My MBA Case Competition: Best Presenter Awarded!

Hi everyone!

Spring semester session 2 is kicking off in the Specialized Master in Finance, and graduation is just around the corner. Excitement levels are through the roof! As I mentioned in previous posts, a case competition was on the horizon for me, and guess what? The moment has arrived.

MBA KeyBank Case Competition
This past weekend, from February 23rd to 25th, I had the opportunity to head to Cleveland, specifically to KeyTower (KeyBank's HQ), to compete in the 20th MBA KeyBank Case Competition organized by Ohio State University. It's one of the most prestigious MBA Case Competitions in the country, bringing together 30 university teams, including schools like Columbia Business School, USC Marshall, and John Hopkins Carey.

Consulting Challenge
The challenge revolved around implementing generative AI in KeyBank's commercial banking sector to address two pressing issues for regional American banks: deposit growth and customer retention. The task required crafting a solution considering risks, existing regulations, robotic process automation, financial forecasting, ROI (Return on Investment), cost analysis, and other tools.

The competition's first phase consisted of 6 brackets with 5 teams each. The top team from each bracket advanced to the final round. Our team, comprised of Robblyn Branch, Maura Manning, and our incredible coach Akib Nawaz, made it to the next phase. We presented once more and secured the 4th spot in the competition. Personally, I was honored as the best presenter in our bracket, earning an additional award for the achievement.

The three days in Cleveland were truly amazing. The organization was impeccable (the welcome reception was on the 55th floor of the Key Tower, where we got to see meeting rooms and the incredible view from the management board's top floor). I had the chance to meet many KeyBank executives, including Amy Brady - Chief Information Officer, Dean Kontul - Chief Technology Officer, Daniel Brown - Director Consumer Product Management, Karen White - Senior Vice President of Community Relations and Corporate Initiatives, and Kenneth Gavrity - Head of Enterprise Payments & Analytics.

I want to express my gratitude to the DEI Office for the opportunity. Without them, participating in the competition wouldn't have been possible. Interestingly, I learned about this competition through another DEI Office initiative, the PROSPANICA Conference in Las Vegas last year. Special thanks also to Prof. Wapner and Isaiah Stephenson, a previous competition winner, for providing crucial advice and feedback the night before the presentation.

To all potential SMF students, I highly recommend this experience. It provides the exposure needed to the real world.

Spring break time is approaching! Stay tuned for upcoming posts where I'll talk about the SMF Consulting Practicum project and job seeking!

Stefano Mejia