Full-Time MBA students Dariana Martre, Matthew Hatton, Matt Bates and dual MBA/MS-mechanical engineering student Nathan Wilson represented the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business at the 10th annual Southeastern Conference MBA Case Competition, hosted by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. The Haslam students brought $1,000 home to Rocky Top for placing fourth in the competition; Martre earned first place as best presenter in Division D of the competition and received a $250 prize.
Martre, whose MBA work focuses on supply chain management and international business, said she was honored to be named best presenter in her division, but reaching the competition finals with her teammates was equally gratifying.
“Our team worked very hard to get here,” she said. “Then, working to solve the business case problem in just a day, we tried to put everything we’ve learned in the MBA program into our solution and present as strong a case as possible to the judges.”
Established in 2013, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) MBA Case Competition provides opportunities for SEC business schools to showcase their students’ skills at solving simulated, real-world problems faced by a large corporation. WestRock, a leading provider of sustainable paper and packaging solutions, served as this year’s case company.
Competing teams had approximately 24 hours to prepare their recommended solutions to the presented business problem. The competitors presented their solution on Saturday to a panel of company executives in divisional and final rounds of competition. WestRock executives were tasked with considering each presentation, identifying four teams to advance to the finals and ultimately ranking the final four teams on Saturday afternoon. The students’ identities and university affiliations were kept anonymous to the judges to ensure the contest’s impartiality.
Although team advisors were not able to communicate with their students after the case was presented on Friday morning, they observed the presentations and offered support after the competition concluded. Laura Williams, program manager for Haslam’s Full-Time MBA Program, and Randy Bradley, associate professor in supply chain management, served as the Haslam team’s advisors.
“I am extremely proud of this team,” Bradley said. “This is one of the toughest case competitions in the country, and the team did a marvelous job pulling their ideas together in a cohesive and compelling manner. This result is a testament to their abilities and trust in each other and the development process.”
Vanderbilt University placed first and received a $10,000 prize; the University of Kentucky placed second and received $6,000; the University of Alabama placed third and received $3,000. Individual division winners for best presenter and best Q&A were awarded $250 each.
Since 2011, the SEC has supported and promoted collaborative programs and activities for its 14 member universities, such as the SEC Student Pitch Competition and the SEC Emerging Scholars Program, among others.
Haslam offers a growing portfolio of graduate and executive education programs designed to help students reach their personal and professional goals. At the master’s level, these programs include the Haslam full-time MBA, Online MBA, Professional MBA, Executive MBA (Global Supply Chain, Healthcare Leadership, Strategic Leadership), Aerospace & Defense MBA, Physician Executive MBA, Master of Accountancy, MS Management and Human Resources, MS Marketing, MS Business Analytics, MS Supply Chain Management Tri‑Continent and MS Supply Chain Management Online.
Haslam’s graduate programs address real-world challenges through an interdisciplinary approach where students develop both analytical and leadership skills. Faculty are industry thought leaders, seasoned practitioners and accomplished researchers who ensure the learning experience applies directly to each participant’s current or future job.
Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist, firstname.lastname@example.org