A team of MBA students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business competed in the 2017 SEC MBA Case Competition on April 6-8 at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
James Munoz, Katelyn Bethmann, Steven Rogus and Tony Geist joined MBA students from the 13 other Southeastern Conference (SEC) universities. They had 24 hours to analyze a problem facing Nationwide Insurance and develop a strategy with which to present a panel of judges.
Tara Presnell, interim director of the full-time MBA program, said feedback from the panel showed the Haslam team’s solution could be implemented more quickly than some of the ideas that placed.
“I am proud of the creativity, analysis and recommendations they were able to provide,” Presnell said. “They represented the MBA program and the Haslam College of Business with pride and professionalism.”
Tony Geist won the “Best Q&A” recognition in UT’s category, which contained four schools in total.
“I wouldn't have been able to win this award without the help of my teammates and advisors,” Geist said. “The case competition experience is one giant pressure cooker. We had no idea what the topic would be until we arrived in Gainesville.”
Nationwide Insurance executives presented the case topic early on Friday, April 7, and the teams immediately went to work. Geist said the Haslam team members felt well prepared because they did extensive research before the competition and received coaching from faculty and staff members, including: Randy Bradley, assistant professor of supply chain management, Amy Cathey, executive director of graduate and executive education, Bogdan Bichescu, associate professor of business analytics and statistics, and Adam O'Dell, MBA student development manager.
“They really prepared us for the rigorous questions the judges would ask, and we were thoroughly prepared for anything thrown our way,” Geist said. “We leveraged the strengths of each team member and came up with great results.”