Talented MBA candidates from more than 30 of the nation's leading business schools competed for $50,000 in scholarships in the 2014 National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Case Competition where a team of MBA students from St. Thomas took second prize.
The 2014 team includes Neha Shahani, Janet Namulondo, Chau Le and Nigel Brown, who have been working together since the case first became available in August.
The case competition is an annual event designed to give high-powered student teams an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and problem-solving skills in a formal competition. Teams are given a business case from which they develop business solutions. The business case for 2014 required teams to develop a market launch plan for the 2015 Jeep Renegade.
We asked Le to share some of his thoughts on the experience and why the team was so successful.
"First, and foremost, we believed in each other as a team. We identified our strengths and established expectations upfront," he said. Preparation was critical for the team. "We established the marketing framework we would work from so all members were on the same page and identified our resources and worked diligently to prepare the presentation." Of course, noted Le, "you have to assume that every other team is doing the same thing you are."
Each student team prepares and presents its case to a panel of experienced business executives. Teams are judged on their analysis of the case, the feasibility of their recommendations and the quality of their presentations.
"Everything is on the table," said Le. "All the research you do is great, but, in the end, people have to be able to both understand and be excited about your delivery. It comes down to assembling a stylish, cohesive presentation. Then, leave all doubt at the door and present the absolute best that you can. Engage the judges, engage other people in the audience, and engage your teammates."
Georgia State University took home the first place trophy as national champions and $25,000 in scholarships. The University of St. Thomas in second place earned $15,000 in scholarships and Emory University took third prize with a $10,000 scholarship prize. Winning teams were announced at an awards luncheon on September 19.
This is the third year that the University of St. Thomas has sent a team to the competition. In 2013, the UST MBA team took third prize. The competition is held each year as part of the NBMBAA's Annual Conference and Exposition, which was held this year in Atlanta, GA.