Mergers and acquisitions.

Cambridge Judge students win second place in global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) competition

9 November 2023

The article at a glance

The third annual Global Mergers and Acquisitions Challenge, hosted by the Master of Finance (MFin) programme at Cambridge Judge Business School, mixes M&A strategies with networking to bridge academia with the professional world.

Teams from Imperial College Business School, Cambridge Judge Business School and London Business School took the top 3 places at the event held at the Royal Society in London on 2 November.

Attended by more than 200 people, the final was hosted by the Cambridge Master of Finance (MFin) degree programme at Cambridge Judge Business School, in collaboration with the Cambridge Venture Capital & Private Equity Society and the Student Club Network.

Major finance firms provided training to the teams before the final pitch

The grand finale of the competition saw 5 finalist groups showcasing their M&A strategies to a judging panel that included:

  • Dr Mohamed A El-Erian, President of Queens’ College, Cambridge, and founding donor of the El-Erian Institute of Behavioural Economics and Policy at Cambridge Judge
  • Ross Hamilton, Managing Director of Partners Group
  • Luigi Rizzo, Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley
  • Gabrielle Dale, Managing Director of Blackstone
  • Jean-Philippe Verdier, Founding Partner of Verdier & Co.

The event was sponsored by Blackstone, CVC Capital Partners, Partners Group and Verdier & Co. The sponsors conducted networking and teaching sessions with all the students prior to the final pitching session.

Marwa Hammam, MFin Executive Director image

The Challenge promotes gender equality and sustainability in finance while connecting students with leaders in the finance industry.

Marwa Hammam, MFin Executive Director

“The Global M&A challenge brings together students from around the world to showcase their M&A strategies and network with leaders in the finance community,” says Marwa Hammam, Director of the MFin programme at Cambridge Judge. “The competition draws a very diverse range of students, and the Challenge promotes gender equality and sustainability in finance while connecting students with leaders in the finance industry.”

Adds the founder of the Global M&A Challenge, Marina Lirintzi, a PhD student in Genomic Medicine at Queens’ College, Cambridge: “This project aims to bridge the gap between academia and the professional world. The Challenge equips participants with insights into the mechanics of mergers and acquisitions, while emphasising the importance of equal representation and sustainability. The sponsors were very impressed by the quality of the presentations and how they addressed ESG (equality, social and governance) issues as they relate to M&A.”

A global competition attracting entries from 120 universities around the world

The competition attracted 1,080 student registrations from more than 120 universities around the world, with 42% female representation (each 4-person team must include at least one woman). While many participating students are in the finance sector, many other areas were also represented including law, the natural sciences, technology and engineering.


The winning entry, from a team at Imperial Business School, focused on a metal recycling firm benefitting from “strong secular tailwinds”. The Imperial students said the firm is substantially undervalued and should be taken private.


The second-place entry, from a team of MBA students from Cambridge Judge Business School, focused on a semiconductor firm. The entry said the firm was an “undervalued hidden champion” that is “ideally positioned in the highly attractive and fragmented automotive semiconductor niche”.


In third place was an entry by a London Business School team that focused on a specialised cancer care firm that has shifted its focus to driving more recurring revenue through software and solutions-as-a-service (SSaaS) offerings.

The Cambridge Judge students who submitted the second-place entry were MBA Class of 2023/24 Marius Becker, Kaviraj Singh Khurana, Gabriela Nainggolan and William Carew-Jones. Among those attending the event were Gishan Dissainaike, Interim Dean of Cambridge Judge, and a number of Cambridge Judge MFin alumni.

How pitching at the Challenge provides immersive investment experience

“The event is really impressive because students get a hands-on investment experience by going through the entire investment life cycle – including sourcing deals, building an LBO (leveraged buyout) model and presenting it,” says Isabelle Hupez, an MFin graduate from Cambridge Judge (MFin 2021) whose team placed second in the first Global M&A Challenge 2 years ago.

“Students get to dive into the deep end and that’s what makes it so valuable,” says Isabelle, who now works as an M&A analyst at competition sponsors Verdier & Co. in London, focusing on technology including clean tech and regenerative agriculture. “You have to think it through and collaborate, and you build learning experience from your teammates who may have had valuable experience.”