Five students pose around a statue of an alligator.

Heavener students win case competition at Johnson & Johnson HQ

A team of five students from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business won the national Johnson & Johnson Case Competition this November. After winning an internal competition against fellow Business Gators, Johnson & Johnson flew the team to the company’s headquarters New Brunswick, New Jersey, to compete against nine other universities.

Johnson & Johnson partnered with the Florida Leadership Academy (FLA) this year to host the internal competition on UF’s campus, giving Business Gators the opportunity to test their academic and professional skills against each other and be judged by a panel of Johnson & Johnson finance officers.

“FLA partners with a corporate sponsor each year for our internal case competition that serves our 100 sophomores,” said Lisa D’souza, director of Career and Leadership Programs, including FLA, at the Warrington College of Business. “As the employer sponsor, Johnson & Johnson provided a real business case for FLA students to wrestle with, helping them to apply and develop key career-readiness competencies, communication, equity and inclusion, professionalism, work ethic and leadership.”

Nine other national universities also partner with Johnson & Johnson, and the winning teams from each school are invited on an all-expenses paid trip to the company’s headquarters to participate in a national competition.

Five students doing the Gator chomp in front of Johnson & Johnson's logo. To prepare for the big day, the winning team, Leah Fisher (BSBA ’26), Chloe Lai (BSBA ’26), Benjamin Keim (BSBA ’26), Aaron Lower (BSBA ’26) and Katie Troilo (BSBA ’26), worked hard to stand out from their competitors, differentiating their strategy to present a creative solution. This year, the challenge was to identify the best strategy for a fictional company to acquire a smaller company. The scenario was based on a real-life situation from Johnson & Johnson.

“[Differentiating our strategy] was difficult because we had to pick the not-obvious answers and make sure those answers had enough evidence to be supported,” the team shared. “Our team also tried differentiating ourselves through our ‘next steps’ for the company, such as future implementation plans in closing certain supply chain plants or how the company would go about with our human capital strategy.”

Finding time to strategize was tricky for the team, but they made it work, rehearsing individual roles in the mirror at home and making the most of their limited time together. By the time they arrived in New Jersey, the team was ready to win.

“The night before the competition, we met in one of the hotel rooms for a final run-through,” the team said. “During this time, Lisa D’souza sent us a video that contained a collection of clips from our peers, mentors and directors all cheering us on and saying encouraging words. It was a special moment for us as a team so many miles away to feel the love and support of our FLAmily (FLA + family) in Gainesville.

“It set the tone of what and who we are competing for going into the competition day.”