Tag Archives: case competition

Sludge, China, and the Freshman Direct Track winning team

The 2012 Holland America Line Global Case Competition involved 48 hours of intense analysis of sludge, soil remediation, and joint ventures in China. The case for the November 17th competition was Phase Separations Solutions (PS2): The China Question, and over 60 Foster School undergraduates teams were asked to recommend a course of action regarding PS2’s opportunities in China.

Teams were asked to tackle difficult questions in the charge and even more challenging ones from the panels of corporate and faculty judges:  Which JV option should they pursue? What challenges are posed by partnering with the government? What about intellectual property theft? What are the bankruptcy laws in China?

Among these teams were sixteen Foster School Freshmen Direct students. They made up their own track in the morning rounds and competed for a $500 prize. The panel of judges for the Freshman Direct Track was impressed by the ease with which these teams presented and the depth of their research and analysis after only a few months at the Foster School.

I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the winning team of the Freshman Direct Track about their experience. Here is what the winning team members Tim Kim, Barrett Stapleman, Erik Meister, and Ben Hagen had to say:

 What did you learn? Lots of different business terminology; how to prepare, conduct research and how to play the role of a consultant; we learned what a real business presentation looks like, and how to creatively think on our feet.

What did you take away from watching the upperclassmen presentations in the Final Round? Teams need to know everything inside and out – the numbers, the strategy, the facts. The organization of their PowerPoint presentations was impressive, and the team members all presented in a professional tone that was very direct, clear, and to the point.

What was the most challenging part? Time management, researching obscure aspects of the case, and the formulation of the actual presentation – how to include relevant content without overwhelming the slide – were all difficult.

What would you tell other students? Even if you don’t have any background in case competitions, it is a good learning experience to throw yourself into this difficult situation. Just attack it. You will learn skills that will prepare you for the future like time management, presentation skills, and teamwork. Just go out and get involved.

Will you compete again?  Yes!

The Global Business Center would like to give a special thanks to our sponsor of this year’s competition Holland America Line. To learn more about the Holland America Line Global Case Competition, visit the Global Business Center website.

Foster team wins national KPMG ALPFA Competition

Foster Team Wins National KPMG ALPFA Competition On August 13 and 14 in Las Vegas, an undergraduate accounting team from the UW Foster School of Business won the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting (ALPFA) national case competition.

Sponsored by KPMG, the invitation only competition selects teams from 24 schools around the country to analyze specific public companies and present on key accounting policies, strategies and risks, and provide recommendations to help mitigate the firms’ risks.

The Foster team analyzed Tyson Foods, a public company headquartered in Arkansas. They worked throughout spring quarter analyzing and researching Tyson’s financial position. Foster’s team consisted of seniors Sonia Gorski and Ana Mendez and juniors Anthony Escobar and Gideon Vasquez.

“Our Foster team gave an extremely impressive presentation to the mock audit committee from KPMG,” says faculty adviser Patricia Angell, who coached the students. “Any firm would be honored to be represented by these polished professionals.”

The team was also supported by the local ALPFA chapter and KPMG managers Mark Turley and Lakshmi Kuduganti.

Foster students win 2012 international marketing case competition

On March 3, 2012, an undergraduate case competition team from the University of Washington Foster School of Business won the Intercollegiate Marketing Competition held at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Eight teams were tasked with developing a marketing plan for Zajak Ranch, a non-profit summer camp for disabled children.

Looking to become financially self-sustaining while attracting the next generation of donors and corporate sponsors, the camp had asked students to find ways to increase revenues during the winter months while also signing reoccurring monthly donors in the younger demographic. Teams were given only three hours to deliberate, design a full presentation and practice before immediately giving a 20-minute presentation with 15 minutes of Q&A. Only four teams would then move on to the final round where they would present in front of a panel of judges consisting of marketing professionals, members of the camp’s management, as well as the managing member of the Zajak family.

Foster’s team consisted of Allen Kuceba, Alex Diaz and Caitlin Snaring, all members of the American Marketing Association student organization. Kuceba is a senior with a focus in finance and entrepreneurship, Diaz is a senior focused on marketing and communications and Snaring is a junior focused on marketing and accounting. The three were selected from a pool of applicants from the UW American Marketing Association.

“I am extremely proud of this team. They worked hard practicing case analysis and presentation skills. With only three hours to prepare, they demonstrated the ability to critically analyze a business problem and develop a viable solution,” says faculty advisor Leta Beard, who coached the students.

Foster team wins national minority MBA case competition

An MBA team from the University of Washington Foster School Business and Economic Development Center took first place at the 2012 National Minority MBA Case Competition held at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University.

