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The Impact Zone

Ashish Singru

Tippie MBA alumnus Ashish Singru integrates diverse data sources for marketing campaigns at Microsoft in Seattle. Read more...

The Impact Zone

Competition at Tippie: The Winning Tradition Continues

by Yakubu Agbese, 2012 MBA Graduate

The winning tradition continues. This year, several teams from the Tippie School of Management competed in case competitions across the country. Prize money, seed capital, and of course, bragging rights were all on the line in these competitions, and, fortunately, most of the teams succeeded in taking them.

Business Plan Competition Success

The spirit of entrepreneurship gave Tippie MBAs an edge at this year's competitions.

Each year, students, faculty, and staff at the University of Iowa are invited to compete in the Iowa Centers for Enterprise Challenge Business Plan Competition. This year, 39 teams submitted plans in consideration for $56,000 in seed capital. Several teams from the MBA program managed to reach the finals, and four of them placed, managing to snag a combined total of $16,500 in seed capital. Two of the proposals were for new medical products. Adrienne Downs (MBA 2012) and Kenneth Khoo (MBA 2012), led a team that had created a new design for burn wound dressings. Stephanie Tang (MBA 2012) and Riley Lind(MBA 2012) were part of a diverse team of medical, law and engineering students that had created a new Foley catheter. See video and more about this project on our blog.

In addition to healthcare, sustainable communities was another theme of Tippie’s successful teams. Justin Vavroch (MBA 2012) was part of a group of Iowa City art and fashion entrepreneurs called {made} community. {made} community is comprised of Iowa fashion boutiques White Rabbit, Dulcinea, Melissa’s, Raze, and The Iowa City Pop-Up-Shop. Besides fashion, each of these shops is focused on sourcing designs from Iowa artists and marketing original, handmade crafts. Rounding out the list of successful entries is local-to-local, submitted by Ben Clark (MBA 2013). Like {made} community, local-to-local emphasizes entrepreneurial networks. The mission of local-to-local: to encourage businesses within a community to source inventory, services, and talent from each other.

Tippie students exercised their passion for entrepreneurship in other competitions as well. For the first time, Tippie MBAs competed in the XpedX Net Impact Greening Campus Challenge. A team led by Luca Di Palo(MBA 2013), Annie Lionheart (MBA 2013) Bhupesh Shetty (MBA 2013) and Kyle Bogler (MBA 2013) created a proposal for a green-roof on top of the state hygienic building in Coralville. Along with a feasibility plan, the team created a marketing proposal, financial projections, a fundraising strategy, and a promotional video. Out of 27 teams that entered, Iowa was selected as one of the four finalists. The final results were announced on May 1st, and the team found that its hard work had paid off: the team received a Special Recognition Award for Marketing, along with $500.

Team leader Luca Di Palo was pleased with what he gained from competing: an understanding of how a common cause can unite a diverse group of people. “Our team was diverse and included Americans, Indians and Italians," he said. "Our team members also had different academic disciplines, aspirations and skills, yet we all had a common denominator: a passion for the environment and sustainability and the places that we use every day.”

Case Competition Success

Case competition teams were especially successful this year as well. At the Illinois Strategy Case Competition, Iowa placed second. In The CFA Institute Research Challenge, Iowa placed first in regionals and earned the right to compete at nationals. The biggest news for case competition teams: Iowa’s 1st place finish at the Ohio State University’s Fisher Invitational (also known as the Big 10 Case Competition.) The win marks Iowa’s first Big 10 case competition win in almost a decade and continues Iowa’s tradition of finishing in the final three. The team was tasked with creating a business revitalization strategy for the Ethan Allen furniture company and presented their analysis and findings to a judging panel that included corporate executives and consultants. “We are really happy to bring the trophy to Iowa,” said team member Kandis Meinders (MBA 2013). So what is the secret to the team’s success? “I think that our success came from having team members with a diverse array of backgrounds and skill-sets, a group of coaches who gave us excellent tips, and a well-rounded business background that students get in their first semester here at Tippie,” Meinders said.