Wake Forest students offer ideas to help federal agency manage assets and employees during times of disaster
WINSTON-SALEM, NC – A team of Wake Forest University juniors has achieved first place in the 2013 Deloitte Battle of the Beltway business case competition, for their unique ideas on managing a national disaster management agency’s high-value assets. It is the first time a Wake Forest team has won the competition since it began in 2009.
“We feel that our success at Deloitte was representative of the quality of education we receive at Wake Forest,” said Nikolai Hlebowitsh (’15). “We were impressed by the quality of competition with multiple teams from top-tier schools. It was great to compete against top students from other universities and get a glimpse of the consulting industry.”
Wake Forest juniors Christine Briere, a mathematical business major, Matt Stevens and Nicole White, both business and enterprise management majors, and Hlebowitsh, a computer science and economics major, competed against teams from American, George Washington, Georgetown, Howard, Princeton, Richmond and William & Mary to take first place.
The Wake Forest team’s proposal contained a three-part solution to the federal disaster agency’s problem. First, the agency should place tracking devices on all high-value assets to allow them to easily locate necessary equipment even in the chaotic aftermath of a natural disaster. Second, create an intranet network for all employees to allow collaborative communication through offices around the country during crisis events. Their last suggestion was to consider additional training programs and rewards structures so that the agency’s policy changes could be communicated effectively and adapted with enthusiasm throughout the organization.
“Having a team made up of business and liberal arts majors gave us some differences in perspective and new angles on our solutions,” Hlebowitsh said. “In particular, Matt’s recent management information systems class gave him insight into RFID tracking systems, while my computer science courses helped us understand how to implement an intranet system.”
Founded in 2009, the Battle of the Beltway is an undergraduate case competition in Washington, D.C., open to sophomores and juniors at eight targeted universities. Teams of four students compete at the university level before the top two teams from each move on to the national competition, where they are given one week to tackle a real-world federal government business case. Previous cases have addressed the U.S. Navy, Federal Railroad Administration and TSA.
“Through this competition students receive real-world experience that will help to differentiate themselves in the market. In addition, they have an opportunity to sharpen their professional identity, and demonstrate their strategic thinking, presentation, teamwork, and leadership skills by presenting their case to Deloitte Federal Consulting executives and fellow students,” said Mercy Eyadiel, executive director, employer relations at Wake Forest. “They also receive the opportunity to network with industry professionals and learn more about consulting careers.”
A Wake Forest University team placed third in the 2010 Deloitte Battle of the Beltway.