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Darden Team Takes Top Prize at National Energy Finance Challenge

By Brett Twitty-
darden-team-takes-top-prize-at-national-energy-finance-challenge

A team of First Year MBA students representing the Darden Energy Club claimed first place and $10,000 in the 14th annual National Energy Finance Challenge hosted by the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin. Texas McCombs and Dartmouth Tuck finished in second and third place, respectively. Northwestern Kellogg, Cornell Johnson, UNC Kenan-Flagler, among others, fielded teams, in a gathering of many of the country’s top business schools.

The Darden team, including Class of 2020 members Daniel Aycock, Davis Miller, Winnie Warner, Ryan Tully and Shea Smith (pictured left to right), had three days to analyze the opportunity for a fictional integrated oil company (IOC) to invest in the recently liberalized Mexican market.

The team was tasked with building detailed financial models, summarizing their recommendations in the form of a presentation, and flying to Austin to deliver the presentation over two rounds to a panel of judges — all while juggling first quarter exams at Darden. Judges included senior executives from across the energy finance industry, including Chevron (the lead sponsor and case writer), ExxonMobil, Wells Fargo, GE Capital, Lazard, and ScotiaBank.

When asked about the Darden team’s competitive advantage, team member Daniel Aycock noted:

“Even though we are all First Year students, we analyze multiple case studies every day in class, and this enabled us to approach the problem robustly despite the tight deadline. We leveraged the diverse professional backgrounds on our team to deliver a comprehensive solution demonstrating knowledge of the energy industry, financial modeling skill and a holistic understanding of the strategic and operational risks inherent in the case. We also showcased the ability to think on our feet and handle challenging Q&A with composure.”

The Darden Energy Club connects members of the Darden community with the resources, advice and contacts to learn about the energy industry and successfully pursue a career in traditional or new energy sources. The Energy Club achieves its goals through access to speakers, networking opportunities, case competitions, recruiting support and industry primers.

UVA has a long tradition of student self-governance and students direct much of the extracurricular programming at the Darden School. For more about this club, as well as other student organizations, be sure to check out our student clubs webpage.