Each fall for the last four years, the “Dealmakers in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)” course has provided high-performing Mays Business School students a unique opportunity to be immersed in the world of mergers and acquisitions.

In this highly competitive and innovative program, select MBA, Professional Program in Accounting and undergraduate students learn the real-world dynamics of corporate and financial mergers and acquisitions from experienced M&A professionals in a fast paced environment. M&A leaders from around the country serve as guest lecturers, leading students in dynamic role plays, class discussions, case studies and team competitions on actual deals.

The course uses actual completed transactions to address a variety of topics, including finding the right deal, applying valuation methods and techniques, determining deal pricing, financing and capital structure, developing negotiation skills, evaluating contracts and deal memoranda and identifying diligence issues.

The program was founded by Mays alumni and M&A professional Drew Koecher ’88 who envisioned a professionally led case study program to give Texas A&M students exposure to, and a competitive edge in, the M&A disciplines of investment banking, transaction advisory, private equity and corporate deal making. Working closely with Mays Accounting Professor and Department Head James Benjamin, Koecher developed the course, which was launched in the fall of 2013.

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(pictured: Drew Koecher, Sean Murphy, Tim Torno and Larry Gies)

After the inaugural year, Sean Murphy ’94, also a Mays alumni and M&A professional, assumed leadership of the class, and along with Koecher, strengthened the course by welcoming Tim Torno as executive professor, and introducing a new group of M&A leaders as guest lecturers at Mays. Torno has more than 35 years of successful executive-level business experience, including 25 M&A transactions while he was a chief financial officer.

“This is the type of high impact, hands-on opportunity that we try to provide for our high-achieving students in Mays,” Benjamin said. “The innovative style of team role play with actual case studies led by practicing M&A leaders, together with the academic stewardship of Tim Torno, is truly unique at Mays and among most business programs. I am confident that this course will continue to meaningfully impact the lives and professional careers of our students.”

Koecher and Murphy continue to be intimately involved in the program, leading classes and hosting M&A professionals from around the country as case presenters. Selected presenters have included:

Larry Gies, founder and CEO of Madison Capital Partners;

Kent Wallace, partner of The Sterling Group;

 Tom Keene, founder of Southlake Equity;

– Mark Miller, CFO of Sabre and ActiveNetworks;

Doug Aaron, CFO of HollyFrontier;

Jeff Hull, managing partner of Highlander Capital;

Mark Dufilho, managing director of corporate finance, Houlihan & Lokey;

 Francis Carr, managing director of The Sterling Group;

– P. Scott Ozanus, deputy chairman of KPMG;

Joe Colonnetta, partner, HBC Investments;

Carolyn Burke, chief integration officer of Dynegy

Gies had this to say about his experience with Mays’ Dealmakers program: “Imagine working on a real deal in an auction environment with teams valuing, strategizing and bidding to try to win the prize. This was the environment in our classroom at Texas A&M. The students I encountered in this class during my two years were so incredibly impressive and resourceful; I would hire any one of them to help me build a business.”

Students interested in investment banking, corporate M&A, private equity, transaction consulting or other investment and/or transaction professional services roles are encouraged to apply. Standout qualities for applicants include strong academic performance, leadership skills, meaningful classroom involvements and a commitment to move outside one’s comfort zone in a challenging, fast-pace team environment.

For more information about the program, visit https://mays.tamu.edu/department-of-accounting/dealmakers-in-mergers-and-acquisitions/