MBA students winners in early round of East-West Case Competition

Fisher MBA case team beat out University of Chicago Graduate Business School, University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and host school Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in the first round of competition at the 2008 East-West MBA All-Star Case Challenge on Jan. 4.

In front of Chinese national media and an audience of 400 people in the Beijing Hyatt Grand Ballroom, first-year MBAs Mandi Stowers and Ben Hummel, and second year MBAs Jamie Levine and Christina Deitch presented their case to judges and business executives during the second round. The team finished in second place.

Fisher’s team was accompanied and coached by Kewei Hou, assistant professor of finance, and Marc Ankerman, a senior lecturer in management and human resources. Ankerman also served as a judge.

Fisher was among eight business schools from the U.S., China and Singapore that competed. Students analyzed Tsingtao Beer’s current U.S. marketing strategy and made innovative proposals for 2008. The panel of 12 judges included senior executives from Tsingtao, their U.S. distributor Crown Imports, as well as professors from several business schools. According to officials at Cheung Kong, it was China’s first international case competition featuring teams from the East and West.

The Tsingtao case, written and researched by the Cheung Kong Case Center, illustrates common challenges faced by Chinese companies selling in overseas markets.

“I was impressed with the depth of research and professionalism of the Case Challenge participants,” said Cheung Kong GSB Strategy Professor Teng Bingsheng, who served as one of the competition judges. “They demonstrate that knowledge obtained from MBA education makes a difference -- the various analytical tools they employed generated innovative marketing strategies for Tsingtao.”

In addition to competing in school to school competition, students were mixed up with students from other business schools to form new teams. The new teams, comprised of members from U.S. and Asian schools, were given additional information about the case and had 24 hours to develop a new, collaborative strategy. Students from Cheung Kong, Chicago and Darden won the $3,000 “Best Mixed Team” award.

Other schools representing the U.S. were University of Washington in Seattle, which won the $5,000 first prize; Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, according to competition organizers. Asian schools at the event were National University of Singapore, Tsinghua University and competition host Cheung Kong.