March 11, 2005

The Dream Team won Deloitte Consulting's Case Competition LOS ANGELES — It wasn’t the Olympics, but it may as well have been, as 23 teams of four to five UCLA Anderson students contended for top honors during the 12th annual Deloitte Consulting Case Competition, which was held in late January at UCLA Anderson.  At the conclusion of preliminary and final round presentations, Dream Team came out on top — but all of the 109 first-year MBA and second-year Fully Employed MBA (FEMBA) students who participated walked away with a winning experience.

This year’s case revolved around the analysis of strategic growth options being considered for the beverage division of Hagan & Company, a fictional food processing company based in Berlin, Germany.  The division president wanted to bolster growth by making an acquisition that would increase the number of beverage units in existing geographic markets.  Two potential targets had been identified and the case participants had an objective of recommending whether Hagan & Company should acquire either, both or neither of the two targets.

As case competitions go, the Deloitte Consulting Case Competition had all of the elements that make these exercises challenging, exciting, daunting and exhilarating (sometimes all at once):  a real-life business situation, time-compressed deadlines, team competition, marathon strategy sessions, peer-to-peer camaraderie and smart, talented individuals who bring to the table intellectual discipline, myriad skills and some plain, old-fashioned elbow grease.

“The value of these competitions is that they provide MBA students with a perspective of business problems beyond what they learn in a classroom,” said Bruce Willison, dean of UCLA Anderson School of Management.  “Students essentially get the opportunity to test their skills.

“UCLA Anderson is fortunate to be the sole business school at which Deloitte Consulting sponsors a case competition,” added Willison.  “This effort is just one of many that demonstrates Deloitte’s commitment to our school in particular and higher education in general.”

The Deloitte Consulting Case Competition is organized by Deloitte’s recruiting event planner Kerri Oliveira, along with UCLA Anderson’s MBA Student Services team, including Susan Corley and Lynn Foxx.  The competition enables students to focus on a broad business problem that requires them to integrate many management disciplines, like supply chain management, marketing and finance, into their analysis and strategic thinking. 

“In the classroom, students often focus on one particular aspect of a case study,” said Phil Han, associate director of UCLA Anderson’s Parker Career Management Center.  Han, who served as a judge for the first round of the Deloitte Case Competition, also noted that case competitions provide excellent learning experiences for students — ones in which they can highlight (and sometimes showcase) both their analytical skills and presentation abilities. 

“Students come away from the competition having discovered both strengths and weaknesses in their analytical and presentation abilities,” said Han, who as an MBA student, participated in many case competitions.  “They also experience the team dynamics that go along in working on a consulting project.”

Starting out with 23 teams on a Saturday morning, by midday the competition was paired down to just five finalists, whose names are as varied as the backgrounds of the individuals on them:

  • 110% Utilization
  • Successful Business Solutions
  • Dream Team
  • Purple Cobras 
  • Brain & Co.

Just as in the preliminary round, finalists had a total of 35 minutes to make and defend their recommendations, including 10 minutes to respond to questions from the judges.  Final round judges (who also judged the preliminary round) were as follows:

  • Jim Aggen (FEMBA’04), Managing Director, Center for International Business Education and Research, UCLA Anderson School of Management 
  • Caroline Cicchetti (FEMBA’02), Senior Consultant, Deloitte Consulting
  • Jeff Watts, Partner, Deloitte Consulting

In both rounds of presentations, the teams were evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Presentation Style (25%) 
  • Presentation Content (50%) 
  • Q&A Discussion (25%)

In their observations of the teams, judges commented that most teams did a solid job analyzing the data and coming up with recommendations.  What varied most was how the teams presented — in both the preliminary and final rounds.  While some teams had clearly orchestrated their presentations with polished delivery, others perhaps concentrated more on the content of their recommendations and less on rehearsals.

One judge noted that some teams “treated [the case] as a homework assignment,” while others took it on as if were their job.  That same judge also noted teams that “looked at the big picture had strong arguments for their recommendations and could back them up.”

The members of the winning Dream Team (all first-year MBA students) are:
Noam Bergelson (Captain)
Peter Allen
Nicole Lewis
Deirdre Owens
Katherine Schneider

Each team member received $1,000 in prize money.  Additionally, each member of the other four final teams each received $100.

The other preliminary round judges were as follows:

UCLA Anderson faculty and staff:
Prof. Chris Tang, Edward W. Carter Chair in Business Administration
Prof. William Ouchi, Sanford and Betty Sigoloff Chair in Corporate Renewal
Dr. Robert Spich, Senior Lecturer and Faculty Program Director, Center for International Business Education and Research
Phil Han, Associate Director, Parker Career Management Center

Deloitte Consulting staff:
Dick Kleinert, Partner
Harlan Irvine, Partner
David Woodruff, Senior Manager

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management 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.  UCLA Anderson students are part of a culture that values individual vision, intellectual discipline and a sense of teamwork and collegiality.

Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson School of Management provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in MBA and doctoral programs, and some 2,000 executives and managers enrolled annually in executive education programs.  Recognizing that the school offers unparalleled expertise in management education, the world's business community turns to UCLA Anderson School of Management as a center of influence for the ideas, innovations, strategies and talent that will shape the future.

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