For the first time, a team of Columbia MBA students won the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Corporate Restructuring Competition, which was held November 4 at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
The competition provides students from 12 top MBA programs with the opportunity to solve a real-world restructuring case problem. The students have a week to prepare comprehensive presentations showing their operational and financial plans before panels of judges representing a mock board of directors and bondholders.
This year’s case, which is available online, focused on Medford Lumber Company and the timber industry. The winning team — Kevin Van Dam ’11, Patrick Carey ’11, Stephen Kavulich ’11, and Edward Martin ’11 — competed against students from schools including Harvard Business School, New York University’s Stern School of Business, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. As the winners, the students will share a $6,000 cash prize.
“Our team worked well together and each person played a very active role in creating our proposal," said Carey. “We met over the course of the week leading up to the competition, first focusing on the numbers and then on the details of our restructuring proposal. By focusing all constituencies on the risks in bankruptcy court, we were able to convince all debtholders that an out-of-court solution was in everyone’s best interest.”
As part of the event, participants also attended a sponsored networking cocktail reception and dinner, which this year featured keynote speakers David A. Skeel, a former ABI Scholar, and S. Samuel Arsht, a professor of corporate law at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.
The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) and Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management cosponsor the competition. ABI is the largest multidisciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency.