MBA Case Competition
May 11, 2016
Emily Archer

On April 14 and 15, the Tippie College of Business hosted a case study competition where some of the brightest graduate analytics students in the country came together and solved a real-world business problem.

“It is a great honor to host this competition with so many prestigious universities competing,” said David Deyak, assistant dean of the Iowa MBA Program.

Numerous business schools are expanding their offerings in business analytics. However, this is the first case competition that brings schools together to demonstrate their acumen in this field. 

“We couldn’t be happier with the outcome of our first competition and look forward to hosting this for years to come.”

The Full-Time MBA Program revamped its structure to create the Business Analytics Academy this past year, and Deyak hoped to put the program on the map by sending the students to case competitions. According to him, there weren’t many business analytics competitions in existence, so the Full-Time MBA Program decided to create its own.

“One of our objectives is to raise the profile of our program,” said Nick Street, professor and department executive officer of management sciences. “When people talk about the top places for analytics in business schools, we belong in the conversation.”

Fourteen business schools registered to compete in the Iowa MBA Business Analytics Case Competition. Teams completed a complex analysis and considered multiple data points before making their recommendations to a panel of industry experts.

“We feel this event provided an opportunity for all participants—students, faculty, sponsors, judges and the larger analytics community—to benefit from the collective wisdom and experience shared throughout the competition,” said Michael Geneser, associate director of Iowa’s MBA program. “We couldn’t be happier with the outcome of our first competition and look forward to hosting this for years to come.”

The competing teams, made up of four team members each, had to go through two rounds of presentations. Students were asked to analyze admission data on patients of UnityPoint Health Clinics and to identify risk factors the might lead to readmission of those patients.

The desired outcome was to create a process that would reduce cost to both patient and provider, while also providing the highest quality of care to those patients.

Iowa MBA student Kyle Wehr, who won best presenter, signed up for the competition for three reasons: to apply the skills he’s learned from the program to a real-world situation, to help a client solve a problem, and to support the Full-Time MBA Program’s first business analytics competition.

“This competition contributed to my education by providing another opportunity to receive feedback from another group of professionals,” Wehr said. “I’m very interested in understanding different ways to approach problems in order to develop best practices around problem solving.”

Because of the competition’s success, the Full-Time MBA Program is already planning on hosting it annually. Next year’s competition will be held on April 21, 2017.

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The winners of the competition are as follows:

1st Place: New York University Stern School of Business

2nd Place: University of Iowa Tippie College of Business

3rd Place:  University of Alabama Manderson Graduate School of Business

Best Presenter: Kyle Wehr, University of Iowa Tippie College of Business