Alumni working at Deloitte Consulting partnered with the Student Professional Development Center for the April 12 interdisciplinary event.
By Caitlin O’Donnell ’13
Dozens of students from different disciplines competed April 12 in the inaugural Spring Case Competition.
The event, which was made possible thanks to a group of alumni working at the financial consulting firm Deloitte, challenged participants to formulate innovative solutions for the United States Postal Service by creating a new business model for the company.
Beginning with 18 teams, participants were required to submit an executive summary two weeks before the competition proposing innovative solutions and strategies for the USPS. From there, the list was narrowed down to seven final teams, each of which gave a 15-minute presentation to a panel of eight judges from Deloitte explaining their business model.
David Potts ’95, one of the alumni involved in coordinating the event, said the competition structure forced participants to think critically about the current situation at the postal service.
“Presenting solutions to problems is something we do on a daily basis at Deloitte, so it gave students a feel for how this process may work in a business environment,” he said. “The teams were provided feedback on their performances, which we hope will help shape some of their future learning endeavors.”
First place went to The Next Move team, comprised of Tupper Allen ’13, Carolina Howland ’13, Davis Millians ’13 and Whittney Levitt ’14. The team’s solution included short-term initiatives (marketing strategies, customized regional postage and First-Class mail envelope customization) and long-term measures based on partnerships and strategic alliances with government agencies.
“I found this competition to be one of the most helpful experiences I’ve had in terms of preparing for my future career,” said Howland, a communication science major and business administration minor. “Being able to construct our ideas, write our case, present it professionally in front of Elon alumni and Deloitte representatives, all while working constructively with a small group of students, gave us tremendous real world experience.”
Howland and her teammates will have an opportunity to expand that experience this summer when they travel to Washington, D.C. to present their case solution to Deloitte executives and compete with other undergraduates from across the country.
Christina Jackman ’05, part of the alumni team who planned the event, said they hoped students gained insight into the complex consulting world, an experience that can prepare them for real life client consulting no matter what field they choose.
Other alumni who participated in the event included Jeff Casullo ’09, Shannon Galey ’00, Sarah Gottfried ’08, Brady Nelson ’01, Scott Venus ’00 and Matt Wasno ’09. In all, there is a network of 32 Elon alumni employed at Deloitte.
Howland said she was surprised to find so many alumni working there and how strong the relationship is between the company and Elon’s Student Professional Development Center. She added the competition was a great way to strengthen that relationship and create a bridge for Elon students and graduates.
Potts said he hopes all students found the event both challenging and fun.
“The ideas that were generated ranged from unique to spectacular, but you could tell that a lot of effort went into preparing their solutions,” he said.
And while the competition took more than a year to plan, Jackman said she hopes it will become a yearly tradition.
“We aim to continue to foster the Deloitte and Elon relationship, with an eventual goal of Elon being a target recruiting school for Deloitte,” she said.