For more than ten years, Mays Business School has been coaching and guiding Aggies through the unique world of mergers and acquisitions through the innovative high-caliber class, “Dealmakers in Mergers and Acquisitions.” The class, the students, the faculty, and the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) sponsors work together to showcase Mays Business School to the business world, and how Mays graduates are helping to lead the future of developing transaction professionals.
Dealmakers in M&A is the next step in innovative learning, both at Mays and in the country. Active real-word M&A professionals from leading private equity firms, credit firms and corporations around the nation lead students in team competitions, class lectures and discussions, and case studies on real-world deals. Dealmakers encourage students to be creative and authentic in their thinking and performance, learning to deal with ambiguity and take risks so that they hit the ground running when they land in the post-graduate world. Not only do students get to work on real transactions, but they are also able to work in a diverse, cross-functional team of undergraduate, Professional Program in Accounting (PPA) and graduate students to meet their learning goals.
Dealmakers is not just another class or curriculum requirement. Selected students must weather an extensive application process to demonstrate their ambition, ability, and interest in M&A. Each Fall, Dealmakers invites 30-35 high-performing Mays undergraduate and graduate students with a particular interest in investment banking, private equity, corporate M&A, transaction consulting or other M&A and transaction-related professional services to step outside their comfort zone and stretch themselves intellectually and interpersonally. The purposeful inclusion of diverse student backgrounds, work experiences and academic majors drawn from across Mays ensures the uniqueness and real-world perspective of the class while forming the next generation of M&A professionals.
This class and these students are unlike any other business-related class in the country. So, what makes the class special? Drew Koecher ‘88, the class’ founder and Managing Director at Houlihan Lokey, stated that “We teach the students to work with ambiguity, uncertainty and real-world M&A conditions; we translate academics to application through the lens of the nation’s leading M&A practitioners– that’s what we do.” Encouraging the students to think outside of the classroom by placing them in a competitive, high-intensity transaction world where there is market inefficiency and things move at deal speed allows them to reach further and prepares them for what to expect in their future careers.
Dealmakers specialize in authenticity; each group of students brings something new to the table each Fall semester, and each guest M&A professional has a different story to tell and case to share, with a one-of-a-kind hands-on learning experience. William Davenport ‘93, the CFO of Topgolf, is a returning speaker to this classroom, bringing the company’s closed cases for students to practice on and think beyond the boundaries of a classroom. After all, the students are what make the class different. As Davenport described, “They all just seem to have high integrity. They all work hard, and this class requires them to work very quickly. And as a group, they all support and learn from each other.” With an unparalleled student-caliber class drawn from across Mays, Dealmakers like William continue to set Mays students up for success in the professional world of M&A.
Students walk out of this classroom prepared, excited, and eager to start a career in M&A – the vast majority landing in marquee investment banks and M&A advisory firms. Along with Houlihan Lokey as a participating firm and the leading employer of Dealmakers graduates, global investment firms and companies such as Stone Point Capital, The Sterling Group, Fortress, Audax, HollyFrontier, EQT, Partners Group, Dynegy, and many more, are involved in helping students prepare for and navigate the professional M&A world. Mays 2018 graduate, Courtney Nutting, jumped into M&A directly after graduation and is grateful for what Dealmakers taught her. She expressed that, “The Dealmakers class can give you as much as you put into it, and from my experience, it has given me the most out of any other “High-Impact Program” in Mays. Following Dealmakers, I was able to leverage my experiences from the course in interviews, which ultimately landed me a full-time job at a Private Equity shop in Denver.” Dealmakers put in the work for their students, and they return the favor to make Mays and Texas A&M more proud than ever. Courtney has continued the circle of learning as she is repeat Dealmaker case presenter and champion of Mays students in the private equity community.
Dealmakers is leading the next generation of M&A professionals, setting itself apart from other business-led classes around the country and with it, is driving Mays to the forefront of market-based progressive learning. Sean Murphy ’96, the class’ co-founder and a Managing Director at Houlihan Lokey tells each class at the outset, “This will be the most challenging course you take at Texas A&M, but the personal growth you earn and the real-world experience you gain repays your efforts exponentially.”
To apply to become a Dealmakers student or to find more information about the program, please visit https://mays.tamu.edu/department-of-accounting/dealmakers-in-mergers-and-acquisitions/.