February 18, 2003


LOS ANGELES — Competing with the world's top-tier business schools, a team of four Anderson School MBA students was recognized for "Outstanding Consulting Practice" at the first invitational Marshall MBA Global Consulting Challenge at USC. The consulting challenge included student teams from eight top business schools to compete for a prize of $3,000. The presentations took place February 6-7, 2003 in Los Angeles.

This year's consulting challenge competitors consisted of students from The Anderson School at UCLA, The Haas School of Business, Kellogg, The London Business School, University of Michigan, Wharton, Marshall and The Yale School of Management.

The Anderson team selected to participate in the challenge consisted of MBA students John Pugliese, John Baudino, Sumant Sridharan and Michael Smith.

The competition information was given in phases to the students and began in early December 2002, when student teams were told to analyze the telecommunications industry. A few weeks later they were instructed to study the wireless industry and eventually were told to specifically analyze Cingular Wireless, one of the nation's largest wireless carriers.

There were three specific categories for the competition: company recommendation, industry recommendation and outstanding consulting. Each team had to prepare separate presentations and reports for each category and participate in grueling Q&A sessions from the judges. The judging criteria were based on analysis, content, the Q&A sessions and presentation skills.

Anderson's competition team, named "SansWire," proved their consulting expertise through a well thought-out business plan with an emphasis on customer satisfaction that impressed the judging panel of seasoned consulting professionals.

"Our focus for Cingular Wireless was on retaining customers and we recommended that Cingular offer rewards for loyal customers, such as coupons, upgrades and other incentives," said Anderson team member John Pugliese. "We weren't afraid to go against the grain and challenge the direction that the wireless industry was headed."

"Our business plans were more specific than most," said Michael Smith. "We felt we did particularly well in the Q&A for the consulting presentation and our ideas spoke well to the consultants."

The consulting challenge judges included:

  • Peter R. Giuliono, Deloitte Consulting
  • John C. Jefferson, SBC
  • Srikanth Machala, Trianz
  • Sid Valluri, Hilltop Innovation Inc.
  • Amir Mahini, Mahini & Associates
  • Mark Desautells, Cellular Telecom & Internet Association
  • Derrick Hamilton, SBC Network Services
  • Charles Yoon, Brentwood Associates
  • William Cumbie, Cingular Wireless
  • Leo Griffin, Monitor Group
  • Wayne Harvey, Cingular Wireless

The University of Michigan Business School won the overall competition and a prize of $3,000 for their exceptional knowledge of client needs, solid analysis and risky corporate recommendations.

"We learned that events like this competition truly pull together your fundamental learning and research skills and are augmented with real world requirements such as teamwork, project management and presentation," said Pugliese. "The experience our team shared was the true prize and is something we will never forget."

About The Anderson School at UCLA
The Anderson School at UCLA is perennially ranked among the top-tier business schools in the world. Award-winning faculty renowned for their research and teaching, highly selective admissions, successful alumni and world-class facilities combine to provide an extraordinary learning environment. Established in 1935, The Anderson School provides management education to more than 1,300 students enrolled in full-time, part-time and executive MBA programs and doctoral programs.

The Anderson School's faculty includes outstanding educators and researchers who share their scholarship and expertise in such fundamental areas as finance, marketing, accounting, business economics, decision sciences, operations and technology management, human resources and organizational behavior, information systems, strategy and policy.

Recognizing that the school offers unparalleled expertise in management education, the world's business community turns to The Anderson School at UCLA as a center of influence for the ideas, innovations, strategies and talent that will shape the future.

Media Relations