CMU student team wins finance competition

Competitors included institutions from four states

| Author: CBANews

A team of Central Michigan University finance students made history by becoming the first team in school history to win first place at the ACG Cup, Michigan’s largest intercollegiate finance competition.

The team of Lucy Forlastro, Corinne Sleeter, Jackson Raymond and Carolina Hernandez Ruiz received $6,000 in prize money.

ACG Cup winning team (L to R) Lucy Forlastro, Jackson Raymond, Carolina Hernandez Ruiz and Corinne Sleeter. They are professionally dressed, wearing their new medals, and holding the ACG Cup in front of the ACG Banner.
Cup winning team (L to R) Lucy Forlastro, Jackson Raymond, Carolina Hernandez Ruiz and Corinne Sleeter

Two other CMU teams, comprised of Spencer Messina, Tyler Ozanich, Mark-Allen Gay, Ryan Hampton, Bradley Berk, Joshua DuCharme, Derek Ballas and James Strahan, also were finalists in the competition. CMU took five teams to the competition.

The ACG Cup was hosted on Feb. 24 by ACG's Western Michigan Chapter at Grand Valley State University and included 29 teams from Michigan, Illinois, New York and California.

Forlastro, a junior from Port Huron studying accounting and finance, said there is nothing quite like competitions such as the ACG Cup in preparing her for her future career.

“The ACG Cup, as well as other competitions that I have participated in, provides an unparalleled learning curve in finance,” she said. “These competitions allow me to take the knowledge I have learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world situations, presenting in front of real-world professionals.”

Brad Taylor, the Magnusson Director of CMU’s Michigan Finance Scholars program and Campbell Endowed Professor, said students gain skills and contacts through the competition.

“The ACG Cup is fantastic for the development of our students,” he said. “It provides a platform for them to analyze business cases and present their findings in a real-world context. They then receive feedback from and network with business leaders, which is invaluable for their future careers.”

Taylor said experiential learning opportunities such as the ACG Cup change the lives of CMU students. 

“Many are first-generation, some have never traveled outside the state or been on a plane,” Taylor said. “We have incredibly supportive alumni who see the value of experiences such as this and help make them possible for our students through invitations to visit their places of business and generous donations.”

A picture of the five teams from CMU competed in the 2024 ACG Cup in Grand Rapids. They are professionally dressed and standing as a group in a boardroom.
Five teams from CMU competed in the 2024 ACG Cup in Grand Rapids

Raymond, a sophomore from Gladwin studying entrepreneurship and finance, said participating in the ACG Cup was a truly remarkable experience.

“I have not only learned so much about finance and other aspects of business but also how to create and execute a good pitch in front of highly knowledgeable individuals,” he said. “With a very supportive and helpful team by my side, we were able to come out with the win and create a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life!”

According to its website, ACG — Association for Corporate Growth — is the premier mergers and acquisitions deal-making community with a mission of driving middle-market growth.

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