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Fisher MBAs win $50k in international marketing competition

Published: 2010-02-08

Beating such programs as Darmouth's Tuck, IESE-Barcelona and London Business School, a team of Fisher MBA students walked away with a $50,000 cash prize in February after winning first place in an international case competition at the 2010 Marketing Summit presented by the Wake Forest University Schools of Business.

"Even being selected to participate in the competition was a significant achievement," said Karen Hopper Wruck, associate dean for graduate programs. "Teams had to apply and make a persuasive case to be included. Our team was one of only eight teams selected among the 138 that applied."

Members of The Ohio State University’s winning MBA team included Vandana Agrawal, Seth Blatter, Michael Hrostoski, Jeremy Jacobs, Ryan Kilpatrick, Eduard Lapteanu, and Chad Stutz. The team was coached by Marc Ankerman.

"I actually remember feeling that we were the underdogs going into the competition, though we had done a decent amount of preparation," Agrawal said. "I was definitely intimidated by the names of some of the schools there."

IBM, the Summit’s primary sponsor, challenged students to spend 36 hours developing a comprehensive marketing plan for its Smarter Cities program, an initiative designed to revitalize developing markets.

In the undergraduate competition, the all women team from the University of Pennsylvania won the first place prize of $10,000 for their marketing plan focused on IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative. Their challenge was to evaluate the market conditions, dynamics and environmental factors IBM should consider in order to ensure the success of the program.

“It’s exciting to see such bright minds working together to solve real-world challenges,” said Steve Reinemund, dean of the Wake Forest Schools of Business. “The teams presented creative approaches to IBM’s Smarter Cities and Smarter Planet initiatives and took a global approach in their solutions.”

Robin Young, the General Manager of IBM Global Technology Services, said she was impressed by how knowledgeable and innovative the teams appeared after receiving a complex case, enduring a 36-hour planning session, and presenting to executives of top global corporations.

“There were jewels in every single presentation that we will be mining for a while,” said Young. “Such talent easily aligns with IBM, which is always looking for the most-innovative ideas and is hungry for fresh approaches from academia.”

Second place in the MBA competition was awarded to Wake Forest University and third place to Dartmouth College. In the undergraduate competition, second place went to Emory University and third place to the University of Maryland.

In addition to the winning teams other participating schools for the MBA competition included: University of Notre Dame; London Business School; IESE Business School (Barcelona, Spain); University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; and Brigham Young University.

For the undergraduate case, other competitors included: Wake Forest University; U.S. Military Academy (West Point); and University of Toronto.