Two of six members of the University of Virginia’s winning MBA team were Wake Forest University graduates and among the big winners at the weekend’s Wake Forest University 19th annual Marketing Summit.
The University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business Administration team won the grand prize of $50,000, which is one of the biggest MBA marketing case competition prizes in the country.
“PepsiCo is proud to be here, especially in light of its longstanding history with Wake Forest University,” said Julie Hamp, senior vice president global communications, PepsiCo, prior to announcing the winners at Saturday night’s gala dinner at the Millennium Center in downtown Winston-Salem.
The winning MBA team’s members included two Wake Forest alumni – Katie Griesbeck (’00) and Kristen Stutz (’03) – as well as a married couple, Ben and Stacey Flood, and Christine Davies and Erica Herrman Malkasian.
Griesbeck said teamwork was integral to her team’s winning formula. “We relied on each other’s strengths,” she said after the winners were announced. Members of the UVA team said they planned to spend their winnings on student loans, down payments on homes and some much-deserved vacations following graduation.
The University of Notre Dame/Mendoza College of Business finished in second place and earned a check for $3,000; and the University of California at Berkeley/Haas School of Business was third and got $1,000.
The winning undergraduate team from the University of Maryland took home a check for $1,000. This student team was made up of Molly Crossman, Tom Pacak, Chris Coraggio and Vidya Sathyamoorthy.
Among the undergraduate teams the University of Pennsylvania earned second place and Brigham Young University earned third place.
Hamp acknowledged the talent demonstrated by the teams. “The judges were very impressed by your business savvy and very energized by your optimism.”
The gala, entitled “A View From the Top,” featured a menu of dishes from around the world including France, Italy, Asia, Spain and United States. Each table represented a country in which PepsiCo does business, said gala organizer Rianne Stephens. Following an appearance by Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines, dinner and the awards announcements, the teams relaxed to the sounds of the band “Peace and Love.”
The gala capped off the weekend that, in addition to the 36-hour case competition, included Friday’s night conversation in front of more than 1,000 in Wake Forest Univeristy's Wait Chapel with PepsiCo’s Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi and CNBC news anchor Maria Bartiromo.
Wake Forest MBA students Anup Dashputre and Paul Nocida helped write both the MBA and undergraduate cases with executives from two of PepsiCo’s business, Frito-Lay and Pepsi. The undergraduate case, which was written with Robert Le Bras-Brown of Pepsi, focused on how PepsiCo could maintain its leadership in environmentally sustainable packaging across its beverage portfolio. The MBA case, which was written with Michelle Rule of Frito-Lay, focused on a recently launched line of snacks. The snacks which are 100 percent natural and nut-based, are called TrueNorth™.