MSM Students Exercise Analytical Skills in Cigna Case Competition


Wake Forest School of Business Master of Science in Management (MSM) students honed their analytic skills during a three-day case competition sponsored by Cigna HealthSpring last week.

“The case competition is a highlight of our fall curriculum. Students get the chance to work on a current business issue and receive coaching and feedback from Cigna along the way. Even though it’s a very challenging experience, students are excited to put their business skills to the test.” noted Kaitlyn Cooper the Senior Associate Director of Experiential Learning in the MSM program.

Twenty -five students teams dove into a healthcare case study written for the program by WFU alumnus Nathan Lowman (MSM’ 17), a Business Analytics Manager at Cigna HealthSpring. The students analyzed a large Cigna dataset to make strategic recommendations for an Independent Physician Association. Teams had two days to dissect the data, research their findings and create a 12-minute presentation, data visualizations and a one-page executive summary.  Cigna employees and Wake Forest faculty were available for counsel, but the ultimate solutions and presentation design were up to the teams.

Current MSM student, Nicholas Hutton (MSM ’21), and member of the winning team noted, “The Cigna Case competition was the perfect opportunity for our team to utilize all the aspects we have been learning since the beginning of the program. Overall, this competition was the perfect time for us to develop confidence in our presentation skills, build further rapport as teammates, and apply the knowledge we’ve been acquiring as part of the program.”

Another student in the program, Nick Kennedy (MSM ’21), noted, “This case pushed our team to take things to the next level. The time crunch was stressful, but I am enormously proud of the product we generated and feel that our team has learned many valuable lessons to use in [our] project[s] moving forward. This case was challenging but has taught us all a lot!”

All teams presented Friday morning to Cigna and WFU judges, and the top four teams were selected to present to their entire class along with a panel of Cigna judges just 30 minutes later.  The Final Four teams earned bragging rights, a highlight on their resume and a special commendation from Nathan Lowman:

“I’m hugely proud of [you] for learning all these new variables, all these new ratios, and all these new acronyms and being able to put together something that I hope you are proud of as well. You have come such a long way — how you overcame just tremendous amounts of ambiguity and complexity, how you applied the things you learned on the first day to deliver something you’re proud of on Friday.”