WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – For the second consecutive year, a Wake Forest University School of Business MBA team won first place in the Marketing Analytics Summit, hosted by the School’s Center for Retail Innovation. Eight graduate and six undergraduate teams from around the globe competed in a case competition for total prizes of $56,000. The event was held at the School of Business April 7-8, 2017.
The longest-running student-led event at the School of Business, the Summit is in its 27th year.
“Every year the competition helps students attack a real-world problem that our sponsors face. This year the students themselves were the target of the case,” said Roger Beahm, WestRock executive director of the School’s Center for Retail Innovation. “Our sponsors were really interested in what millennials are thinking and perceiving about the discipline of marketing and digital analytics careers in marketing. This year the case was also extremely relevant to the students themselves as they prepare to launch their careers.”
Wake Forest second-year MBA students Matteo Blanc, Kate Blevins, Ross Hartman, Samantha Lewis, Marie Miller and Si Wong received first place and $20,000 for their ideas around attracting, retaining, and growing digital analytics talent for CVS Health. Given the role big data is playing today in companies, the need to have people capable of analyzing the data, extracting the intelligence and formulating the strategies suggested, is a business problem facing many organizations.
“The shortage of marketing talent was the glaring issue, but what is causing that shortage and how is that going to be fixed?” said Ross Hartman, a Winston-Salem Evening MBA student on the winning team. “It’s really a chance to think deeper about this question that is intriguing to a lot of people in this field. You get to participate, learn, and receive feedback in a situation where your career’s not in jeopardy with a real-world example that’s very plausible and realistic.”
“A lot of the best ideas in marketing and in business are coming from younger people who have a different perspective. We love hearing their thoughts about ways to better connect, better understand, and better measure results,” said Norm De Greve, CVS Health’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We’re big supporters of the competition because data is the future of marketing.”
Hartman and teammate Kate Blevins were both named MVP in the graduate competition, and will each receive $500. Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Business School received second place and $8,000, while Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School was awarded third place and $3,000.
Developed for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the undergraduate case sought ideas about reigniting student interest in marketing as a career. Utah State University Jon M. Huntsman School of Business won first place and a prize of $15,000. Second place and $6,000 went to University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, and third place was awarded to Brigham Young University Marriott School of Management, with $2,000. MVPs for the undergraduate competition were BYU’s Jorgen Davidson and Wharton’s Ellen Naruse.
“The focus on careers is actually a business problem. We have inadequate quality talent in our industry. We’re interested in how the students themselves will help us develop the strategic framework to pursue top-flight candidates, and keep them growing and developing in our industry,” said Bob Liodice, chief executive officer of the ANA. “The business of talent is a whole different type of framework that we in the industry are just coming to grips with. At the ANA we have the ability to provide a lot of reach, once we have more ideas about what that strategic framework would be.”
Kristen Merlo (BA ’16, MA ’17) and William Wang (BS ’18) served as student co-chairs for the Summit. They and a team of student volunteers planned the entire event, from reviewing applications, writing the cases, and handling logistics. “It’s rewarding to meet all the teams and have in-depth conversations with them about the case and their insights,” said Merlo. “Talking about marketing with the students and judges amplifies the ideas we’ve been exploring in the classroom all year at the School of Business.”
“It was a fantastic experience,” added Wang, who wrote the undergraduate case. “As a marketing major at the School of Business, it was a unique experience to do all the research and publish the case study.”
“The connections our competitors forge through presentations, panel discussions, and personal networking make the Marketing Analytics Summit an invaluable experience,” said Haresh Gurnani, executive director of the School’s Center for Retail Innovation and Benson-Pruitt professor.
Participating schools at the graduate level include Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Business School, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest University School of Business, Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School, and Yale University. Undergraduate teams hailed from Brigham Young University Marriott School of Management, University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, Utah State Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, and Wake Forest University School of Business.
The two-day competition also featured a keynote from CVS Health’s De Greve and a discussion panel of industry representatives on talent management in the marketing industry. The Summit was sponsored by the ANA, The ANA Educational Foundation, and CVS Health.
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