Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Big 12 MBA students to compete in Lawrence

The Big 12 Case Competition gives promising MBA students a platform to showcase their abilities with a real-world business problem from a local business.

A KU MBA student competes in the 2013
Big 12 Case Competition
The School of Business will host the Big 12 Case Competition in Lawrence this weekend for the first time since it began eight years ago.  MBA students from nine conference universities will compete to solve a yet-to-be-revealed local company’s business problem over a 24-hour period. Dee Steinle, KU administrative director of masters programs, cautions the competition is “intense” and said it makes students fire on all cylinders while performing under pressure.

“Case competitions generally are great ways for students to put into practice what they've learned in the classroom,” said Cathy Shenoy, KU director of MBA programs. “The competition lends more urgency and focus to the process of coming up with a solution.”

Paul Epp, a KU MBA student who participated in last year’s competition and will take part in this year’s, experienced firsthand the importance of properly strategizing during the process of finding a solution. Epp says the competition is all about pacing yourself and not rushing to solve the problem. He looks forward to this year’s competition because of the opportunities it offers.

“My favorite part about the competition is getting the opportunity to travel, problem -solving with a good team and seeing how we compare to the competition,” Epp said. “It's always hard to know how well you're doing when always surrounded by the same people.”

Students present their final solutions to the competition judges made up of business leaders and company executives, making it an important networking opportunity. Though networking with executives is a plus, Prasanna Tadimeti, a KU MBA student competing for the first time this year, is focused on the importance of interacting with students from competing schools.

“The competition provides a platform to interact with students from other business schools in the region and helps us in understanding where we stand. We learn about their MBA experiences and thus improve ourselves further,” Tadimeti said.

Epp and Tadimeti will compete with Michael Wade Smith and William McCullough for the KU team.

by Mackenzie Leander