the first ever UTM Finance Cup. Tailored towards the finance realm of business, participants will analyze a case study involving mergers and acquisitions, and present their analysis to a panel of judges featuring representatives from large companies like RBC and CIBC.

The SMA, an academic society that acts as an extension of the Institute for Management and Innovation, attempts to provide their students with events catered to their business needs. The UTM Finance Cup is the newest addition to the list of events the association holds, including networking events, mentorships, and mock interviews.

“As an academic society, we strive to put up the best opportunities for our students for their professional development, so that we can bridge the gap between the professional world and academia,” says Raymond Jr. Tang, a fourth-year BBA management student and SMA Finance director.

To strengthen the sense of competition, students from other universities can attend this UTM-based business event. On the day of the competition, teams ranging between three to four members will receive their case study and are given two and a half to three hours to analyze the case and create their presentation. Contestants are free to use the internet and bring in templates to aid in their preparation.

In the case study, teams will have to choose an initial company and a target company, and build a strategy to either merge or acquire them both.

“They’ll answer specific questions like, ‘What does the corporate strategy look like,’ ‘Where are you going to take the company onwards,’ and ‘What would you do with the cash balances,’—all in the face of a business crisis sprung on them the day of,” Tang says.

After the analysis period, the teams will present their study in front of judges. From there, a scheduled lunch doubles as a networking opportunity, allowing participants to speak with industry employees to gain feedback on their performances and implement improvements into their presentations. In the afternoon, senior level judges, who are representatives with higher level positions within their companies, will come to judge the highest four scored teams. The winner is announced and receives a trophy and cash prize.

So, what makes the UTM Finance Cup different from other business case competitions? Tang explains that their focus for this event was to highlight the finance and accounting talent within the UTM community. Traditionally, finance and accounting students would have to venture to Waterloo, Guelph, St. George, or even Queens to experience this merger and acquisition style of competition.

“We have a marketing competition called ‘Ready, Set, Market’ at UTM, but we also have a large population of finance and accounting students. You can’t really neglect their skillset, and as the Student Management Association, we feel that it is our duty to actually speak for them, be their voice, and provide something that is really in tune with what they’re learning,” Tang explains.

Tang believes that if UTM students have the capacity to go forward to showcase their skills at other university campuses, then having them compete on home soil in a familiar setting will benefit them even more.

“There’s always a marketing case competition, there’s also the stock trading competition, but that’s a totally different side of financing. Seeing equities is like observing something that already happened in the market, that’s just seeing the after effects of a business,” Tang says.

“When do we give students a chance firsthand to derive the direction of a company in terms of merges and acquisitions? It’s taking this holistic view on finance as a whole, because you’re considering many factors, like the history of the company and the current assets. So it’s more like driving the company forward, rather than, in the stock competition, analyzing the after effects.”

The goal of the UTM Finance Cup is to reveal the talent of UTM students to external representatives from large companies. Students who are not in marketing need a case competition designed for their core competency. This event hopes to make that accessible to students of all years, in all programs, while still providing some degree of complexity.

“Our slogan for [the event] is ‘become recognized, gain prestige’ because it’s the inaugural edition. It doesn’t matter how you approach the case, everyone can have their own spin on it— it’s just that you analyze it thoroughly and consider all factors,” Tang says. “It should be a well-rounded approach to analyzing something, not just one specific facet of the company.”

Early bird tickets for the event are being sold for $30 for UTM students and $35 for external participants. Contestants will battle for first place in UTM’s Finance Cup on March 19 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.