Smith Undergrads Take First Place in Prestigious
Wake Forest Marketing Summit
Spending 36 hours straight with the same group of people would generally turn
off most students, but a team of four undergraduates from the University of Maryland’s
Robert H. Smith School of Business enthusiastically did so in February 2013 as part
of the Wake Forest Marketing Summit, a case competition held annually at WFU’s campus
in Winston-Salem, NC. After nearly two days of intense competition that culminated
in a final presentation to case sponsor FedEx, the students returned triumphantly
to College Park with the first place trophy and $10,000 in prize winnings.
This is the sixth year in a row that Smith School undergraduates have applied
to and been selected to attend the Marketing Summit, a competition that attracts
top business programs from around the world. Among the finalists in the undergraduate
competition were Northeastern University (2nd Place), the Wharton School at the
University of Pennsylvania (3rd Place), Boston College, and Wake Forest University.
More than 60 teams competed for six MBA and five undergraduate spots this year,
one of the highest numbers of applications in the history of the competition.
Following a guided facility tour, the 2013 Marketing Summit kicked off at the
FedEx Ground Greensboro distribution center with team introductions, remarks from
FedEx executives and WFU contributors, and even an exhibition of the FedEx NASCAR
race car. Once the festivities were over, however, the teams returned to campus
to receive the case, officially marking the beginning of the competition. Though
the teams spent most of the weekend working in their respective study rooms, students
had the opportunity to attend a Q&A session with FedEx representatives and also
a panel of FedEx’s current customers, both of which proved invaluable to the team’s
It has become a Smith School tradition over the last six years to establish a
diverse a team composition in order to create the perfect combination of talents,
experiences, and backgrounds, and this year’s team evidently upheld that tradition.
Team veterans Manas Kulkarni (senior, marketing and operations management) and Lauren
Wittig (senior, marketing & supply chain management) returned to the team having
placed second at last year’s Marketing Summit. The Smith School team won the competition
in 2009 and placed third in both 2010 and 2011. New team members Lindsay Djuhadi
(junior, marketing) and Jack Rupple (sophomore, intended marketing), provided a
fresh new perspective that was integral to the team’s innovative spirit.
“Our team’s success was largely attributed to how well we complemented each other,”
explains team co-captain Manas Kulkarni. “Each person was encouraged to leverage both
their strengths and interests to work on the most appropriate part of the case,
but we never hesitated to lend each other a hand when necessary. And of course,
it helps to have three other functioning minds when you inevitably face the consequences
of sleep deprivation!”
Many Marketing Summit volunteers noted that the team’s energy and optimism was
contagious. Co-captain Lauren Wittig, states, “We went into the competition
extremely excited and honored to be there and our high spirits and love for one
another continued throughout the entire competition!”
This year’s team was fortunate to have previously worked together in multiple
capacities as heavily involved members of terpAMA, the Smith School’s collegiate
chapter of the American Marketing Association.
Though the content of the case as well as the team recommendations are unavailable
to the general public under FedEx’s non-disclosure agreement, Marketing Manager
Sandy Jones made a concerted effort to note that the team “blew [them] away with
its overall presentation, quality of materials and attention to design.” Jones approached
the team after the awards ceremony to reiterate that she was excited to bring back
the recommendations to her team at FedEx in hopes of implementing them in the near
As the winner, the Smith School automatically has an invitation to return to
the Summit next year. Though most details are still unknown, one thing is certain.
In 2014, the Terps have a title to defend.
For more information on the Wake Forest Marketing Summit – including competing
teams, videos, photos, blogs and news feeds – visit:
About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader
in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the
University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate,
full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive
education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The
school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning
locations in North America and Asia.
Manas Kulkarni, Senior (Marketing and Operations Management), Office of Marketing