Marshall MBAs Clean Up in Case Competition

USC Marshall School of Business MBA students placed both first and third at the inaugural MBA Technology Innovation Challenge virtual case competition. The competition, sponsored by Deloitte Consulting and Target, drew 103 teams from the 30 top business schools across the country from which Deloitte recruits MBA talent.

Participating students were presented the challenge of creating an innovative solution to help Target grow in today’s evolving retail landscape. In two weeks, students developed strategies and pitched their inventive visions in three-to-five minute video submissions. These were then judged by representatives from Deloitte Consulting’s Technology practice and Target’s Enterprise Strategy group.Marshall’s first-place team was comprised of Shivam Verma, Karen Rudy, Olga Levchik and Jonathan Weng. The team took a creative approach and recommended that Target should move to enhance their already-strong guest relationships through gamification, personalization and loyalty rewards.

“Our solution addressed some of the key challenges facing brick-and-mortar retailers today: growing web sales, unifying the online and offline experience, and engaging young, tech-savvy consumers,” said Rudy. “I think the Target team appreciated that our solution wasn’t too ‘pie in the sky,’ but addressed real problems and could be implemented within a two-year timeframe.”

Marshall’s third-place team was made up of Holden Capriotti, Ian Lauridsen, Manny Lopez and Angella Nguyen, who proposed that Target institute same-day delivery.

Marshall entered nine teams in the virtual competition. Six advanced to the second round, which had 30 teams; and two made it to the final round of 12 teams. All of the students were first-year full-time MBAs.

Marshall MBAs are no strangers to winning—The case teams’ track record walks the walk.

“In 2012-2013, we placed in the top three in almost half (48 percent) of the competitions we competed in,” said Anne Ziemniak, associate director of the full-time MBA program. “So far this year, we’ve competed in 17 competitions, with six first-place finishes, three second-place finishes and two third-place finishes.”


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