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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Two Marquette investment banking teams in Top 50 Globally

Marquette will be one of the 50 teams represented in the NIBC finalist pool
Marquette’s Teams are in the Top 50 globally. Marquette Wire stock photo.

The National Investment Banking Competition is the biggest student banking competition of its kind globally, attracting over 400 undergraduate and graduate teams from all over the world. The competition allows students to participate in a case study competition, develop their investment banking skills and gain recognition from professionals in the industry. 

For the second year in a row, Marquette will be one of the 50 teams represented in the NIBC finalist pool in Vancouver, Canada. Last year, Marquette’s NIBC team consisted of all upper-level students.

This year, there were originally seven teams and around 20 students with either an Applied Investment Management major or on the pre-AIM track, but now just two teams composed entirely of first-years and sophomores remain.

Competing on “Team Marquette 1” are Jack Ghere, Andrea Kulpins, Allan Fox and Liam Smith. “Team Marquette 4” consists of Mohammed Barkhadle, Kean D’Souza, Cal Kelly and Bennett Barr.

Once registered for the competition, teams were given an investment banking case in December 2023. They were required to prepare a business model and pitch book to submit to NIBC in January, which was then graded on professionalism, aesthetic and viability. Based on those scores, teams then advanced to the final rounds of the competition.

Kean D’Souza, a first-year in the College of Business Administration and member of Team Marquette 4, said he met virtually with his team about 80% of the days over winter break.

“It actually is truthfully pretty hard to get your submission in, especially over the break,” D’Souza said. “I was working on it while on vacation, on the beach just typing away.”

Like D’Souza, Liam Smith, a first-year in the College of Business Administration and member of Team Marquette 1, said he was prepared to work hard to complete the business model and pitch book within the month period. He said his team had meetings at least three times a week for two hours. 

Working with fellow underclassmen aided a lot in the NIBC process, Smith said. He said the bonding team members went through together was what led to their success in the competition. 

D’Souza said both Marquette teams found out Jan. 31 that they would be part of the top 50 NIBC teams advancing to the finals in Vancouver. The final round and conference will take place March 12-15 and allow students to connect with experts in the investment banking world while they await the results of the competition. 

“Just that opportunity to get out there and show that you can do something with the resources you’re given is really cool… a lot of people can do a lot of things, but if they’re not given the opportunity to take the leap, they’ll never be able to do it,” D’Souza said. 

Smith and D’Souza both said they are most excited for the networking experience in Vancouver where they will be able to speak and interview with investment banking professionals.

Matteo Arena, professor and director in the College of Business Administration and advisor to “Team Marquette 1” said the teams should not feel any pressure to advance further in the competition, but any further success would be incredible.

D’Souza said that while his initial goal after joining an NIBC team was just to make it to Vancouver, now his sights are set higher. He said that success should no longer be expected from upper-level and graduate students alone.

“For Marquette to be giving the opportunity to us to go compete against [older teams] is amazing in itself, but then it’s also showing that we can actually go and compete against them,” D’Souza said. 

D’Souza and Smith said Marquette has helped set both competing teams up for success by providing them with countless opportunities at a young age. Smith said this puts them at an advantage because unlike the other NIBC teams comprised mainly of upper-level students, Marquette’s teams will be able to return for several more years. 

“This has distinguished Marquette compared to other similar schools that don’t offer this experience. It’s a unique opportunity and a selling point if you are interested in investment banking. If you come to Marquette, you can be exposed to these kinds of experiences from the get-go and you don’t need to wait a couple of years like most other schools,” Arena said.

While all the work for the competition is done, both of Marquette’s young investment banking teams will still have competitive attitudes when they head to Vancouver in March for the NIBC finals.  

“I feel great knowing that our work was on par with some of the people that are submitting from these prestigious universities like the Harvards, the Ivys and the Oxfords,” Smith said. If we can show that we can compete with them up to this point, there’s no reason why we can’t compete with them to the next point and even maybe win the competition.”

This story was written by Mia Thurrow. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Mia Thurow
Mia Thurow is a first-year student from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin double-majoring in Journalism and Spanish with a minor in Digital Media. She is a Marquette Wire News Reporter for the 2023-2024 school year. In her free time, Mia enjoys cheering on all her favorite sports teams, exploring downtown Milwaukee with friends, and spending time hiking in nature. Mia is excited to meet new people during her time at the Wire and raise awareness of important news stories in the local community.

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