Business students from around SEC compete in inaugural MBA Case Competition

Saturday, April 13, 2013 | 8:09 p.m. CDT; updated 8:47 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 13, 2013
The University of Florida team accepts their $10,000 award for placing first in the SEC's MBA Case Competition on Saturday at the Trulaske College of Business.

COLUMBIA — Teams from every Southeastern Conference school competed in relative secrecy in Columbia this past week.

In this case, though, the competition took place off the field and in Cornell Hall.


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MU's Trulaske College of Business hosted the conference's debut MBA Case Competition, which ended Saturday afternoon.

The competition involved teams of four Master of Business Administration students from each of the SEC's 14 schools. Teams took on a live case, involving a real business problem from the competition's sponsor, AT&T.

For two days, each team analyzed the problem and proposed a possible solution to a panel of judges including corporate executives and professors.

The exact details of the case remain a secret because it is a real matter of business for the company. Devon Grimme, a member of the winning team from the University of Florida, said it dealt with adapting to changing consumer preferences.

The teams were divided into three divisions, and the winning team from each division advanced to a final round.

At a celebration Saturday, judges awarded $10,000 to the team from the University of Florida. Teams from the University of Arkansas and Texas A&M University came in second and third place, respectively. 

"It's incredible because it's the inaugural year for the SEC, so winning was historic," said Ken Miller, who celebrated with teammates Grimme, Spencer Siegel and Kimberly Thelwell.

MU competed in similar competitions as a member of the Big 12 and wanted to continue the competition as part of the SEC. Business school administrators gauged interest from other SEC business schools before proposing the idea to the SECU, the SEC's academic initiative.

"We thought this would be a way to bring unique experiences to the SEC," said Joan Gabel, dean of the Trulaske College of Business.

The SECU made a three-commitment deal to help start and support the case competition. Alabama will host the competition next year.

Reporter Ian Servantes contributed to this report.

Supervising editor is Zach Murdock.

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