Elon MBA Class of 2020 competes in capstone case event

The graduating class applied the knowledge and skills acquired during Elon’s MBA program to a business case analysis presentation.

Forty-one MBA candidates completed the Elon MBA case competition, a signature experience for each year’s graduating class, on Feb. 8 in the Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center.

The competition challenged each team to conduct a case analysis of a2 Milk Company. Founded in New Zealand, a2 Milk Company sought global expansion options, with Nestlé as their biggest competitor and threat. The teams were tasked with approaching this situation as consultants advising a2 Milk Company on ways to diversify and countries to enter. Teams presented their analyses and recommendations to a panel of judges.

“The case was an opportunity to meld many of the classes into one capstone project – one that gave us an opportunity to look at financials, marketing, organizational behavior and strategy, and bring that together in one scenario,” said Jessica Kelly, director of risk management at Fidelity Investments. “Although the case itself was strenuous and difficult, doing it with true professionals and friends made all the effort more enjoyable.”

Kelly, along with teammates Tyler Poole, manager of trading at ACES; Kate Scott, director of organizational development at PTC; and R.J. Smith, chief financial officer at Salisbury & Moore Construction, Inc.; placed first in the competition.

“Our team’s combination of career backgrounds and interests influenced the approach that we took to the case, and allowed us to thoroughly consider many different ideas when deciding what options to communicate,” Smith reflected. “Ultimately, the case competition is validation that the strategies we’ve developed during the program are effective and useful tools to apply at our current jobs and as we grow in our careers.”

“It was a lot of fun to be able to work with people I’ve been learning alongside for the past two-and-a-half years” Scott added. “As we analyzed the case together we realized just how much we have learned from the program and from each other.”

“It was truly a privilege to be part of such a great team for the MBA case competition” Poole mentioned. “The friendships made through the years helped us to recognize our strengths and made for a great team dynamic.”

Michael Gannaway, Love School of Business executive-in-residence; Jody Jones, a professional business consultant and adjunct professor of strategic management; Scott Hayward, assistant professor of management; and Jay O’Toole, assistant professor of strategic management; served as judges, evaluating teams on presentation delivery, solution quality, and a question and answer session. Jo Ann Buck, assistant professor of management, also worked with the teams during the two weeks leading up to the competition by providing mentoring as the program’s business communications professor.

The runner-up team was Evan Dimke, director at Huron Consulting Group; Rana Fahey, instructor at Pulse Pilates; Cameron Hunter, project manager at CommScope; and Phillip Ortega, customer engagement manager at CBC AMERICA.

“Team dynamics proved to be our biggest asset,” Fahey said. “Our diverse backgrounds, unique professional strengths, and our ability to be collaborative led us to creative solutions to a complex business challenge.”

Designed for working professionals from Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh and beyond, the Elon MBA offers a part-time program with full-time benefits. Elon MBA students benefit from small class sizes, a curriculum focused on the transfer of course content to practical application, career services and an extraordinary faculty committed to teaching and engaged learning.