KSU Master’s of Business Administration program is ranked second in international competition

Alex Cihlar

Kent State’s Master’s of Business Administration program ranked second among U.S. schools at the 32nd annual John Molson MBA International Case Competition in Canada earlier this month.

Five of Kent State’s best MBA students travelled to Montreal to compete in the six-day event, beginning Jan. 6. The team included: Josh Hostetler, Zeba Mehdi, Brad Neumann, Melanie Panutsos and alternate Adele El Helou.

Felecia Urbanek, academic advisor coordinator for the College of Business Administration, said this year’s team ranked higher than any of the eight teams Kent has sent to the competition in the past.

“Obviously we were all pretty excited to have done so well, especially compared to some of Kent’s performances in years past,” Panutsos said. “I think it’s an important indicator of how well Kent’s MBA program has been improving and reaching for excellence.”

Each day, the team had three hours to read and analyze a 15-page case study and develop a 25-minute presentation to introduce to a panel of expert judges. The teams record was 3-2 overall, ranking 14th out of 36 teams. Kent State won against teams from Pepperdine, Purdue and South Carolina, as well as international business schools from around the globe.

“We were ecstatic to have beaten some of the top U.S. schools, such as Purdue and Pepperdine,” Mehdi said. “Every case we won boosted our moral and every case we lost we decided to learn from.”

The John Molson MBA International Case Competition is the oldest, largest and most-respected case competition in the world. Having schools from 16 countries compete made this year’s competition the most diverse in its history. Seventeen international schools, including Australia, Egypt and South Africa, competed against seven U.S. schools and 12 Canadian.

The team members all said they agreed the competition helped them build on their ability to work as a team.

“Performing well was certainly a positive; however, for me personally, the best part was the camaraderie with my teammates,” Neumann said.

Although Kent State’s team had an outstanding performance, Hostetler said a little part of him was disappointed they weren’t the top U.S. team, losing only to Vermont. The team lost their final matchup to a team from Bordeaux, France, ranking them second among the U.S. schools.

“After the Bordeaux team presented, they watched our presentation, and, convinced that we had beaten them, they congratulated us,” Hostetler said. “It turns out that Bordeaux won.”

Contact Alex Cihlar at [email protected].