Full-Time MBA Students Win Humana Healthcare Case Competition
Source Newsroom: University of Texas, Dallas
Newswise — A team of Naveen Jindal School of Management Full-Time MBA students recently won first place at a national competition for an innovative strategy to help seniors take their medications as prescribed.
Students Steve Buchalter, Shane Damico, Charlotte Hamm and Madison Moore received the first place award in the Humana Healthcare Case Competition last month at Humana’s headquarters in Louisville, Ky.
It was the second time that a Jindal School team won the competition in the past three years. The students will receive $10,000 and job interview opportunities.
The UT Dallas team competed against finalists from Columbia, Emory, Georgetown, Pittsburgh and Rutgers universities, the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina. The competition aims to attract potential employees who can help create solutions to important health care challenges.
The teams had three days to craft a recommendation for an investment in a product or service that would engage members to take an active role in their health. The teams, which received an imaginary budget of $50 million over five years, were asked to target young adults, middle-aged adults or seniors. They were required to provide a detailed analysis of the opportunity and its impact, and an explanation of how the product or services’ success would be measured.
“The students have taken every opportunity to take what they learn in class and apply it to real business settings. A case competition like this is the perfect setting for them to show their ability to solve tough problems.”
During the weekend that they were emailed the challenge, the students spent most of their waking hours in a breakout room on campus working on their idea.
“We brought lots of snacks and didn’t plan on being anywhere else for most of those days,” Damico said. “Each of us brought something different to the table, and I think it was our solid dynamic that helped us perform as well as we did.”
As finalists, they made presentations before company employees. Members of Humana’s top management were judges. The Jindal School team recommended a comprehensive program to help people 65 and older better follow their health care regimens, Damico said. The students suggested that Humana create an advice line exclusively for that demographic and introduced a pillbox that reminds users to take their medication. The team suggested that Humana acquire a company that provides that type of product and integrate the services.
Buchalter, a first-year MBA student, said that his marketing management course helped him prepare for pitching an idea to a management team.
“But I think what really prepared me the most was being able to work with an experienced team of second-year MBA students,” Buchalter said. “Working with this team definitely enhanced my presentation and competition skills, and added context to what I’m learning in class. I’m looking forward to bringing all of this into future competitions.”
Lisa Shatz, director of the Jindal School’s Full-Time MBA program, said she is proud of the team.
“The students have taken every opportunity to take what they learn in class and apply it to real business settings,” Shatz said. “A case competition like this is the perfect setting for them to show their ability to solve tough problems.”
One of the audience members at the finals was Andrew Cyders, a 2012 Full-Time MBA alum who was part of the school’s winning team in 2011. Winning the competition led to a job at Humana for Cyders, who now works as a process consultant in the company’s national contracting division.
“The UT Dallas presentation at the 2013 finals really stood out among the many I have seen over the years,” Cyders said, adding that the team’s solution was especially impressive because of its simplicity.