Goldman Sachs Challenges Students to Make Change Recommendations for Madison Square Garden

Whitman finance students David Kern ’15, Scott Rebhun ’15, Dylan Weinberger ’16 and Austin Wentworth ’15 were selected for a Consurtio pilot project sponsored by Goldman Sachs. The charge was to make a recommendation on a real-world business scenario involving Madison Square Garden (MSG), which is not performing as efficiently as possible in its current state. Students were asked to review a potential breakup of MSG’s sports, entertainment and media segments into separate companies. The team prepared a written analysis and presented its findings and recommendations to Goldman Sachs VP Mike Kenworthy.

“The students were given the invaluable opportunity to gain an understanding of when status quo in the business world needs to be challenged,” said Whitman Finance Professor Jim Seward, who mentored the student team. “They learned that simply recognizing when change is imperative is just the beginning of the process. They practiced the critical skill of advising clients regarding their change choices and how best to change direction.”

The team proposed that the media segment should be separated from MSG in a spin-off transaction, allowing for more effective operation of the sports and entertainment businesses. The recommendation was the result of significant hours and efforts. “Collaboration was not only encouraged, it was essential,” said Weinberger. “From the start, Professor Seward’s message was to make our proposal our own, to stand by it and be confident with our recommendations. He guided us in formulating a clear and concise story and prepared us for potential questions and roadblocks we might encounter while presenting. The industry knowledge and universally applicable skills we developed illustrate the value of experimental learning.”

Kenworthy was impressed by the recommendations and by the team’s delivery. “The project offered students a fantastic opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and see how the concepts would play out on the job in a real-world context,” he said. “I could not have been more impressed with the depth of analysis, thoroughly developed recommendations and hard work the students put forth.”