There will be several Big 12 teams competing at West Virginia University March 28-30. And even though the teams will spend a substantial amount of time at Milan Puskar Stadium, this is an academic competition — not an athletic one.
WVU and the John Chambers College of Business and Economics will host the 13th Annual Big 12 MBA Case Competition during those last days of March, as seven other teams will travel to Morgantown for the event. This is the first time WVU has hosted the competition, which will see teams tackle a business case identified by event sponsor Grant Thornton in its global organization.
The Big 12 teams will take on casework during their individual work sessions at the stadium for one whole day, creating a competitive environment where athletics and academics align.
“We’ll see some of the best and brightest students from across the Big 12 get together to solve problems that may be encountered by companies and organizations around the world,” said Elizabeth Vitullo, assistant dean of Strategic Initiatives for the Chambers College. “There’s a great deal of peer-to-peer learning, which is a valuable part of this fantastic experience.”
WVU’s MBA program has participated in the Big 12 MBA Case Competition since it joined the conference in 2012. The Mountaineers won first place in the competition in 2015, and placed in 2016 and 2017. This year’s team includes Erin Donley, a native of Moorpark, California, who earned an undergraduate degree in public relations at Gonzaga University; Brady Kurucz, a Parkersburg native who earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at WVU; Jared Linton, from Inwood, who earned an undergraduate degree in marketing from the Chambers College; and Caroline Wylie, a Romney native who earned an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering at the Statler College. The WVU team is coached by Jack Dorminey, on-campus MBA faculty coordinator and associate professor of accounting.
Teams traveling to Morgantown for the event include Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech. Students are introduced to a real-world business problem presented in a case format. Grant Thornton, in conjunction with faculty members from the Chambers College, will develop and write the case to be used in the competition. Student teams analyze the business case, prepare solutions and make recommendations to a panel of judges.
Grant Thornton LLP is the sixth largest U.S. accounting and advisory organization and is the American member firm of Grant Thornton International, the seventh largest accounting network in the world by combined fee income. Founded in 1924, the international firm is comprised of more than 53,000 people in 135 countries.
“These eight teams will engage in a tough competition solving real-world business problems,” she said. “This is an intensive application of what our students are learning in our MBA program. Teams get to take on a case from a highly respected, global company, and we’re hoping to give teams a great experience while they’re here at WVU.”
The Big 12 teams will participate in a reception Thursday at Evansdale Crossing on WVU’s Evansdale Campus, work on the case all day Friday at Milan Puskar Stadium and make their presentations to the panel of judges on Saturday at the Chambers College on the Downtown Campus. The competition weekend will conclude with an awards ceremony at Milan Puskar Stadium. Cash prizes are awarded to first, second and third place teams, as well as the best presenting team and the team with the best Q&A.
“We’ll get to showcase our university to schools across the Big 12. And we’ll get to roll out the red carpet to give our friends in the conference the Mountaineer experience,” said Vitullo.