Iowa State College of Business to host Big 12 MBA Case Competition April 23-24

AMES, Iowa - Teams representing nearly all the schools in the Big 12 Conference will converge on Iowa State University on Friday and Saturday, April 23-24, to compete for a championship unlike any other on the playing field. Team members will battle in the boardroom at ISU's Gerdin Business Building for the title in the fourth annual Big 12 MBA Case Competition, hosted by the Iowa State's College of Business.

"The case competition is truly a collaborative event among our conference schools," said Ron Ackerman, director of graduate admissions and student services for ISU's College of Business and one of the competition's organizers. "It gives some of our best students an opportunity to compete, not in athletics, but in academics."

Groups of four MBA students will analyze a Harvard-style general business policy/strategic management case, which will be announced to teams on Friday, April 23. After a demanding day of deliberation, 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.

Teams will compete Saturday in preliminary competition starting at 8:30 a.m. for three spots to advance to the final round that afternoon. The competition is not open to the public.

"Preparing for such a competition is difficult because the case that is decided upon can cover any range of issues," said Iowa State MBA team member and graduate student Dan Hinz. "Having to theoretically save a company, or destroy a competitor, with only 14 pages of information and 24 hours is a daunting task. The competition style is intense, stressful and demanding. It makes developing the same solutions over any period of longer time seem like a cake walk."

Presentations by the three finalists and question-and-answer sessions with the judges will take place on April 24 from 1 to 3:15 p.m., with the judges' final deliberations at 3:45 p.m. The final round judges include:
• Paul Friga, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
• Bankers Trust President and CEO Suku Radia
• University of California Davis Medical Center CEO Ann Madden Rice
• Principal Financial Group Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Services Ralph Eucher
• Frontier Communications Vice President of Consumer Marketing Jill Wagner.

A banquet and awards ceremony will follow at 4 p.m.

"The competition is a real learning experience for MBA students," said Ackerman. "The business case is a real company facing complex strategic issues. Students learn to analyze the issues and to explore alternative solutions. Participants then must effectively communicate their ideas to experienced business people who have faced similar challenges in their own companies."

The Iowa State MBA team members include Dan Hinz, Corning, Iowa; Scott Groh, Thornton, Iowa; Srivani Harish, Bangalore, India; and Gayathri Samarasingha, Colombo, Sri Lanka. The faculty advisors for the team are Professor of Finance Roger Stover and Assistant Professor of Management Andreas Schwab.

More information on the 2010 Big 12 Case Competition is at