The team of first-year Evening MBA students, Brent Bauslaugh, Ben Lapekas, Ksenia Karpisheva and Rakesh Saini, beat out teams from 18 other business schools from around the US including University of California Los Angeles, Carnegie Mellon, Indiana University and Boston College. The grand prize for Foster’s Evening MBA students? $7,500. Additionally, Lapekas was recognized as the best presenter and Bauslaugh won first place for best question and answer session.

All 18 competing teams had 20 minutes to provide a solution to a case dealing with strategic choices for third party commercial loan servicing business at Key Bank. “Our students’ ability to handle ambiguity of the case and yet provide firm recommendations backed up with hard data were ultimately what differentiated them from the rest,” says team advisor Geraldine Rodriguez, assistant director at the UW Business and Economic Development Center.

EJ Burke, Key Bank’s head of real estate capital and corporate banking services adds, “The University of Washington team’s presentation represented a thorough understanding of a very complex and difficult case. Their recommended solutions were actionable and thought provoking.”

A team from the UW Business and Economic Development Center has placed in the top three teams nationally for the past four years for this diversity competition.

Each fall, the Business and Economic Development Center hosts a UW Foster School of Business internal Diversity in Business Case Competition in order to select the team of MBA students who represents Foster at the national competition.

Canada wins 2011 Global Business Case Competition

GBCC2011April 16, 2011 was an eventful day as the Global Business Case Competition hosted its 13th annual undergraduate case competition.  We were proud to host the entire competition in Foster’s new building and show off our new state-of-the-art home to visiting teams.

Each of the twelve Global Business Case Competition teams presented their analysis on how to make a water purification business in Tanzania profitable and how to expand the business to other African cities.  After a competitive preliminary round, four teams were selected to move on to the final round: University of Washington, Western Ontario University (Canada), Thammasat University (Thailand) and the University of Auckland (New Zealand).

With over 200 people from around the world in attendance, the final round of presentations was exciting to watch. In the end, judges chose University of Western Ontario (Ivey School of Business) as this year’s champion.

Congratulations to Foster School students on the University of Washington team for landing a spot in the final round: Kyle Bartlow, Jessica Henrawidjaja, Venkat Rao, and Melanie.

Foster MBAs win corporate growth case competition

Four MBA students from the University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business won the international finals of the Associate for Corporate Growth (ACG) case competition, March 21 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The event was designed to give MBAs valuable insights into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advisory and private equity. The Foster School team—Nick Casaril, Erick Rendon, Rhett Baldwin and Robert Belcher—presented the most compelling strategic advice on a realistic merger and acquisition case. In the simulation, the team advised a private equity group on whether a potential acquisition was a good value, and at what price, and how best to structure a deal that would be acceptable to both buyers and sellers.

Competition included Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, Whitworth University and University of Calgary, with the Foster School clearly best in show. Said judge Luke Fouke, senior vice president of Seattle-based Net Lease Holdings: “The level of analysis and thought-provoking recommendations that the students presented really goes to show the excellence of the Foster School of Business’ curriculum.”

The victory earned the team the first International AGC Cup, a prize of $10,000 Canadian, and the proverbial much, much more.

“The entire competition was an enriching experience that provided great insight to some of the activities and challenges that actual practitioners of the craft face in the real world,” said Casaril. “Everything from analyzing and crafting the deal to the ‘bake-off’ at the end to sell the deal was incredibly engaging. I know I learned an incredible amount that will be immensely valuable as I embark on my future career.”

Big weekend: Foster School brings home three case competition victories

Student teams representing the University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business won three separate case competitions—in Montreal, Cleveland and Washington, DC—on the same day this past weekend, Saturday, February 28.

KeyBank-Ohio State University Minority Case CompetitionA team of Foster MBAs triumphed at the KeyBank-Ohio State University Minority Case Competition in Cleveland. Evening MBAs Bryan Tomlinson and Rina Sarkar and full-time MBAs Hakim Jones and Kathleen August delivered the most compelling plan to increase KeyBank’s market share in the small business banking market, and added a set of tactics to empower managers to implement this plan. In doing so, they outwitted teams from the University of Chicago, Indiana University, Ohio State, Yale, Carnegie Mellon and 15 other top business schools. August was awarded “Best Presenter” for the competition. Jones won “Best Q&A” honors.

“This is another wonderful demonstration of the Foster MBA model—great students, talented faculty, and a curriculum designed to offer transformative experiences in strategic thinking and leadership,” said Dan Turner, associate dean for masters programs and executive education. “It all adds up to innovative, strategic solutions for businesses facing complex, unstructured, real world-problems.”

