College of Business to host Big 12 North MBA Team Case Competition

AMES, Iowa -- A different type of Big 12 Conference North Division champion will be crowned on Saturday, Feb. 17, when Iowa State University's College of Business hosts teams from Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Nebraska for a preliminary round of the inaugural Big 12 MBA Case Competition. The competition will take place in ISU's Gerdin Business Building.

The six, four-person teams of MBA students will be given 24 hours to analyze a Harvard-style strategic management case, which will be announced to teams on Friday, Feb. 16. The teams will present their findings and recommendations to a panel of judges, composed of business executives and a lead faculty judge who will serve as the company's board of directors. The final presentations and question-and-answer sessions with the judges will take place on Feb. 17 between 9 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., and 1 to 4:15 p.m., respectively. The competition will be televised live in Gerdin Room 2127, and is free and open to the public.

"The case competition showcases the talents of top MBA students who apply their creative skills and problem-solving abilities to a company facing strategic issues in a prepared business case," said Ron Ackerman, director of graduate admissions and student services for ISU's College of Business and one of the competition's organizers.

The top two teams from both ISU's Big 12 North event and a simultaneous Big 12 South competition at the University of Oklahoma will advance to the "Final Four" round of the Big 12 MBA Case Competition. It will be held at the University of Oklahoma March 9-11 -- at the same time and near the location of the Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship Tournament in Oklahoma City. Organizers hope to make this an annual event linked to the conference men's basketball tournament.

"The primary purposes of the Big 12 MBA Case Competition are to provide an exciting learning and networking opportunity for our students, a vehicle for increased collaboration among the business schools in the conference, and to showcase the business schools of the conference and provide national exposure," said Michael Crum, associate dean for graduate programs in ISU's College of Business. "It was the latter objective that led to the decision to hold the final round of the case competition during one of the Big 12 Conference's premier athletic events -- the men's basketball tournament. With these two events occurring simultaneously, a spirited and challenging stage has been created where young people can compete -- exercising their minds and their bodies, in the classroom and on the basketball floor, and strive to be the best."

The Big 12 event is an expansion of the MBA Case Competition which had been conducted at the University of Oklahoma since 2003. To date, 10 of the 12 conference schools have committed to participate in this initial conference event -- including all six North Division schools.

Members of the Iowa State MBA team include Michael Conger of Ames, Elizabeth Hattery of Nevada, Doug Van Werden of Osceola, and Tharangi Ranasinghe of Pannipitiya, Sri Lanka. The team's faculty coach is Professor of Management Brad Shrader. Michael Crum, an associate dean in the College of Business, also has been involved with planning the competition at Iowa State.