Winners named in Verney case competition

Release Date: May 7, 2014 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A team of six MBA students from the University at Buffalo School of Management will share a $2,000 prize as winner of the school’s eighth annual Steven C. Verney MBA Case Competition.

Placing first in the event were Ying-Hui Chen of Taipei, Taiwan; Justin Cicatello of Amherst; Aaron D’Angelo of Rochester; Frank Koelbel of Cicero; Ishita Mehta of Buffalo and Prashant Ranjan of Mumbai, India.

The second place team of Mathew Beck of Depew; Curtis Boyle of Hamburg; Swati Priya of Pune, India; Kelsang Tsomo of Jawalakmel, Nepal; and Michael Watson of Glenmont will share a $1,000 prize.

Members of the third place team were Michael Holt of Fredonia; Kevin Lelonek of Lancaster; Vivian Ka Yan Poon of Sha Tin, N.T., Hong Kong; Ashith Shetty of Mangalore, India; and Nailah Sinclair of Buffalo. Each received $100 prizes.

All first-year MBAs in the school’s full-time program took part in the competition. Eighteen teams made presentations to six panels of judges over the course of four days in late April and early May, and the award winners were announced on May 6.

Each team was assigned a separate case focusing on a distressed company facing serious operational and financial issues. Participants had to formulate a plan to turn around the troubled company and improve its long-term prospects for survival.

The competition was created exclusively for first-year MBA students at the UB School of Management through a donation from Steven C. Verney, executive vice president and chief risk officer at Allstate Insurance Co. in Chicago, who received his bachelor’s degree from UB in 1980 and his MBA in 1981.

Judges for the competition included Gregg Fisher, operations, LEKI USA; Tom Maxian, general manager, American Medical Response; Adam Pratt, president, Sherex Fastening Solutions; George Narby, interim chief medical officer, Kaleida Health; Rich Stauffer, vice president, Sherex Fastening Solutions; Tom McManus, chief executive officer, KegWorks; Nora Eberl, CFO and co-owner, Eberl Iron Works Inc.

A number of high-level administrators from the university and second-year MBA students also served as judges.

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 also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes and U.S. News and World Report 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 that is 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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Kevin Manne
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School of Management