Fisher Invitational presentation

The 31st annual Fisher Invitational Case Competition saw MBA students from across the county pitting their skills against each other to create a results-driven project for Bath & Body Works, a global leader of personal care and home fragrances.

The condensed, intensified simulation challenged teams of first-year MBA students from Ohio State, Penn State, the University of Nebraska, the University of Maryland, Rutgers University and the University of Wisconsin to evolve the retailer’s omni-channel practices and in-store selling model and help the organization engage and inspire their employees.

“We love our partnership with Fisher College of Business and are thrilled with the results of the competition,” said Marc Amos, vice president of Human Resources Services at Bath & Body Works. “This was a great opportunity for us to expand our partnership with Fisher beyond hosting two experiential learning teams from Dr. Lori Kendall’s Project Management in Client Engagements Business Lab Class.”

During the competition hosted at the Bath & Body Works headquarters in Columbus, the teams analyzed marketing, communications and technology solutions while providing innovative new ideas and real-time strategies to the Bath & Body Works’ executive team.

The University of Maryland took first place at the competition and Penn State University finished in second place.

Dinah Diab, Matthew Gamache, Jimena Martinez, Chase McCorkle and Lonnie Wapp represented Fisher at the competition. While not new to case competitions, Diab said she finds something extremely fulfilling about collaborating with a group of her peers on a challenge, regardless of the outcome.

“While we didn’t win, losing a case competition can be an excellent learning experience. It can help you identify your weaknesses and your areas of improvement,” Diab said. “I will use this experience to further develop my perseverance and resilience to deal with future setbacks.”

The invitational allowed students to take what they learn in the classroom and complete a project from start to finish — all while acquiring presentation and public speaking skills and learning how to leverage and build off individual strengths to compete as a team.

“Case competition are a critical part of MBA students’ experiential learning,” said Stephanie G. Wapner, senior lecturer of management and human resources and associate academic director of MBA programs at Fisher.

“They offer an opportunity for students to use their academic training and professional experience to solve live business challenges in an environment that closely mimics what they will do when they move on to leadership roles in industry.”

Marc Amos of Bath & Body Works talks to the competition participants.
Marc Amos, vice president of Human Resources Services at Bath & Body Works talks to competition participants.

Each team’s proposed solutions and strategies will be looked at wholistically and shared with Bath & Body Works leadership, Amos said.

“We plan to further digest the teams’ presentations into implementable next steps as part of our actual go-forward strategy,” he said. “We would not be this far along in our efforts without the competitors’ hard work and great ideas.”

“Both of our partnerships with Fisher have given Bath & Body Works access to new ideas, as well as bright, diverse minds. We are impressed with the amazing and talented individuals we met throughout the process and hope they will think of us as a potential employer,” said Deon Riley, chief human resources officer at Bath & Body Works. “We can’t wait to make next year’s competition bigger and better."

Diab plans to use the skills she learned during the competition this summer as an associate brand management intern at Abbott.

“I discovered that brand management requires an immense amount of collaboration with various stakeholders and business divisions to develop and execute successful marketing strategies,” she said.

Our partnerships with Fisher have given Bath & Body Works access to new ideas, as well as bright, diverse minds.

Deon RileyChief Human Resources Officer, Bath & Body Works