| by Eva Gudbergsdottir

Economist case competition winners
Whitney Hales MBA/MAIEP ’14, Nuan He MBA ’15, and Meagan Braun MBA/MAIEP ’15 won first prize in The Economist’s “Which MBA?” competition.

Cheers went up all across campus in early February when two students and a recent Institute alumna took first place in a 24-team international MBA case-study competition sponsored by The Economist. Whitney Hales MBA/MAIEP ’14, Nuan He MBA ’15, and Meagan Braun MBA/MAIEP ’15 will collect a prize of $10,000 for their winning entry in the competition, which asked the teams to evaluate the strategy and financial assumptions be­hind a recent corporate acquisition. They beat out rival teams from MIT Sloan, the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University, insead, and others.

“Our success illustrates the true unique­ness of MIIS—our strong academic rigor, amazing faculty, and ability to compete with the best in the world,” said Hales.

This win is the latest in a string of no­table performances for teams of MIIS MBA students. Last year students traveled to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to compete as one of three teams from top universities around the world in the Business for a Better World competition. Declaring the team winners despite their third place finish, Profes­sor Yuwei Shi said, “Our team was the thought leader in this competition!” An­other team beat out hundreds of competi­tors to win a place in the 2014 Hult Prize Regional Finals in San Francisco and was later invited to participate in a special ac­celerator program where they continued to develop their ideas.

Following on last year’s success, Pro­fessor Shi and MBA Program Chair Sandra Dow taught a course during fall semester devoted specifically to case competitions. Dow said it is important to acknowledge formally the time and effort students put into their case assignments, but equally important to link the competitions di­rectly to the pedagogy of the new MBA program in global impact management. “I can’t say enough about the benefits to students from participation in case com­petitions,” Sandra said. “They have to learn on the fly and complete the assign­ment under significant pressure, and in a short time become industry experts while applying sophisticated business tools to solve complex problems.”

In recognition of the success of last year’s team from the Institute, the Hult Prize organizers this year chose MIIS to host one of their pilot campus competi­tions. Six teams of Institute students pre­sented their ideas to a panel of judges in November, and the winning team, Hults of Lightning, is on its way to the finals in San Francisco. In January, we learned that a second team from the Institute has also been invited to the finals.

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Eva Gudbergsdottir