Students take on competition

Nicole King

Four MBA graduate students participate in international contest

Adam Branscomb, Justin Metzler, Mariya Karimova and Eduardo Herrera, business administration graduate students, competed in the John Molson International Case Competition over winter break. The four were the first team from Kent State to compete in the co

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

One case study, two tools, three hours, four students – all in a days work at the John Molson MBA International Case Competition.

Kent State sent its first team to the competition over winter break.

“It was stressful because we did not know what to expect,” associate professor Rick Schroath said. “We went in there blindfolded.”

Adam Branscomb, Eduardo Herrera, Mariya Karimova and Justin Metzler, all graduate students in the College of Business, had three hours to deliberate over each case study at the competition. A case study investigates a single event, product or situation, looking at how an organization has handled it. This competition dealt with case studies for some of the top companies in the world such as Cirque Du Soleil.

With only a calculator and an overhead projector to use during deliberation, each team then presented its solution for 25 minutes.

This is the 25th year for the John Molson MBA International Case Competition. The competition was held at the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel in Montreal Jan. 3 through Jan. 7.Thirty-six teams from 19 countries competed this year. Kent State’s team placed 33rd.

“This competition is intense. Some of the world’s best business colleges are there,” Schroath said. “The world’s top companies are there to get a look at the bright soon-to-be graduates.”

The four MBA students agreed the competition was challenging.

“The schedule was so intense,” Karimova said. “We would start at seven in the morning and go until 11 p.m.”

The students said it is important to be able to think on your feet.

“I was so excited about our ideas that I forgot to think about possible objections,” Herrera said. “You have to think fast, answer quickly and please the judges while looking confident.”

Technology and PowerPoint have become valuable tools in the art of presentations, but the students didn’t mind not being able to use them.

“Audiences tend to get distracted by the fancy visuals and lose the content of the message,” Metzler, who is also a graduate student in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, said.

The judges’ panel consists of 400 judges. None of the teams will encounter the same judge twice. Each judge in the presentation room represents a different functional area.

“Top CEOs of companies were asking us challenging questions. It was very intimidating,” Herrera said. “The other team was also able to stay in the room during our presentation, which just added to the pressure.”

The students said the competition was a rewarding experience, and they enjoyed being ambassadors for the university.

“I think Kent should support more people to attend these competitions,” Metzler said. “It really puts Kent State’s name out there.”

Contact business reporter Nicole King at [email protected]