A team of three students from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School competed against students from other top schools in the nation at the third annual Nationwide Fisher Biz Quiz, placing fifth among the 24 teams.

Mays students (left to right) Travis Cocke '09, Austin Carlson '09, and Aaron Wechter '10 placed fifth at the third annual Nationwide Fisher Biz Quiz hosted by The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business.
Mays students (left to right) Travis Cocke ’09, Austin Carlson ’09, and Aaron Wechter ’10 placed fifth at the third annual Nationwide Fisher Biz Quiz hosted by The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.

The Biz Quiz, hosted by The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, tested students on their knowledge of current events as covered by The Wall Street Journal. Each participant was responsible for the information in that publication during a six-week period in October and November. The competition was game show style: before a live audience, students buzzed in when they knew the answers, moving through progressive elimination rounds.

The top spots in the event went to students from Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Minnesota. Teammates Travis Cocke “09, Austin Carlson “09, and Aaron Wechter “10 represented Mays at the school’s first appearance at this competition. The Mays team came in ahead of the top three teams from the 2007 competition, as well as the University of Texas, Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Notre Dame and others. Kris Morley, director of the Mays Business Honors program, Risa Holland, academic advisor, and Kelli Hollinger, assistant director of the Mays Center for Retailing Studies, coached the team.

The three-day event was not only a time to test themselves against their business school peers, the Mays team say they also learned a lot from the experience. “October was an historic month in the markets. That made it even more interesting and educational,” said Cocke. Beyond the facts, they learned that in a national pool, their Mays education had well prepared them to be competitive.

“The three of us were somewhat nervous to see how we would fair against our opponents,” said Wechter. “However, after our first round…we knew that we could hold our ground.” Wechter said the event was also an opportunity for him to represent A&M in a positive light. “Many people had heard of Texas A&M, but did not know who we were and we were about. I feel that we helped establish an identity for a university that the three of us greatly value. More specifically, we displayed the Aggie values of education, camaraderie, and the pursuit of excellence,” he said.

“The most significant take-away from this event has been my increased desire to stay up-to-date with financial markets,” said Carlson. “Even though the competition is over I have still found myself intensely reading The Journal, though now I don’t have to worry quite as much about specific statistics.”

The Biz Quiz was sponsored by Nationwide’s Financial Leadership Rotation Program and The Wall Street Journal.

About the students

Aaron Wechter is a junior accounting major from The Woodlands, Texas. Even when not participating in news competitions, he is an avid reader of The Wall Street Journal and The Economist, and listens to NPR daily.

Wechter is involved in several organizations on campus including Texas A&M Gents, which promotes global service and education. Wechter has served as a peer leader in the Business Honors Program and as the vice president of communication for the Prisoner Entrepreneurship Program chapter at Texas A&M. He plans to go through the Professional Program at Mays (pending acceptance), to earn a master’s of science in finance. After graduation, Wechter hopes to join Teach for America before pursuing a career in business.

Travis Cocke is a senior finance major from The Woodlands, Texas. He teaches a securities analysis workshop for the A&M Investment Club and is actively involved in managing assets for several private partnerships including Vaston Capital Group LLC, a real estate partnership, and Golden Circle Partners, a value equity fund.

This self-described news junkie says he is “very passionate about the stock market, finance, and business in general.” His future plans include hedge fund management.

Austin Carlson is a senior accounting major from Houston, Texas. Carlson has been heavily involved in the A&M Student Senate, where he is the rules and regulations chair and former business caucus leader. He has served as an associate director of REPLANT, an organization that gathers over 1,000 students each year to plant trees in the Bryan/College Station area. Carlson is one of Texas A&M’s University Scholars, a peer leader for Business Honors, and served as president of the Mitte Society at Mays.

Carlson recently interned with the U.S. Department of Justice and volunteers his time at his church, tutoring at a local elementary school, and with Habitat for Humanity in New Zealand.