Business Challenge

The University of Illinois was one of twelve schools invited to participate in the first 1995 National Business Challenge. Held on February 9-12, this strategic management case competition was organized by the University of Texas and sponsored by Arthur Andersen, Coopers & Lybrand, and McKinsey & Co.

Each school was invited to put together a cross-functional team of juniors and seniors with the quantitative and qualitative skills needed to prepare and present a strategic management case. At the competition, the teams were giver 24 hours to prepare a Harvard case on the effect of the spotted owl on the lumber industry in Oregon. Three groups of four teams each were randomly selected to compete against each other in the first round. Then the three finalists competed in a run-off. All competitions were judged by representatives from the three sponsors.

The Illinois participants were Steven J. Ciszewski, Angela McDiarmid, Michael Karb, and Timothy J. Nelson, all seniors in finance at the time of the contest and members of Professor James A. Gentry's Cases in Corporate Finance class (Fin 322). Professor Gentry coached the team and accompanied them to Austin. Training for the competition was intense.

The big winner for the competition was the University of Michigan, but "There are no loser here," according to Gentry. "Win, lose, or draw all the participants were winners because the experience of participating invaluable." Next year the competition will be held in November. "It will be harder to select and field a team on such short notice, but I've been planning the strategy I'll use." Gentry said.

PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS: Carnegie Mellon, Indiana University, New York University, Purdue University, University of California, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, University of Virginia, and University of Washington.


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