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Six teams of MBA students present strategies on future of interactive TV in premier MBA case competition at Vanderbilt; Indiana University takes top honors

Feb. 21, 2002, 2:59 PM

February 21, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Six teams of MBA students from top business schools competed last weekend in the third annual Owen@Vanderbilt eStrategy Contest at the Owen Graduate School of Managementat Vanderbilt University. Students from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business took home the $25,000 prize from the contest, the largest case competition of its kind.

The students made detailed presentations of their strategies for the emerging interactive television market before a panel of judges from Microsoft, KPMG Consulting, Alliance Technology Ventures, the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech and Gaylord Entertainment.

In addition to the Kelley School team, the Feb. 16 competition included representatives of 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 had two teams in the competition.

Forty-one student teams from 20 business schools across the United States entered the first round of competition in January. For last weekend’s final-round presentations in Nashville, the finalists expanded on their first round submissions, going into considerably more depth as they analyzed the U.S. interactive television market, identified the opportunities and challenges that exist and developed strategic recommendations and a detailed business model for execution of the plan.

“The key to formulating a strategy for Microsoft’s future role in the iTV market was to first understand how iTV could potentially impact the home technology environment (HTE) and, therefore, home computing,” explained Mark Repko, speaking for the Indiana University team. “Once we established a vision for the HTE, we then crafted a multi-faceted strategy designed to deliver superior set-top boxes, loaded with Microsoft software, to the market. We see iTV as an important component in Microsoft’s future plans to enable fluid computing control throughout the entire home,” he said.

The winning team, which dubbed itself ‘Methuselah Consulting,” was made up of Repko, J.P. Bittencourt, Kevin Croghan, Martin Stroup and Freddy Guard. Second place went to the Owen School’s own ‘Frantic Pixels’ group, made up of Santeri Leijola, Max Wolf and Johan Hoover.

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

“The Indiana team had a great strategy that was complete, yet also easy to understand,” Scanlon said. “They anticipated the questions that the judges were going to ask and handled the question and answer portion of their presentation the best of any of the teams competing.”

Sponsors of the 2002 contest include Microsoft, Gaylord Entertainment, Sony and Compaq.

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

Contact: Susanne Loftis, (615) 322-NEWS