DU Hosts International Business Competition
14 universities participate in Race & Case competition
If the size of the competition wasn’t impressive enough, the lineup of business schools participating in the 2017 Race & Case competition certainly heralded the growing significance of the event. Fourteen universities from three countries — the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States — came to DU to participate in the 14th annual competition, hosted by the Daniels College of Business. Students were asked to tackle a complex, real-life business case, presenting a solution to a panel of judges.
“This was a great opportunity for graduate business students to apply knowledge they gain in the classroom in a practical and meaningful way and gain helpful feedback from business leaders in the industry,” said Brent Chrite, dean at the Daniels College.
What makes this event so unique is that the competition is split into two parts. After students presented their cases at DU on Friday, Feb 24, the teams traveled to Breckenridge on Saturday to compete in a ski race.
“At Daniels we have really cultivated a way of thinking, which is to have fun with a purpose,” said Patrick Orr, senior director of international partnerships and college programs at Daniels. “We had 14 teams come from all over the world to just compete, and not only compete at a ski area, but actually compete as business students.”
This year’s competition featured teams from American University, London Business School, Simon Fraser University, the University of Florida, the University of South Carolina, the University of Utah, Georgia Tech University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Southern California, the University of Alabama, Purdue University, Rice University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Denver.
“The opportunity to fly half way around the world to participate in a competition that allows us to ski some of the best snow and conditions in the world, that’s a huge draw for us,” said Josh Chakravarty from the London Business School. “It’s a huge differentiator for the competition.”
This year, students were challenged to identify ways in which Chipotle Mexican Grill could address ethical and leadership issues related to food contamination and the resulting financial fallout. The case was co-authored by Daniels Assistant Professor Paul Seaborn and Adjunct Professor Bud Bilanich. Executives from companies around the metro area served as volunteer judges.
“Some of the judges said the ideas they heard were crazy. Other judges said, ‘You know what, Chipotle should be listening to them,’” Orr said. “So, we are going to put the case and all the results in front of Chipotle and see if there are any nuggets they can take from it.”
The winning team was the University of Florida. Alabama and Vanderbilt finished second and third, respectively. While the Daniels team did not place in the top three, the experience they gained underscored the education they receive in the classroom every day.
“I’m at Daniels because I live in Denver, and it was time for me to pursue my master’s,” said Mary Beth Cote-Jensen, a member of the Daniels team. “This really solidified for me the value that this school has to offer its students and how seriously they take, not just academia, not just the classes, not just the recreational activities, but ethics and leadership and wanting to make sure that we are well-rounded students to be as successful as we possibly can.”