NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2014 — Deloitte and the Deloitte Foundation announced that a team from Columbia University won the fourth annual National Case Competition held at Deloitte University’s landmark campus for learning and leadership development near Dallas, Texas. The school’s winning team of Sara Brown, Jane Hendrick, Joseph Saia and Will Zvara earned the top scholarship award of $20,000.
Fifteen finalist student teams from top MBA programs analyzed a complex business issue for Firestone & Robertson, a leading independent whiskey and bourbon distillery located in Fort Worth, Texas. Each team was provided with details of the case and a ten-hour time limit to evaluate the challenges and opportunities facing the distillery and to formulate detailed marketing, branding and growth recommendations. Teams presented their strategies and recommendations to a panel of judges that included Deloitte leaders and industry experts.
“Today’s global organizations are operating in an environment of unprecedented change. It’s imperative that we help build a pipeline of talent ready to face the challenge,” said Mike Canning, national managing director for Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Strategy & Operations practice and a competition judge.
Canning added, “Watching these students tackle a complex problem in a compressed timeframe was incredibly inspiring and gives me all the more confidence in our future and in the business leaders of tomorrow. We congratulate Columbia University and all fifteen of the finalist teams.”
Student teams from the following schools were also recognized for their efforts:
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler) – $10,000
- Cornell University (Johnson) – $6,000
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) – $3,000
During the case study competition, the work of the teams was evaluated by judges including:
- Leonard Firestone, distiller and proprietor, Firestone & Robertson
- Troy Robertson, distiller and proprietor, Firestone & Robertson
- Chris Huey, vice president, analytics, Brown Forman
- Clay Farmer, vice president of supplier relations, spirit portfolio, The Vintner Group
- Andrew Webber, head distiller and founder, Corsair
- Bob Eidson, founder, The Bourbon Review media company
- Charles Cowdery, author
- William Schragis, spirits buyer and marketing associate, Zachys Wine & Liquor
- H. Joseph Ehrmann, proprietor and bartender, Elixir
- Ms. Randy Allen, senior lecturer, Cornell University (Johnson)
“We’re passionate about grooming the next generation of business leaders. This program is a great way to give students real-world exposure and bolster their in-classroom learnings,” said Carol Lindstrom, president, Deloitte Foundation. “We’re so impressed with the student teams that participated this year and look forward to continuing to provide opportunities for students to experience the strategic challenges facing organizations today.”
In addition to the winners, this year’s finalists included teams of students from the following MBA programs:
- Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
- Dartmouth College (Tuck)
- Duke University (Fuqua)
- Emory University (Goizueta)
- New York University (Stern)
- Northwestern University (Kellogg)
- The University of Texas at Austin (McCombs)
- University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson)
- University of Chicago (Booth)
- University of Michigan (Ross)
- University of Virginia (Darden)
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