Team Kaminski Consulting won first place in the Carol A. Ammon Case Competition.

Competition roundup

Winners of MBA, Target case competitions announced

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10:26 a.m., March 22, 2013--From analyzing the growing needs of a fashion e-commerce company to advising a retail giant seeking input on a strategic market entry plan, graduate and undergraduate students in the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics have been hard at work applying their skills.

Students participating in the annual Carol A. Ammon Case Competition and Target’s Undergraduate Case Study Competition made their final presentations last week to industry and corporate executives to take home winning honors.

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Carol A. Ammon Case Competition

After three weeks of prep time and a challenging morning of preliminary round presentations, Team Kaminski Consulting with Gil Kaminski, Michael Gross, Calleigh Chen and Stephen Huff took home first place in the Carol A. Ammon Case Competition, sponsored by the Lerner College.

A record 73 students on 18 teams collaborated with professors and graduate students in UD’s Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies (FAS) to prepare strategic recommendations designed to address fashion e-commerce business Rent the Runway’s (RTR) options for seeking venture capital.

All teams presented to a group of MBA alumni judges, who selected three teams to present to final round judges David J. Freschman, managing principal of Innovation Ventures and CEO and founder of FashInvest, and a UD accounting graduate; Mark Ritter, CIO of James Alpha Management LLC and a Lerner College parent; and Jackie Ivy, Independent Design Consultant at J. Ivey and Co. LLC, known for working with Anthropologie and Dogfish Head Brewery.

Team Kaminski said they took the industry information shared by FAS seriously in their approach to the case.

“We tried to be very data-driven and practical,” said Kaminski, a graduate student in finance, of the team’s strategy for helping RTR succeed. “We thought the most important things to focus on were the factors that were most limiting profits since in the end that’s the real goal.”

Added Gross, an MBA student, “Gathering data from the industry and related industries we were able to get numbers we felt to be reasonable and realistic. By dividing into short- and long-term investments we could then determine when investments would be needed to continue with further growth.”

The entire team was grateful for the experience to present to both rounds of judges and for the opportunity to network with them at the reception following the presentation round.

“The first round judges helped us feel relaxed while asking questions and providing comments that helped us make adjustments for the final round,” said Kaminski.

“The final round judges had a lot of insight into the business that we were only cursorily exposed to,” added Huff. “Their questions made us question our assumptions and think about situations we hadn’t originally thought of.”

Though the team was not able to see all the other student presentations (preliminary rounds are closed to the public and participating teams), they emphasized camaraderie helped them make it to the end.

“We all got along so well and enjoyed working together which helped create a positive team dynamic that we hoped was evident during the presentation,” said Chen, also a graduate student in finance. “By having fun with it, it took out the part that would make it feel like work.”

Huff, an MBA student, called participating in the case competition a “fantastic and unique opportunity.”

“It forced us to learn and think about an industry from angles we would not have otherwise,” he said. “We were lucky to have a team of both MBA and finance graduate students with very different backgrounds that provided us an interdisciplinary view of the case.”

“This was a truly enriching experience and we’re all proud of being part of such a great team,” added Kaminski. “We all helped each other through the process and enjoyed getting to know one another as we worked on the case.”

Taking second place was Team FLAC-Jackets, with Drew Tilton, a dual MBA/MS in Organizational Effectiveness, Development and Change (OEDC) student, and Leah Tang, Chris Giacomucci and Fox Lai, MBA students.

In third place were Alex Chaplin, Bhuvan Shankar and Samit Baindur, all dual MBA/MS in OEDC students, and Janeen Gryan, an MBA student of Team Lerner Bees.

Other teams, coaches, judges

Other case competition teams included: Fantastic Four (Snigdha Machineni, Jordan Brand, Nitin Parihar and Arpit Khaturia), SBI-1 (Matt Wilhelm, Katie Keeports and Marilyn Talman), Lerner Consultants (Cindy Zhang, Yi Wang, Lauren Resch and Yu Gu), Fad Forever (Tianjia Liu, Michael Koch, Liming Liu and Brad Wickersham), Team Elegance (Laura Feliciano, Nirup Kadabagere, Shuangyi (Stella) Lin and Julie Leinhauser), Lux (Valery Caputi Lopez, Jingru Wei, Nischala Marulasiddaiah and Parag Borgaonkar), Change Monsters (Jamie Hedrick, Cong Xiao, Neha Singh Tanwar and Haowei Xu), Team Eclipse (Abhijeet Patil, Dawai Wang, Mythili Banka and Rudy Bedeley), Starry Sky (Feng Zhang, Jia Wang, Xiaomeng Li and Bei Shi), DASH (Shanghua Chi, Pam Solomon, Stacey Hunter Withers and Dami Adetunji), Team Infinity (Beste Kuru, Yunhe Tian, Chris Steckline and Pan Wang), S.E.W. (Erin Marshall, Nguyen Tran, Shaniel Bernard and Renjini Prakashan), Reese’s Pieces (Chris Reese, Daniel Mburu, Rebecca Wisely and Nick Gioia), HARE (Nig Jin, Yiruo Chen, Chao Liu and Ruolin Fan) and TailWind (Anthony Onugu, Nicholas Damiani, Yimin Wu and Dureen Jayaram).

The Graduate and Executive Programs staff thanked the commitment of the following individuals:

Alumni preliminary round judges Ed Augustine, team building facilitator, Quantum Team Leaders; S. Ram Bala, strategic planner, AAA Mid-Atlantic; Eric Blom, district business manager, Pfizer Inc.; Yaw Boakye-Hwedie, fund accountant, JD Clark; Walt Chiquoine, president, Green Sage Enterprises; Iwona Evans, financial controller, Modern Water, Inc.; Jonathan Katz, senior department budget analyst, Barclaycard; Howard Keene Jr., senior manager, business and community engagement, Blood Bank of Delmarva; Kathryn Meier, manager, marketing and communications, Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics; Alexis Milam, conference services, University of Delaware; Elisabeth Schnelle Penta, senior manager, advisory consulting, American Express Business Travel; Anthony Ripanti, operations manager, NFL Films; Kathleen Servis, product manager, 21st Century Insurance; and Stephanie Smith, associate attorney, Martin D. Haverly, Attorney at Law; and

Fashion and Apparel Studies faculty Marsha Dickson, chair and professor; Belinda Orzada, graduate director and professor; Katya Roelse, professor; Hye-Shin Kim, professor; and Kim Rosner, graduate student.

Target Case Competition

Lerner College students took top honors in Target’s Undergraduate Case Study Competition, in which the retail company sought input on its integrated multichannel strategy and current situation with small urban format stores.

Students Ben Bateman, a junior management major, Nate Taylor, a junior finance major, and Dave Sang, a sophomore finance major, earned the $2,000 first place prize for their written presentation.

Freshman management information systems major William Kashdan and teammate Yousef Aly, a freshman in biology, earned second place in the competition, receiving $1,000.

In third place, earning $700 was James Egerton, a senior management student.

Taking fourth place with $300 were junior fashion merchandising students Julia Frense and Jessica Rodriguez.

Article by Kathryn Meier

Photos by Duane Perry

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