Darden School Triumphs at Deloitte’s Second Annual National Case Competition

Michelle Remo, “Big 4″ observer
January 10, 2012 /

A team from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business has won the second annual National Case Competition held at Deloitte University’s landmark campus for learning and leadership development near Dallas, Texas.

Comprised of first-year MBA students Samuel He Huang, Tarun Keswani, Daniel Lee and Sarah Washabaugh— Darden’s team won the top prize of $20,000.

Sixteen finalist student teams from America’s top MBA programs competed in the evaluation of a complex business issue for Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing Company. Each team was provided with business case details and a 12-hour time limit to test students’ critical thinking, strategic problem-solving and marketplace knowledge.

“Because we focus daily on helping companies solve complex business problems, it’s quite invigorating to watch some of today’s top business school students do the same in a far more compressed timeframe,” said Mike Canning, national managing director, Strategy & Operations practice, Deloitte Consulting LLP, who served as one of the judges for the competition.

“This year’s competition was particularly close, so a well-deserved kudos is in order for all 16 finalist teams.”

SweetWater co-founder and “Big Kahuna” Freddy Bensch added, “At the speed we have been brewing, drinking and growing our pipedream for the past 15 years, we’ve learned many lessons along the way.

“This competition offered unique insights and fresh perspectives on the real world opportunities SweetWater has been working on for months. I was glad to see the teams deliver as well as they did; in fact, a few of these folks earned some free beer next time they visit the brewery!”

University of Chicago Booth School of Business, won the second place with $10,000 prize. The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, garnered the third place, with $6,000. Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), won the fourth place, with $3,000.

During the case study competition, teams’ work was evaluated by judges including Martin Arias, Director of Corporate Finance, Coca Cola FEMSA; Nick Benz, chief operating officer, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Paul Early, vice president of strategy, Carlson Restaurants; Jenna Fagnan, president, Tequila Avion; Dave Guender, director of sales, SweetWater Brewing Company; James Hallam, vice president of marketing, Ben E. Keith Company; and Matt Witherell, vice president of national accounts – Walmart for MillerCoors.

“In the second year of this competition, we continue to be very focused on exposing some of the country’s top MBA students to strategy and operations challenges facing companies today,” said Shaun Budnik, president, Deloitte Foundation.

“This program is a great way for them to apply their in-classroom learnings to real world business issues while building their skills set. We are encouraged by the teams who participated this year as they are the business leaders of tomorrow.”


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