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Moore School students impress judges in unique ethics-based case competition

April 04, 2013

Following a big win in February by a team of Darla Moore School of Business undergraduate students in Montreal at one of the world’s top business case competitions, a team of Moore School MBA students garnered second place in the annual ethics-based Race & Case competition held at the University of Denver March 1–2. 

The event is unique in that it comprises two distinct competitions. First, teams deliver a 20-minute presentation of a business case involving managerial ethics for a real-word business—in this case, it was Recreational Equipment, Inc., better known as REI. Afterward, the teams participate in a showdown on an official NASTAR ski course. Scores are weighted 80 percent on the case competition and 20 percent on the ski/snowboard race. This year’s winning team represented the University of Utah.

According to Professor Patrick DeMouy, who has coached Moore School case competition teams since 2000, the Race & Case challenge this year was to devise a strategy to make certain that the sustainable initiatives REI has already implemented can deliver additional profitability. 

“REI is very much about how to drive profit—how to show that you can be green and also black in terms of profit and the bottom line,” he said. “The judges wanted us to bring our strategy into an overall ethical framework.”

The students who participated in the 2013 Race & Case event were Liz Buncher, Jeff Fralick, Caroline Osborne, Ramya Ramesh, Darren Sheinberg and Oana Vlad.

Other Moore School teams are preparing for three case competitions occurring this month. The first is the International Undergraduate Case Competition at Royal Roads University in Victoria, Canada, on April 4–6. In all, 20 teams are participating in this year’s event. The teams are given three cases, with three hours to analyze each case and create a 15- to 20-minute presentation. At the end of those cases, the teams with the top four cumulative scores then compete in a final case study. Moore School teams have won this competition three of the four years in which the school has competed, including last year’s event. 

Next, a team of Moore School graduate students will compete against 13 other teams in the first-ever Southeastern Conference (SEC) MBA Case Competition, to be held April 11–13 at the University of Missouri. The teams will get the case on Friday morning and will have 24 hours to put together their plan of action. The preliminary round will consist of three divisions; teams will draw for division placement on Saturday morning. The top-scoring team from each division will advance to a final round.

While the SEC event is taking place, a third Moore School team will travel to New Orleans to participate in a finance case competition for MBA students at Tulane University on April 12. In this competition, seven teams will be given the case challenge the morning of the event and will have five hours to develop their presentations. To prepare, DeMouy said his students are reviewing the applicability of different financial models in various situations so they can hone their ability to analyze a case and come to a decision quickly. He noted that the students would not have Internet access during this competition.

Congratulations to the teams on their successes in Montreal and Denver, and best of luck to the teams that will be participating in this month’s case competitions.

By Lisa Wilhelm

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