Austin Falley
School of Business

KU to host 2014 Big 12 MBA Case Competition this week

Wed, 03/26/2014

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Business will host MBA students from nine conference universities for the eighth-annual Big 12 Case Competition this weekend at the Kansas Union.

The annual competition challenges MBA students with a real-world business problem from a local company. The students then have 24 hours to research, analyze and present a solution for a panel of judges. The teams will be given their challenge Friday morning and will present their solutions Saturday morning, with a final round in the afternoon.

The competition aims to test MBA students on the core competencies of management, including teamwork, leadership, problem solving and presentation skills, said Catherine Shenoy, KU director of MBA programs. With the additional pressure of a time limit, case competitions are a particularly creative way for students to test their classroom knowledge.

“The competition lends more urgency and focus to the process of coming up with a solution,” she said. “It helps hone really important analytical and communication skills that are used every day in the business world.”

With each university sending its top MBA students, the event is also an important opportunity for students and their advisers to network with each other, as well as with competition judges and company executives.

“This is an opportunity for all of our peer schools to showcase their top MBA students,” said Dee Steinle, administrative director of masters programs. “You get to see the best of each program.”

Although students are competing against one another, the event focuses on building strong ties between fellow universities and MBA programs. While the students are competing, advisers will have the opportunity to tour campus, as well as network with their fellow advisers from Big 12 universities.

“Over the years, we found we all face similar challenges,” Shenoy said. “Even when we are competing for students, it’s still a very collegial competition. It’s a great way to strengthen our professional network.”

It’s been a number of years since KU has hosted the competition, and with so many recent advances and developments, KU and the MBA team are excited to take their turn.

“We’ve had so many changes in the last few years,” Shenoy said. “With the new ranking, the new curriculum and the advent of a new building, it’s a great way to highlight all the changes and let our peers know about all the great things happening at KU.”

Universities sending teams to the Big 12 Case Competition this year include Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian, Texas Tech and West Virginia universities and the University of Oklahoma.

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Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here:
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@KU bschool 's KIP team includes @KU _SADP students in all-ages housing project. #KUworks
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.

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