Haslam Team Places Second, Earns $10K in Minority Case Competition

February 21, 2024

A team of MBA students from the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, took home the second-place trophy and a $10,000 prize in the Howard University MBA Exclusive Case Competition last fall. First-place and $12,000 went to a Johns Hopkins University team, and The Ohio State team earned third place and $8,000.

Other colleges competing in the competition included Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Suffolk University, University of Alabama, University of Rochester and Washington University. Washington, D.C.’s Howard University hosted this minority case competition, in which 50 percent of each team must be comprised of individuals from an African American or Hispanic American minority group.

Full-time MBA students Anthony “Tony” Gunn, Emma “Em” Strieter and Antonio Terrell made up Haslam’s team, with Lillia “Lily” Hendrickson acting as alternate. Randy V. Bradley, associate professor in supply chain management and Haslam Family Faculty Research Fellow, served as the team’s advisor.

The Challenge: Help the Federal Government Drive Innovation

The NobleReach Foundation provided the competition’s case challenge. Teams developed proposals to help the U.S. government harness the country’s vast private entrepreneurial ecosystem to address crucial challenges in U.S. infrastructure, including climate, energy, digital and security. The teams crafted visionary, yet actionable, strategies that drew on the nation’s rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship, and they ensured key benefits and cost elements were identified and included.

Teams were required to devise their solutions without assistance from advisors, coaches, faculty, staff or outside experts. Each team presented its findings and participated in a question-and-answer session with a panel of judges, which selected the top three teams to move on in the competition. These teams then delivered their presentations to a second set of judges who also presented a round of questions.

Judges evaluated teams in both rounds on the quality of their analysis, their recommendations’ creativity, clarity and viability, along with the use of case facts and data, their oral presentation’s quality and style, their answers in the Q&A sessions and overall team participation. According to Bradley, the judges praised the Haslam team for its depth of analysis and a bold and transformative recommendation.

Showcasing Students’ Knowledge and Talents

Bradley explained that the team’s competition performance is a result of hours of preparation and practice.

“Our students take case competitions seriously and do the necessary work to be ready when the challenge comes,” he said. “When they received the case problem, using their creativity, they applied what they have learned in their coursework and presentation practices. And when the judges asked their questions, they were able to give thorough and insightful responses. We are thrilled with their competition performance, which was an accomplishment to be proud of.”

Tony Gunn, a Haslam graduate teaching assistant and the team’s leader, called the experience challenging but confidence building.

“We only had one week to prepare for this, and we succeeded,” Gunn said. “It required many hours of sitting with our ideas and ensuring we were thorough. We have the most amazing team, each one of us bringing something unique to the table. We believed in one another, and we believed in our advisor, Dr. Bradley. The Howard Competition showed us that we can be excellent in whatever we put our minds to.”

Gunn added that the team members’ participation in the competition helped prepare them for stepping into their business careers.

“This developed our consulting skills beyond a doubt,” he explained. “The world is full of issues that need to be addressed, and I am confident that Dr, Bradley has given us the framework to solve complex problems in the world of business. None of this could be possible without the team. For Em, Antonio and Lily, I will forever be grateful. Now it is time for us to conquer the next competition.”

About the Haslam College of Business Graduate and Executive Education Programs

At the master’s level, Haslam offers the following programs: the Haslam (full-time) MBA, Online MBA, Professional MBA, Executive MBA (Global Supply Chain, Healthcare Leadership, Strategic Leadership), Aerospace and Defense MBA, Physician Executive MBA, Master of Accountancy, Master of Science in Management and Human Resources, Master of Science in Marketing, Master of Science in Business Analytics, Master of Science in Business Analytics for Working Professionals, Master of Statistics, Master of Arts in Economics, Master of Science in Supply Chain Management Tri-Continent, Master of Science in Supply Chain Management Online and Master of Science in Business Cybersecurity. Doctoral program areas include accounting, business analytics and statistics, economics, finance, marketing, strategy, entrepreneurship and organizations and supply chain management.

Haslam’s graduate and executive programs address real-world challenges through an interdisciplinary approach that supports development of analytical and leadership skills. Its faculty are industry thought leaders, seasoned practitioners and accomplished researchers who ensure the learning experience applies directly to each participant’s current or future career.


Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist, rmcnutt4@utk.edu