From left: Steven Harris, Diana Armendariz, Joli Coil, and Jeff Emrich (Photo courtesy of Iowa State University)
By Dan Ryan
ISU News Service
(March 2, 2012) A team of four full-time MBA students from the College of Business at Iowa State University has claimed another prestigious case strategy competition championship, this time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Diana Armendariz, Joli Coil, Jeff Emrich, and Steven Harris placed first overall in the competition, held on February 9-11. The Iowa State team beat teams from the University of Iowa (second place) and the University of Illinois (third place) in the finals.
The 12 competing teams were randomly assigned into three groups of four, and the winners of those three groups competed in the finals against each other. Teams were given the case early on Friday morning and had 24 hours to package their recommendations into a presentation made live to a panel of professionals from a variety of industries and government entities.
This year’s case featured the French fashion house Louis Vuitton Malletier. The Iowa State team’s strategy recommended rebuilding the brand identity while introducing a new, lower-priced brand to target younger, less-affluent consumers.
For their efforts, they take home a prize of $4,000 split evenly among the four team members. In addition, the team also claimed three individual awards: Steven Harris was named best presenter of the preliminary round, and Diana Armendariz was selected as the participant who best handled the question-and-answer sessions in both the preliminary and final rounds. Each of the three individual awards included a $100 prize.
“I had a good feeling about the competition,” said Armendariz. “It is one of the most balanced teams I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Acknowledging each other’s strengths made it easy to put together an excellent strategy. This was one of my best experiences and favorite memories of the Iowa State MBA program.”
The victory marks the third straight year an Iowa State team has won a large case competition. It is the two-time defending champion of the Big 12 MBA Case Competition, having won two years ago when the competition was held in Ames and again in 2011 when the University of Colorado hosted in Boulder.
This was only the second year that Iowa State was invited to compete at the University of Illinois competition. Iowa State finished third at Illinois in 2011.
Sam DeMarie, associate professor of management in the College of Business, served as the group’s advisor.
The other 11 universities competing in the case competition included Baylor University, Miami University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Illinois, the University of Iowa, the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Notre Dame.
The Iowa State MBA program will be competing for its third consecutive Big 12 MBA Case Competition this weekend, March 2 and 3, at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.