2018 NBMBAA Case Competition

Isaiah Stephenson estimates that he and his teammates competing at the 2018 National Black MBA Association’s (NBMBAA) Annual Conference MBA case competition spent more than 250 hours leading up to the event preparing their presentation.

For Erin Yu-Lee, Sandra Glaude and Stephenson, the hard work and dedication paid off, as the MBA students led Fisher to a third-place finish at the competition, topping 33 other teams at the annual event in Detroit.

“Month-long case competitions are unique challenges,” said Stephenson, a second-year MBA student who has represented Fisher at three case competitions. “In my experience, it takes about 250 collective hours to develop a winning presentation. The competition was fierce. But I love to compete and had unwavering confidence in the abilities of my team. If the right time, energy and effort have been put into preparing the presentation, then the experience is exhilarating.”

The Fisher team, coached by Marc Ankerman, senior lecturer in management and human resources, brought home $10,000. Glaude received the “Best Presenter” award in the first round of the competition.

“It was an honor receiving the Best Presenter Award,” said Glaude, a first-year MBA student. “Winning such an award seemed impossible in the beginning of this journey, however, Erin and Isaiah played a pivotal role in my success during this competition. I was nervous because I wanted to represent myself and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business in a way that would be gratifying. It is a blessing and a fulfilling experience to be recognized in such a magnitude. This is the beginning of my legacy at Fisher.”

Teams competing at the event presented solutions to a challenge faced by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

“This experience has helped me grow immensely in so many ways,” said Yu-Lee, a first-year MBA student. “I learned how to have difficult, honest conversations. I’m usually a dominating leader, and this time I had to learn how to play a supporting role. I also learned the importance of face-to-face communication.”

“I’ve also grown as an individual. I learned how to speak confidently and I learned how to sell. I always hated sales, but there’s definitely an element of sales in case competitions. I had to learn how to sell in my own way, which has made me better able to communicate my personal value in networking and interview situations.”

A team of undergraduate students also competed at the undergraduate case competition. The team included Mohamed Camara, DeMario Webb, Kenneth Braggs and Alexandria Jackson, and it was coached by Renard Green (MBA ’06).

The two teams joined other students from Fisher at the conference, where they attended workshops, career development seminars and breakout sessions. The students’ experience was made possible through Fisher’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services (OD&ISS). The office works closely with the NBMBAA, which is led by its president and CEO, Fisher alumnus Jesse Tyson (MBA ’76).

“Honestly, I don’t believe any of what I have accomplished would have been possible without the support of Fisher, its Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services, and the work of David Harrison, who has been instrumental in developing and maintaining relationships with organizations such as NBMBAA and KeyBank,” Stephens said.

“Participating in the competitions has been transformative for me professionally. I have had the opportunity to compete against and network with MBAs at other elite universities, craft and pitch solutions to real problems faced by business leaders, and hone my abilities as an individual contributor and leader. The cases provided me with the confidence that I can successfully address complex business problems, but more importantly they helped me identify and address areas for improvement.”