UST MBA Teams Vie For $10,000 Prize in Economist’s Case Study Competition

The Economist has launched its first-ever International MBA Case Study Competition. Twenty-four teams representing 23 business schools will compete for the grand prize of $10,000. St. Thomas is the only university that fielded two student teams in the competition.

The competition, conducted in partnership with Muddy Waters Research, a U.S. based investment research firm, asks competing teams to think unconventionally about a real world business problem. The case study challenge involves evaluating Zillow’s $3.5 billion acquisition of rival real estate website Trulia in a stock-only transaction.

Team One
Jeff Andersen (Evening UST MBA)
Luke Dery (Full-time UST MBA)
Christian Engel (Full-time UST MBA)

Team Two
Erin Bakken (Full-time UST MBA)
Willis Krumholz (Full-time UST MBA)
Nate Stephens (Evening UST MBA)

To compete for the prize, each team submitted a written and video proposal to solve the problem highlighted in the case study.  The videos were recorded live and are posted along with the written proposals on The Economist’s Which MBA? site.

"I participated because I knew it would be a big challenge and a great learning experience," said JD/MBA candidate Willis Krumholz. "The biggest challenge was the financial modeling we did for Zillow, Trulia, and the combined firm."

Evening MBA student Jeff Anderson participated in the competition, "For the additional experience in working through valuations and the chance to compete against other schools."

The process was challenging, said Anderson. "I worked on the valuation for the companies and research for probably 75-100 hours." The team mates each brought unique perspectives to their decision making. "Coming to a consensus on our position took back and forth, different people see things differently."

"This was different than any other competition I've done," added Krumholz. "It was great to be analyze a real deal that was in the works, and be able to come up with something that the mainstream analysts weren't already saying."

“We are truly excited to have partnered with The Economist on a unique contest we hope will challenge these future business leaders to think outside the proverbial Wall Street box and evaluate one of today’s most interesting transactions – the merger between rival real estate sites Zillow and Trulia,” said Carson Block, Founder and Director of Research at Muddy Waters Research. “We look forward to seeing what the participating MBA teams come up with.”

The International MBA Case Study Competition awards $21,000 USD in prize money to the winning teams. First and second place runners-up will take home $5,000 USD and $3,000 USD in prize money. There will also be a People’s Choice award of $3,000, which will be given to the team that receives the most votes from visitors to The Economist website. All winners will be announced at The Economist’s Online Which MBA? Fair, which takes place on February 3-5, 2015.

Besides the two teams from The Opus College of Business, the other teams hail from:

  • MIT's Sloan School of Management
  • Bocconi University, SDA Bocconi School of Management
  • Michigan State University, Broad College of Business
  • University of North Texas College of Business
  • University of Wollongong, Sydney Business School
  • York University, Schulich School of Business
  • Ball State University, Ball State MBA
  • WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management
  • University of North Alabama, UNA College of Business
  • Ryerson University, Ted Rogers School of Management
  • Georgia State University, J. Mack Robinson College of Business
  • Brigham Young University, Marriott School of Management
  • Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
  • Fundação Instituto de Administração, FIA Business School
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Business Administration
  • Wagner College Department of Business
  • Middlebury College, Monterey Institute of International Studies
  • Florida Southern College, Barney Barnett School of Business & Free Enterprise
  • Creighton University, Heider College of Business
  • City University of Hong Kong College of Business
  • Tufts University, The Fletcher School

To cast your vote in the International MBA Case Study Competition or to inquire about opportunities to participate in The Economist’s upcoming case study competitions, visit: