TTU's MBA students finish third in international case competition

Tennessee Tech University's MBA Case Competition Team finished third in the recently held George Washington University International MBA Case Competition.

The competition, in its 15th year, brings together MBA teams from U.S. and international AACSB-accredited business schools to analyze a current situation facing a nonprofit organization and to present solutions that draw on the organization's assets.   Past subjects of the competition have included the American Red Cross, the World Bank, and the International Olympic Committee.

Members of the TTU MBA Case Competition Team, all members of the class of 2008, are Amy Sharp, Brandi Sturm, Brian Otuonye, and Troy McNatt. Sharp and Sturm will begin careers in accounting, Otuonye in the financial services industry, and McNatt in engineering management.

"The GWU International Case Competition gave us the opportunity to work together on a complex problem faced by a governmental agency and present our solution to the directors of the agency," said McNatt. "It also gave us the chance to compete against some of the best business schools in the world.   It was satisfying to find out that we not only could compete against students from those schools but actually finish as one of the top three schools in the competition."

The 17 other universities participating in this year's competition included the University of Alabama, the University of South Carolina, the University of Pittsburgh, Baylor, Oklahoma State University, and DePaul University, as well as business schools from Hong Kong, Italy, Denmark, and Canada.

The 2008 case was "The United States Patent and Trademark Office:   The Pendency Issue." Teams were asked to examine the myriad issues underlying the increasing backlog of submitted but as of yet examined patents as well as the increasing length of time between submission and issuance of the patents.   Students were then tasked to offer solutions given the Office's current resources and other internal and external constraints.

Each team was given two weeks to examine the problems and submit its solutions.   Judges for the competition included members of the United States Patent and Trademark Office's senior management, senior officials from other governmental agencies, and executives from Verizon, Sun Microsystems, Lockheed Martin, Monsanto, and other public corporations. Judges for the final round were John Doll, Commissioner for Patents, Margaret J. A. Peterlin, Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and Barry K. Hudson, Chief Financial Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office.

All teams, which competed anonymously, presented their solutions in two preliminary rounds.   The three finalists -- The University of Delaware, George Washington University, and TTU -- then competed in a third round held Saturday afternoon.   George Washington University was announced as the winner of the competition at a dinner held on Saturday evening.

The TTU MBA Case Competition Team is coached by Bob Wood, assistant dean of TTU's College of Business.