Elon MBA holds first case competition
The Elon MBA program held its first case competition February 10-11 in the Ernest A. Koury, Sr. Business Center.
The competition, which was part of the Goal Setting and Career Development II course, involved 44 students divided into eight teams.
“We were seeking a competitive exercise that would draw on a wide range of the MBA curriculum to give the year’s graduating class the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned,” said Bill Burpitt, Martha and Spencer Love School of Business associate dean for graduate and executive programs. “We hope to make it a signature experience for each year’s graduating cohort.”
The case presented to the student teams was “Reader’s Digest Association.” Teams devised strategic and operational solutions for the company going forward in response to various problems related to: the aging of its target demographic, its changes in corporate leadership, its return to private equity funding during a period of extreme economic uncertainty, and an industry undergoing major changes as readers migrate to online platforms.
The winning team included:
- Sivabrata Das – Staff Business Analyst/Application Development, Siemens Energy
- David Hamilton – Asst. VP & Actuary, United Guaranty Corporation
- Matt Haynes – VP, Advocate Reinsurance Partners
- Chrissy Brady Sailstad – Owner, Not Your Grandmother’s Wedding
- Kristin Smith ‘07 – Americas Graduate Training Program/IT Site Management Coordinator, Credit Suisse
The runner-up team included:
- Ali Bawangaonwala – Product Marketing Manager, RF Micro Devices
- Steve Burtoft – Full-Time Student
- Brooke Davis – Account Executive, SAS Institute, Inc.
- Gerardo Estrada – Pricing & Forecasting Officer, Huntsman International
- Nicole Munns – National Operations, SleepMed, Inc.
- Meredith Smith ’08 – Assoc. Director of Admissions for Campus Visits, Elon University
Judges of the competition included:
- Don Dibble – VP, Lincoln Financial and LSB Board of Advisor
- Katie Galbreath G’07 – Chief Hospital Operations & Business Development Officer, Durham Regional Hospital
- Michael Gannaway P’01 – VP of VF Direct to Consumer/Customer Teams, VF Corporation and LSB Board of Advisor
- Kathie Given – VP of Marketing, Biscuitville
- Frank Hood – President, Kingsdown Mattress Company
- Derek Robinson G ’03 – Director, International Sales & Marketing, Glen Raven
- Bernadette Spong ’78 G’07 P’09 P’10 – SVP Finance/CFO, Rex Hospital and LSB Board of Advisor
"The case competition was an excellent opportunity for graduating students to draw upon the knowledge and experience from all their coursework in the MBA program in order to develop a professional presentation within a tight timeframe," said MBA candidate David Hamilton. "The members of my group had a wide range of work and educational backgrounds that all proved valuable in the competition."
Professor of Management Matt Valle designed and managed the case competition. Karl Sherrill G’08, a commercial insurance advisor at Senn Dunn Insurance and member of the LSB Board of Advisors and the Chandler Family Professional Sales Center Advisory Board, assisted Valle with preparing and executing the competition.
“The judges were very impressed with the performance of the teams and their ability to organize quickly, analyze a very complicated case and present insightful case solutions within a limited time,” said Valle. “The faculty was impressed as well, and appreciative of the level of student effort and goodwill associated with the case competition. The faculty was also gratified that the results demonstrated the depth of learning achieved by these MBA students who will soon graduate.”
The competition also featured a keynote address delivered by Michael Gannaway, vice president of VF direct to consumer/customer teams at VF Corporation, who spoke about the process of successfully branding a company or product and how that applies to a business professional’s personal brand.