Left to right: Hameed Hirani, Melanie Chuen, Emily Todd, Ankita Baxi and Terri Petmezas
By Ankita Baxi
Our team captain excitedly included that message while forwarding us the case for Kellogg’s Annual Healthcare and Biotech Case Competition. As we all read the topic, we started to share a flurry of ideas, opinions and observations over email.
The topic of the case was whether direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing is bad for society and whether it should be banned. DTC marketing has many shades of gray and impacts multiple stakeholders. It spurs a debate about the need for patients to be better informed, the position health care providers should play in prescribing decisions and how pharmaceutical marketing budgets impact drug prices.
This was a fairly complex problem to tackle. In the week we had to put together our point of view and presentation, many aspects of our team experience and approach became key drivers for success in the competition:
By Tim Calkins
This weekend, eleven teams of students from nine different business schools will gather at Northwestern to participate in the annual Kellogg Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition. Many of the teams will travel a great distance to attend: teams are flying in from cities ranging from San Francisco (from Haas-Berkeley) and Los Angeles (from Anderson-UCLA) to London (from Said-Oxford) and Washington, D.C. (from McDonough-Georgetown).
This event is one of the oldest and best known healthcare case competitions. For more than a decade, teams have been meeting in January to consider some complicated healthcare questions. This year more than thirty teams applied to participate. The 11 teams invited to attend are impressive.
So what is the appeal? Why do students devote time and energy to travel to Chicago in the middle of the winter to participate?
Our first-round submission to the Wake Forest University Marketing Analytics Summit began late on a Saturday night this past winter. Our team was excited to put together a video about ourselves and a five-slide analysis on the carbonated beverage industry.
We worked efficiently and braved a blizzard to complete our video and analysis, and we were thrilled to be invited to the semifinals with seven other MBA teams.
In the springtime semifinals, we had one week to analyze our next case: how to get consumers to use their mobile phones in grocery stores? It was a busy time of year because we just returned from spring break, and we had to balance the new case with our normal schoolwork. But with our priorities aligned, we put in the time to research, analyze, design and practice that week.
We arrived in Winston-Salem, N.C., and rehearsed our presentation until 2 a.m. Up early to practice, we headed over to Wake Forest University’s School of Business for semifinal presentations. We presented to a panel of five judges and left the room feeling it went well, but wondering if the judges felt the same.
After a cancelled flight from Chicago, three calls to exceptionally patient customer service agents, a hasty rebooking, a diversion to New York and a train ride through New Jersey, KJ Plank, Dan Metzel and I finally reached Wharton’s Huntsman Hall. It was less than an hour before the scheduled start of the second annual Wharton People Analytics Case Competition, where we would present to a panel of 15 judges from our client organization, academia and industry.
Luckily, we’d arrived with just enough time to take a few deep breaths.
The three of us traveled to Philadelphia because we were inspired by the mission of YearUp, the client organization for the competition. YearUp is a non-profit that bridges the opportunity divide for urban young adults through job skills training and higher education.
YearUp generously provided millions of real-world data points—sanitized for anonymity—on how they assess and mentor their students, and how their graduates performed after leaving the program. More than 20 teams from top MBA and data-science programs accepted the challenge to draw meaningful insights from this panoply of human interaction, summarized in rows on a half-dozen spreadsheets.
Matt Heintz, Andry Lesmana and Bora Sekeral represented Kellogg at the Deloitte National Case Competition in January. Here, the three reflect on how their team came to be, what the competition was like and what they learned from the experience.
Our original team was formed serendipitously and through a comedy of errors.
Matt showed up to the kick-off meeting thinking it was just an info session. He quickly realized the competition was kicking off immediately and that our team’s school-wide presentation was due in two days. Andry and Matt pulled a team together within the next 12 hours, and off we went to beat the clock.
We presented along with other Kellogg teams to a group of judges from the Deloitte Chicago office, where we were honored to take first place. Winning the school-level competition opened the door to compete with 14 other teams from top MBA programs across the nation.
Two teams of Kellogg students recently escaped Chicago’s winter for the sun in Los Angeles to compete in the Media and Entertainment Case Competition at UCLA’s Annual Pulse Conference.
The conference hosted a series of panels that spanned the gamut of media and entertainment industries. With representatives from Hulu, Lionsgate, Spotify, and Live Nation, just to name a few, the conference certainly wasn’t lacking on insight from impactful leaders.
This year was the first year UCLA incorporated a case competition into the conference. Paramount Pictures sponsored the event, challenging teams to create a strategy to overcome diminishing margins in a world of mobile media consumption and streaming services. Sixteen teams from nine different schools were put to the task. Our team was really excited to tackle this prompt since each of us shares a passion for navigating the tumultuous digital media landscape.
Each team was given a week to come up with a solution to the prompt. We then presented to a panel of judges that included representatives from Paramount, UCLA Anderson and other industry experts. From our brainstorming process up until we put the finishing touches on our presentation, we came away with a handful of valuable insights.
Kellogg Two-Year students Rochelle Hua and Cindy Ye, along with McCormick graduate student Kevin Shi, all ’15, took top honors at the Suzhou New District, technological innovation and entrepreneurship leader competition last month. The team won $5 million yuan (RMB) — or more than $800,000 in U.S. dollars — in cash and prizes for co-founding a food and nutrition startup in Suzhou, a major city in the Jiangsu province of Eastern China.
The startup, Kosmode Biotechnology Co., Ltd., focuses on commercializing food science technologies for general consumer use. Their first proposed product is a cranberry-based supplement that would help cure urinary tract infections.