Second-Year MBAs Capture Top Spot in Case Competition

Release Date: February 20, 2013 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Toys were serious business to MBA students in the University at Buffalo School of Management, as teams analyzed and developed strategies for toymaker LEGO during the 17th annual UB MBA Case Competition last week.

A team of four MBA students will share the $2,000 first prize. Hongyu Hua of Wuxi, China, Hung Phan of Ha Noi, Vietnam, Burhan Saiyed of Karachi, Pakistan, and Siddharth Venkatramanan of Chennai, India, made up the winning team, which was chosen from among four teams of finalists who presented the results of their case analyses on Feb. 15.

The second-place team received a higher-than-anticipated prize of $1,600, thanks to the generosity of one of the competition judges who was extremely impressed with the performance of the top two teams. Todd Carter of Troy, Ohio, Christopher Maugans of Tonawanda, Nicholas Notarius of Clarence, Sarah Tanbakuchi of Grand Island and Brian Wagner of Clarence Center will share the prize.

Prizes also were awarded to the third- and fourth-place teams.

Sponsored by Columbus McKinnon Corp., Ernst & Young LLP and Moog Inc., the competition enables second-year MBAs to hone their analytic and problem-solving skills in a team setting as they develop real-world business solutions and present their recommendations to corporate experts.

The case focused on toymaker LEGO and the competition it faces from MEGA Brands and Hasbro. Teams were asked to develop competitive plans to continue LEGO’s financial success and dominance in the building-toy market, including where to expand product lines and business operations. Judges evaluated participants on the quality of their analyses and use of case data, the creativity and clarity of their recommendations, the quality and detail of their implementation plans, the quality and style of their oral presentations, and the quality of their question and answer responses.

Judges for the final round of the competition were Joe Bell, vice president-acquisition and strategy, Moog Inc; John Carr, senior director, sales and marketing, GROUP 4; Greg Rustowicz, vice president of finance and CFO, Columbus McKinnon Corp., Rick Tan, executive director, tax services, Ernst & Young, and Arjang Assad, dean, UB School of Management.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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Jacqueline Molik Ghosen
Assistant Dean and Director of Communications
School of Management