Release Date: February 12, 2021
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A team of first-year MBA students from the University at Buffalo School of Management took third place in the Kogod Case Competition, hosted virtually by American University.
Connor Clinton of Kailua, Hawaii; Jack DeMarco of Rochester; Anu Patel of San Francisco, California; and Tyler Penberthy of Buffalo each collected $300 in prize money for their third-place finish.
Participating teams were tasked with evaluating the impact of the “On the Table” initiative, a civic engagement forum that brings residents from diverse backgrounds together to discuss critical issues, find tangible solutions and spark positive change. After reviewing data from past events and community surveys, teams proposed an outreach strategy for 2021 to expand the initiative’s impact in the Greater Washington, D.C., region and ensure equity among its participants and stakeholders.
“The competition challenged us to dig deeper on issues of equity and institutional racism,” Patel says. “As a group, we were able to deliver on a strategy to engage more members of the community—including the most vulnerable—in sharing their experiences.”
In the competition’s preliminary round, 38 teams made video pitches before being narrowed down to finalists across three divisions. The UB team was one of five finalists in the graduate division.
For the final round, held virtually Feb. 4-6, teams delivered 15-minute presentations and fielded 10 minutes of questions from the judges.
Ultimately, the team from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, took first in the graduate division, followed by a squad from American University and the UB team in second and third, respectively.
Beyond the prize money and résumé booster, the UB MBAs say they gained valuable skills from the experience as well.
“The real-life application of the case was impactful, and I hope to use this experience in future nonprofit work,” DeMarco says.
Penberthy agreed: “I was proud of my team’s ability to collaborate over Zoom and submit a quality presentation to address inequity. I strongly believe participating in this virtual competition has benefited my personal and professional skills, as remote teamwork and collaboration are key for future employment in a COVID world after graduation.”