SBPM student wins $10,000 MBA award

Brad Keare, a second-year MBA student at the School of Business and Public Management, won this year’s $10,000 Bernard J. Nees/Washington Mutual Investors Fund Award. Keare will receive the award at the SBPM graduation ceremony May 20, 2000.

The department of finance holds the award competition annually.

To be eligible, a student must be in their final semester in the MBA program with a concentration in finance and rank in the top 20 percent of the MBA class.

Neil Cohen, associate professor of finance, organized the competition, based on a case study addressing the rumored hostile buy-out of General Motors Corporation by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and the News Corporation.

Students were told to pretend they were an adviser to Murdoch and should recommend how the hostile takeover should be mounted, the structure of financing and the exit-strategy.

The report is a sales document, to convince Rupert or a shareholder, Cohen said.

The case study was released April 8 and written evaluations were due the following Tuesday. On Thursday the judges announced the three finalists, who then made an oral presentation Saturday. Following the presentations the judges deliberated for a half-hour and announced Keare the winner.

Although about two dozen students were eligible to compete in the competition, only nine students submitted case studies.

The other two finalists, Urairat Lieoprasertporn and David Malmgren, presented strong arguments, but Keare’s was strongest, Cohen said.

More bases were covered, (his report had) more breadth and depth and (Keare was) more prepared to answer the questions the judges posed, Cohen said.

Keare’s case study focused on the division of Hughes Electronics within GM which he said is one of the industry leaders in satellite communication technology. He recommended that News Corporation should acquire all of GM, retain the satellite technology division and immediately start looking for a partner to absorb the automotive and financial sections of the corporation.

Keare said Murdoch would be able to acquire the Hughes division of GM at almost $18 million below market value if he followed his plan.

Keare graduated from the University of Michigan in 1992 with a degree in history and entered the SBPM master’s program full-time in 1998.

Keare said he did some accounting work at Crate and Barrel, but had no real institutional finance background before entering the MBA program. He works about 20 hours a week in the finance and accounting department of Washington Sport and Entertainment, the company that owns the MCI Center, the Washington Wizards and the Washington Mystics.

Keare is in second-round interviews with MicroStrategy, a company located in Northern Virginia that develops software. In addition, he is developing a business plan to integrate more technology into the sporting industry, he said.

Keare added that he is not yet sure what he will do with the award money.

I was planning on travelling a little after graduation, but I haven’t earmarked that money to go to something specific, he said.

Cohen said he is convinced of Keare’s future success.

(He’s) got the scent of success on him, he said.

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