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Finalists named in premier MBA case competition at Vanderbilt; MBA students to present strategies on future of interactive TV

Jan. 25, 2002, 2:28 PM

January 25, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Six teams of MBA students from top business schools have been named as finalists in the Owen@Vanderbilt eStrategy Contest, to be held at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University next month. The contest is the largest case competition of its kind, awarding the winning team a check for $25,000.

The finalists, chosen by a group of judges from Microsoft, will compete at the Owen School in Nashville on Feb. 16. Those teams represent the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, the Eller Graduate School of Management at the University of Arizona and Vanderbilt’s Owen School, which will have two teams in the competition.

Business school students were invited to participate in the third annual competition by devising a strategy for the emerging interactive television market. Forty-one student teams from 20 business schools across the United States entered the first round of competition in January.

For the final round of competition, the student teams expand on their first round submissions, going into considerably more depth and making final presentations before a panel of judges. They will analyze the U.S. interactive television market, identifying the opportunities and challenges that exist, and develop strategic recommendations and a detailed business model for execution of the plan. They will make their final presentations before a panel of judges to include representatives of Microsoft, KPMG Consulting and Gaylord Entertainment.

Sponsors of the 2002 contest include Microsoft, Gaylord Entertainment and Compaq. Chris Wimmer, iTV strategist for the Microsoft TV Group, will be the keynote speaker for the Feb.16 awards ceremony.

The case for this competition was written by Mike Scanlon, the Owen student who is directing this year’s competition. Considerable effort was made to ensure that the students are faced with real issues that the industry faces as it tries to grow market share for interactive television in the United States.

Teams can consist of up to five students from a school, with the students having strengths in any area of study within the MBA curriculum. “Many times the teams will be made up of people with diverse interests–maybe marketing, finance and operations management,” according to Scanlon.

Students are attracted to the Owen@Vanderbilt eStrategy Contest not only because of the $25,000 purse, but also for the experience they acquire working on a team to solve a problem. “It’s good exposure for students who are in the market for internships and full-time positions. Anything students can do to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack is extremely important in today’s competitive job market,” Scanlon explained. “And there are also the bragging rights that come with winning this competition,” he said.

A team from the University of Michigan won last year’s competition, which asked for a plan to make AT&T the leader in the U.S. wireless Internet market.

For details about the Owen@Vanderbilt eStrategy Contest, go to the competition’s web site at

Contact: Susanne Loftis, (615) 322-NEWS