Prashant Kansakar, Annmarie Zhu, Devon Grimme, and Spencer Siegel
From left, Prashant Kansakar, Annmarie Zhu, Devon Grimme and Spencer Siegel outlasted a field of 16 teams to win the BNY Mellon Katz Invitational Case Competition.

UF MBA claims first place in case competition

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Four students from UF MBA at the Hough Graduate School of Business won the BNY Mellon Katz Invitational Case Competition last weekend at the University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz School of Business.

Devon Grimmé, Prashant Kansakar, Spencer Siegel and Annmarie Zhu earned $10,000 for the victory over a 16-team field that included Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue and Vanderbilt among others.

“Our team was extremely pleased with the first-place finish,” Grimmé said. “We worked very hard and worked very well as a team, and the other teams were excellent competitors from world-class institutions. The judges pushed us very hard during Q&A and we held up well, making the win that much more rewarding.”

The competition focuses on the energy industry and the technological progress, ethical concerns, regulations, corporate social responsibility issues (CSR) and challenges companies face in this extremely competitive industry. The teams’ case centered on a retailer in the energy industry seeking a solution that met its CSR principles while offering sustainable growth without investing too much in one particular technology or long-term assets.

“The case required a lot of analysis and was very open-ended, making it difficult to identify a single viable strategy that was better than any other,” Grimmé said. “The industry is facing deregulation and rapid innovation, so any solution had to take advantage of that without putting too much investment in one area, hoping that the area would be the right one or see the most growth.”

UF MBA’s victory continues the program’s outstanding performances in national case competitions. In the 2012-13 academic year, UF MBA won the inaugural Southeastern Conference MBA Case Competition and the Florida Intercollegiate Business Case Competition and finished third at Wake Forest’s Biotechnology Conference & Case Competition.

UF MBA is next scheduled to compete in the Florida Intercollegiate Business Case Competition on Feb. 13-15 at the University of South Florida.