Students Square off in
Annual Smith Technology Challenge Case
April 25, 2008 marked the final round
of the annual Smith Technology Challenge
Case Competition at the Robert H. Smith
School of Business. The competition is
designed to refine and develop the
strategic thinking and analytical skills
of second-year, part-time MBA students.
Participation in this event is an
academic requirement and began in March
with a Sprint conference call and
culminated with final team presentations
at Van Munching Hall in College Park.
A Sprint business case was selected
and kept secret from all students and
judges until the beginning of the event.
Faculty, corporate friends and alumni
were invited to serve as judges. With
over 40 original teams, only three
advanced to the final round. The
Team TFO, received $5,000 cash prize
($1,000 per student) for the win. Team
TFO members were: Jessica Barton, Gayle
Bowerman, Bill Podurgiel, Patrick Small,
and Brian Weaver.
Final round judges included Atish
Gude, senior vice president of Mobile
Broadband Operations in Sprint Nextel’s
new 4G Mobile Broadband business unit;
Ben Brooks, MBA/MS ’04, director of
strategy and business development at NII
Holdings, Inc.; and Bob Krapfel, PhD,
academic director of MBA programs at
Smith and associate professor of
Krapfel said that the final decision
was unanimous, though the second-place
team had a great presentation and held
interest of the audience with humor and
their strong personalities. Team TFO won
because "they had a better analysis that
reflected a deeper understanding of the
technical and marketplace issues, which
translated into more realistic
recommendations," explained Krapfel.
"Our team has worked together
throughout our time at Smith and that
familiarity was key to our success,"
said Gayle Bowerman. "With just over a
week to prepare for the final round that
camaraderie helped us pull the whole
shebang together by capitalizing on each
other's strengths to present a quality
analysis of the case. We learned a lot
and I found the whole experience to be
second-place team -- Alison Cherry,
Michael Louis, Russell Morton, and Sara
Reedand --received a $300 gift per
third-place team -- John Aspinall,
Kyle Cooke, Jeff Kong, Sindhu Meda, and
Patrick Winemille -- received a $200
gift per student.
Special thanks to final round judges
and Smith School faculty for reviewing
the student papers prior to the
presentation round: Gary Bulmash, Barney
Corwin, Mike Finch, Curt Grimm, Robert
Krapfel, Sunil Mithas, Wendy Moe,
Charley Olson, Nagpurnanand Prabhala,
Joyce Russell, and Janet Wagner.
Congratulations to all part-time MBA
students who participated in the event!
- Alissa Arford-Leyl, Office of