Hilltop Business Strategy ChallengeUndergraduates from the Foster School took top honors at the Business Strategy Challenge at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The team of Ray Phua, Olivia Miasik, Stephanie Payne and Rikki Johnson weighed an unconventional not-for-profit case, stretching their knowledge of business strategy into a new arena. The conundrum was how best to guide the United Way through the economic crisis. The Foster team’s solution: form partnerships with healthy, like-minded organizations such as the Gates Foundation in the short-term and reorganize internally to better influence legislation for the long-term. The top-flight competition—including Georgetown, USC, New York University, Northwestern and Carnegie Mellon—couldn’t match the Foster team.

“The fact that we had the opportunity to present our recommendations to actual representatives of United Way and know that what we proposed would be considered seriously and possibly be implemented was all the more motivating and very gratifying in the end,” said Miasik, a senior studying accounting and international business at the Foster School. “I think our great team dynamic was key to formulating a successful deliverable for United Way.”

John Molson Undergraduate Case CompetitionAnother team of Foster undergrads won the John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. The Molson competition was as much a test of stamina as of strategy. The Foster team–Vanessa Lopez, Derrick Nation, Eric Appesland and Susan Dugal (named “Best Presenter” for the competition)—gamely navigated three introductory lightning-round cases that had to be analyzed without the aid of the Internet or any notes, books or other reference materials. The final round was a more traditional, 24-hour “live” case involving the future plans for Montreal’s working waterfront. The Foster team recommended moving shipping facilities to a new, larger site to increase capacity, while turning the Old Port into an elaborate draw for tourism.

This solution, complete with an artist’s rendition of the “new” Old Port, distanced the Foster team from a world-class field representing universities in Canada, China, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore and the United States. “Our team was complimented on their strategy and performance,” said Jennifer Kitchen, coordinator of student development at the Foster School. “The panel of judges included the director of operations for the Montreal Port Authority who said that he would have no reservations about bringing our team’s recommendations and implementation plan to his board of directors. That’s high praise.”

UW Foster MBAs take second at East-West All-Star Challenge

East-West MBA all Star Challenge 2009
The UW Foster School of Business East-West MBA All-Star Case Challenge team (L-R): Ming Fan (faculty advisor), George Zhu, Megan Armstrong, Martin Wilson, Nathan Kolmodin.

A team of MBA students from the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business tied for second place at the 2009 East-West MBA All-Star Case Challenge held in Beijing January 5-6.

Sixteen teams representing 12 elite universities in China, Singapore, South Korea and the United States participated in this invitation-only competition, organized jointly by Microsoft and Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.

The Foster School team – full-time MBAs Martin Wilson and Nathan Kolmodin and evening MBAs George Zhu and Megan Armstrong – finished behind only the University of Chicago in the “compete” phase of the event. This phase was the culmination of six weeks of work to conceptualize a new, scalable mobile service and marketing campaign to support Microsoft’s Imagine Cup or DreamSpark programs. Imagine Cup encourages young people to create technology innovations that can make a difference in the world. DreamSpark provides free development and design software to millions of college students across the globe.

Real-world challenge
By design, the competition offered challenging real-world conditions. “We wanted to leverage the current economic downturn to give participants a taste of some of the scenarios they could encounter in the real world – budget cuts, changes in project parameters, increased expectations on return to investment – and help the students see that innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not a threat,” said Pradeep U.N., director of the Microsoft Firenze program.

The Foster plan was a localized version of Imagine Cup that seeks to reach a larger, younger, more diverse segment by appealing to less tech-savvy students who might otherwise feel intimidated by the challenge.

Student teamwork and raw skill makes a difference
Following the “compete” phase, participants were shuffled into eight inter-school teams to create a new solution that addressed the same scenario in short order. Kolmodin’s mixed team placed second in the “collaborate” phase, earning $10,000 from Microsoft to implement its proposal. He says he earned much more from the experience.

“The ‘compete’ phase allowed us to focus on honing the skills we are developing in an academic environment,” he said, “where the ‘collaboration’ phase enhanced the experience by giving us the opportunity to seek synergies across cultures since we needed to implement our idea without regard to borders, geographical restrictions and cultural differences.”

“The competition was taxing, exhilarating and led to relationships that can only be created within a crucible-like situation.”

The Foster team was advised by Ming Fan, an assistant professor of information systems, and Elizabeth Stearns, a senior lecturer in marketing. Foster MBAs brought home the grand prize from the inaugural East-West MBA All-Star Case Challenge in 2008, with their winning plan to market Chinese-brewed Tsingtao Beer in the US.