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Sharpening business skills in Scholars case competition

Monday, December 2, 2013
Sharpening business skills in Scholars case competition

School of Business Administration Scholars joined forces this fall to address the obstacles an independent grocer must overcome in the face of prominent, national competition in the latest Case Competition, which was sponsored by Kathy and Ken McCarter MBA ‘85.

During the competition, students addressed the strategic challenges and managerial dilemmas business leaders face regularly. The competing teams must utilize their skills in teamwork, market analysis, market strategy and implementation to develop and present business recommendations to a panel of judges.

In this case, Bob’s Supermarket had been struggling to compete with Walmart, Kroger and Aldi. The owner wanted to investigate different directions that would increase sales and profitability of his independent, family-owned grocery store.

The winning recommendation came from the “A Team,” which included Chantinique Evans, marketing sophomore; Alex Grix, accounting/finance junior; Brodie Lewis, accounting junior; and Laura Tack, accounting sophomore, who each received a Microsoft Surface tablet from the McCarters.

“The winning team was able to create an innovative repositioning strategy that will differentiate the store and carve out a sustainable niche market,” says Joy Jiang, assistant professor, international business, who served as a faculty judge.

Though only one team walked away a winner, all participants benefited from their involvement in the Scholars Case Competition, says SBA Special Instructor Frank Cardimen, who also served as a faculty judge.

“What a unique opportunity offered to each of them to challenge themselves individually and as a group to solve a complex business problem in such a short period of time, and then to make a formal presentation arguing for their recommendation,” Cardimen says.

“Problem-solving in business is essential to reach top management positions. 

Oral presentations require knowledge, commitment, conviction and passion.  Working in a group is also essential in the business world today. The students who competed this year exhibited all of these traits.”

The last of this academic year’s Scholars case competitions -- the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union Scholars Case Competition – takes place Saturday, Feb. 8 noon to 4 p.m. in 239 Elliott Hall.