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Five Howard University students won the grand prize of $1 million at the Goldman Sachs Market Madness: HBCU Possibilities Case Study Competition. The team consisted of sophomore computer information systems major Corine Houngninou, sophomore finance major Jaiden Coleman, freshman history major JD Jean-Jacques, freshman business management major Sierra Williamson and sophomore computer science major Surakshya Aryal.

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The Goldman Sachs Market Madness: HBCU Possibilities Program is a four-month immersive introduction to financial concepts. Twenty-six teams from 12 HBCUs engaged in weekly educational sessions with nearly 50 Goldman Sachs coaches, who introduced them to the businesses, people, and culture of the firm.

“This group of Howard University students has exhibited an exemplary understanding of what it takes to be successful in the corporate world, and I look forward to seeing what success lies ahead,” said Howard University Provost Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D. “Because of their efforts, this grant will help create additional opportunities for their fellow Howard students.”

Beyond the individual learning and training opportunities offered through the program, participants are organized into teams and tasked with conducting industry and company-specific research as well as presenting a business solution and plan. This year’s participants counseled Goldman Sachs partner, PepsiCo.

After two stages of competition and eight weeks of preparation, the team competed in its final round on April 13 against teams representing Florida A&M University, Morgan State University, Prairie View A&M University and Spelman College.

The team built its final presentation from topics they had learned through online learning sessions with Goldman Sachs professionals. “The Goldman Sachs Market Madness program taught how to grow and future-proof a business. Mergers and acquisitions became our final recommendation, with our team presenting an innovative acquisition target to a PepsiCo executive of the healthy meat snacks company Chomps. This acquisition was financially attractive and ensures that their company continues to meet customer trends,” Williamson said.

Participation in the program allowed for cross-functional collaboration and expanded the students’ career possibilities. “Participating in the Goldman Sachs Market Madness: HBCU Possibilities Program has allowed me to expand my interests past technology and innovation. While I previously had little interest in finance and global markets, the program has allowed me to visualize how these careers align with my career aspirations. I now feel confident in understanding how the concepts of global investment research, asset management, investment banking, consumer and wealth management play a role in the fields of information systems and data science,” Houngninou said.

Goldman Sachs Chief Diversity Officer Megan Hogan underscored the importance of the program saying, “Our commitment to HBCUs and the growth of the Goldman Sachs Market Madness: HBCU Possibilities Program has furthered our ability to convene diverse perspectives and backgrounds, bringing top Black talent into the firm as a continuation of our investment in racial equity. The funding they’ve won for their schools will go beyond their team, benefiting and supporting future generations of HBCU students.”

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