teams victorious in turnaround competition
companies became "de-stressed" thanks to the analytical
rigor of Kellogg School scholars participating in a prestigious
annual competition in August.
teams of Kellogg students tackled the challenges facing a
grocery store chain and a family's electronics company, producing
rewarding insights — as well as garnering first place
and honorable mention for Kellogg from among 11 schools entered
in the Turnaround Management Association's 2006
Carl Marks Student Paper Competition
outstanding student achievement in corporate renewal, the
contest is open to those enrolled in an accredited MBA program
or equivalent. Winners announced Aug. 25 included recipients
of the $3,000 first-place finish in the case study category
with "Albertson's Turnaround." In it, the Kellogg
team of John Maitrejean and Jason Schauer, both
'06, and Ben Farris, Hayoung Lee, and Neil Seyffert,
all '07, analyzed the financial restructuring and reorganization
of the grocery store chain.
honorable mention and $600 for their submission, "Penfield
Electronic: A Turnaround Analysis of a Small Company,"
Kelloggians Emily Wang, Justin Twitchell and
David Wittkowsky, all '06, and Amanda Brimmer,
Ryan Clark and Elizabeth Stevens, all '07, highlighted
their study of a family owned technology company that underwent
a successful turnaround.
Professor of Management and Strategy James
B. Shein advised both teams, which were randomly selected
from students enrolled in his Managing Turnarounds
course. The students wrote their papers as final class projects,
without gearing them toward the competition.
pointed out findings from the Penfield analysis, explaining
that the organization was a small embedded systems company
whose owners were initially aggressive, na´ve and carrying
excessive debt. The Kellogg team focused on the company's
turnaround, led by an Ohio venture capitalist. Cutting dozens
of product lines down to about eight proved effective for
Penfield, as staff were focusing on too many projects simultaneously,
according to the Kellogg team. The students also highlighted
the benefits of improved accounting, introduction of one new
product per quarter and the acquisition of a small software
company to gain additional expertise.
class gave the team necessary skills to assess multiple levels
of the turnaround process, Stevens said. Shein emphasized
the relevance of corporate restructuring in today's business
and more, companies are realizing that subsidiaries or divisions
... are underperforming, so Managing Turnarounds is
designed to teach future executives useful applications to
deal with those problems," he said. — Romi Herron