A team of undergraduate students from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business competed with teams from around the country at the 22nd Annual Marketing Summit presented by Wake Forest University in February 2012, ultimately placing second and winning a cash prize of $3,000.
Prannoy Nambiar is a Smith School senior and one part of the four-person team that competed this year. He says case competitions complement classroom learning.
“What I’ve realized about case competitions, especially in The Marketing Summit, is the sponsors are giving you real world problems that they are tackling themselves,” Nambiar says. “The competition gives you a head start on identifying ideas and solutions.”
The Smith School team included seniors Nambiar and Brett Cullen as well as juniors Manas Kulkarni and Lauren Wittig.
At the weekend Summit, team members were able to network at a reception before cases were distributed on Thursday evening. From that point, each team had 36 hours to develop a strategy, research claims, and develop an eye-catching presentation.
The case competition was held Saturday afternoon. After the team presentations wrapped, participants were treated to a gala dinner where the winners were announced.
Teams from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and Wake Forest University placed first and third in the undergraduate competition, respectively. In the MBA competition, teams from the University of Chicago, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business placed first, second, and third, respectively.
Cash prizes for the winning teams totaled more than $100,000.
Nambiar represented the Smith School during last year’s Marketing Summit, where the team placed third. He says the lessons he learned during last year’s Summit helped prepare him for this year’s summit.
“We didn’t do as much brainstorming,” Nambiar says of his 2012 team. “We spent more time developing a strategy and then jumping right into making the Powerpoint slides and deliverables.”
Before the Summit, Nambiar and the other members of the Smith School team joined 80 teams in submitting a mini-case, team resumes, and a light-hearted video introduction as an application. From that pool, eight teams were invited to compete in the MBA-level competition and 6 teams were invited to compete in the undergraduate-level competition.
The annual summit is organized by Wake Forest University and features cases written by Wake Forest MBA candidates. Sponsors change from year to year. BB&T sponsored the 2012 undergraduate case competition and Hanes Brands sponsored the MBA competition.
When asked what he did to prepare for the case competition, Nambiar emphasized the importance of getting an early start.
“Prepare your strategy and sleep before you get there,” Nambiar says. “Afterward there isn’t much time for either.”
Damien Power, MBA Candidate 2013, Smith Media Group