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NYU Business School Wins Corporate Restructuring Competition


Nov. 22, 2005 ALEXANDRIA, Va.--The Stern Graduate School of Business of New York University won the Second Annual American Bankruptcy Institute /Houlihan Lokey Corporate Restructuring Competition last week, defeating 11 other top business schools to win the Bettina M. Whyte trophy and $5,000 in prize money.

“We were all impressed with the energy and creativity each of the teams brought to what was an extraordinarily challenging case study. The students’ enthusiasm for the project was infectious, and it was a pleasure for us to sponsor the event,” said Jeffrey I. Werbalowsky of Houlihan Lokey Howard and Zukin.

The weekend event was held at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Ill. Finishing second this year was last year’s champion, Stanford University (Sloan Graduate School of Business). The third-place team was the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia; the Kellogg School finished fourth. Each of the four schools earned crystal trophies for their schools and cash awards for the individual team members. The first-place trophy is named for ABI’s past president and current chair, who is a managing partner at AlixPartners LLP.

Other top-rated schools competing were the University of Michigan (Ross School of Business), Duke University (Fuqua School of Business), Columbia University Business School, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, University of California-Berkeley (Haas School of Business), Yale University School of Management and University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business).

The competition provides second-year students with a unique opportunity to learn by solving a real-world restructuring case problem. The students had a week to “solve” the problem and prepare comprehensive presentations showing their operational and financial plans before panels of judges representing senior company management and bondholders, with a final round before a mock board of directors. The judges were all experienced professionals at some of the top restructuring and financial firms in the country, including Fred Caruso (Development Specialists Inc.), Nancy Ross (High Ridge Partners), David Shapiro (LaSalle Bank), Anthony Schnelling (Bridge Associates), Renee Rempe (Antares Capital), Brian Schinderle (Wolf Point Capital), Rebecca Roof (AlixPartners), Philip Van Winkle (Giuliani Capital Advisors), R. Bruce Blackwell (MBIA Insurance Corp.), Jon Nash (Corporate Revitalization Partners), David Heller (Delaware Street Capital), Jeffrey Werbalowsky (Houlihan Lokey), Melissa Kibler Knoll (Mesirow Financial), Thomas Morrow (AlixPartners) and Henry Ritter (Moglia Associates). The final round judges were Chuck Cremens (Conseco Financial), Sandy McNally (Hammond Kennedy Whitney & Co.) and Georgia Nelson (Cummins Engine & Tower Automotive board member), along with Becky Roof and Jeff Werbalowsky. Geoff Richards of Kirkland & Ellis (Chicago) prepared a series of papers to help the students understand the legal issues involved in the case, including lease rejection, labor contract rejection and the zone of insolvency.

Kathleen Ligocki, a veteran restructuring professional involved in the auto industry and now the president and CEO of Tower Automotive, presented the keynote dinner address before the students, judges and a group of Chicago-area ABI members.

Matthew R. Niemann, the managing director of Houlihan Lokey and a key organizer of the event, praised the students’ preparation, execution and poise under real-world pressure. ‘This year’s problem was especially challenging, but the students did an excellent job under deadline pressure, demonstrating the kind of skills that will serve them well in the future.”

ABI leadership in attendance included President John D. Penn and President-Elect Judge Wesley Steen, in addition to former President Bettina Whyte. Judge Steen presented a $10,000 gift to the Kellogg School from the ABI endowment in recognition of the school’s commitment to the success of this first-rate competition.


The American Bankruptcy Institute is the largest multi-disciplinary, non-partisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes more than 11,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit For additional conference information, visit


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