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MBA Student Wins Top Honors in Case Competitions

First-year Tippie MBA student Jane Merten was part of the winning team at the 2005 Simon Marketing Case Competition, which took place April 8-9 at the Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester.

In the case competition, each of the teams' five members were selected at random from different business schools. Merton's teammates included: Adrian Luh from Purdue University; Carmen Chirita from Ohio State University; David Nelson from Georgia Institute of Technology; and Matt Rice from the University of Rochester. The five winning team members were each awarded $1,000.

The teams worked on a business case involving Fisher-Price, the sponsor of the competition. This fall, Fisher-Price will be releasing a new version of its popular Pixter handheld creativity toy. In anticipation of this launch, the company had students work on the marketing challenges associated with the new product. Students were asked to design a marketing plan for the new Pixter, including deciding on a name, price, product positioning, and promotion strategy.

After being presented with the case, the teams had five hours to develop a marketing plan, followed by a 10-minute presentation and five-minute Q&A session. The panel of judges included representatives from Fisher-Price, the Simon School, and a representative of a local marketing firm.

"This win was significant for the school because it helped to put Iowa, and more specifically the Tippie marketing program, on the map. It proved that the Tippie marketing program is competitive with other top MBA programs," Merten said. "Also, this win gave my classmates and me the confidence that we are receiving the best possible education at the University of Iowa. Because of our success at the competition, we hope to secure a spot in future Simon case competitions and continue to build stronger networks with other MBA programs."

Seventeen universities were represented, including MIT, Columbia University, New York University, and Carnegie-Mellon University. Tippie MBA students Leon Meschoulam, Stephen Clark, Chris Fultz, and John Kenda also participated in the Simon Marketing Case Competition.

"The competition gives students the opportunity to apply the marketing knowledge they have learned in class to a problem faced by one of the country's top firms," explained Steve Koppitsch, a Simon MBA who chaired the competition. "Exposure to real-world business cases is essential to a well-rounded business education."

The Tippie MBA marketing concentration provides a springboard for careers in brand, category and product management, marketing research, and sales and sales management. Marketing courses emphasize the practical application of marketing knowledge and research. Course offerings include marketing research, buyer behavior, brand and category management, advertising and promotion in the contexts of consumer, business to business, service, and international marketing.

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