Wake Forest MBA Team Wins American Financial Services Association Competition

2.8.2012 General, News Release

LAS VEGAS – Three MBA students at Wake Forest University Schools of Business won first place in the American Financial Services Association competition held in Las Vegas on Feb. 2.

Julie Almendral (MBA ’12), Brandon Belk (MBA ’12) and Mary Beth Watson (MBA ’12) earned a $10,000 prize for their winning strategy to successfully market Automotive Financing to Generation Y.

The students presented to approximately 200 people at the Vehicle Finance Conference who voted on the winner. Attendees included executives from GM, Mercedes Benz and various banks and financial institutions. The Wake Forest MBA team competed against team of PhD in Consumer Behavior candidates from the University of Arizona.

“Overall, it was a fantastic experience and we were honored to have the opportunity to represent Wake Forest Schools of Business in front of many executives from top global companies,” said Belk.

“The best part of this competition was the highly positive, enthusiastic response we received from many of the attendees of the conference,” said Almendral. “Our team received great feedback, on both our presentation skills and our insights. Several audience members said they intended to implement some of our recommendations, which made us feel like we made a significant impact.”

Almendral notes that none of the members of the Wake Forest MBA team had much exposure to the vehicle finance industry prior to this project.

“I'm sure we'll all make very informed decisions the next time we buy or lease a car,” she said.

“Transferring our knowledge from academia to the real world was an extremely rewarding experience that I will benefit from in my professional life for years to come, added Watson.