Case competition gives Jenkins MBA Class of 2015 a taste of things to come

Aug 19, 2013



Case competition gives Jenkins MBA Class of 2015 a taste of things to come

By Anna Rzewnicki

The Jenkins MBA Class of 2015 at the NC State University Poole College of Management jump-started its academic experience with an intensive nine-day orientation schedule that culminated with a Bank of America case competition.

“For me, this was an invaluable experience because my team and I had an opportunity to work together, analyze the case and present our solution to representatives from Bank of America, all before classes started,” said Clay Giese, one of the college’s 51 new Jenkins full-time MBA students. Giese and teammates Rachel Huffman, Darshona Paithankar, Ben Blackmon, and Eric Fish received first place in the competition.

The new MBA candidates drew upon their prior work experience and knowledge, along with what they learned in the set of mini-courses they had just completed as part of the Jenkins MBA program’s new student orientation, held August 5 through August 14.

Working in teams of five to six students each, the students had seven hours to review and analyze the case focused on Bank of America’s mobile banking strategy. Following a run-off competition with judges including Poole College professionals and Jenkins MBA alumni, the top three teams gave their presentations to a panel of executive judges from Bank of America and fellow students in their MBA cohort.

The case competition provided the students perspective on the types of situations they would be dealing with on a daily basis as they start their careers after graduation, the Bank of America representatives said.

“I can't think of any better way to prepare myself for a career than to get this real life experience,” Giese said.

Prior to the case competition, the students had participated in sessions led by Poole College graduate faculty on professionalism, critical thinking, personal branding, team performance and oral and written communication. They also met with members of the Jenkins MBA program’s career management team for one-on-one coaching sessions.

Orientation included a few non-academic experiences as well, such as a scavenger hunt that enabled the MBA teams to learn about the NC State campus and culture, and a community service project with Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. They tracked their progress in the scavenger hunt via Instagram.

“Our vision for orientation is to introduce students right away to the various skill sets that MBAs need to succeed, and to give them an opportunity to bring those together in a meaningful and practical way,” said Pam Bostic, assistant dean for graduate professional programs in Poole College’s Jenkins graduate school.

“We received tremendous feedback on the total orientation experience from our new students,” she said “This is the beginning of our stronger focus on leadership development for our graduate professional students.”

About the winning Jenkins MBA team

  • Clay Giese, BA, Latin American studies, Vanderbilt University; previously, Spanish teacher; Jenkins MBA concentration: innovation management'
  • Rachel Huffman, BS, zoology/poultry science, NC State University; previously, program coordinator for ASPIRE Program at NC State; Jenkins MBA concentration: marketing
  • Darshona Paithankar, bachelor’s degree, electrical electronica and communication, University of Mumbai; previously, marketing executive, Emerson Process Management (India) Pvt. Ltd; Jenkins MBA concentration: marketing
  • Ben Blackmon, BA, communications, NC State; previously, logistics and operations manager for Delta Gypsum; Jenkins MBA concentration: biosciences management and dual degree MBA and Master of Accounting
  • Eric Fish, BS, environmental science, University of Virginia; previously, secondary science teacher, genetics; Jenkins MBA concentration: bioscience management and dual degree, MBA and Master of Microbial Biotechnology.

Bank of America's case competition judges 

  • Jay Myers, senior vice president, procurement operations
  • Mark Kendell, vice president and vendor risk manager and a Jenkins MBA alumnus, class of 2011
  • Andrea Hinson, assistant vice president, senior busines control specialist, and a Poole College alumnus, bachelor of business administration, supply chain management concentration, class of 2010
  • Jane Singleton, vice president, human resources

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