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The Kellogg School's winning student team in the International MBA Case Competition accepts its trophy in Barcelona on April 26. The team consisted of, from left, Arlindo Eira Filho '04, Attila Toth '03, Alberto Spangaro '04 and Paolo Cuomo '03.

Kellogg School students take first place in international case competition

By Kari Richardson

4/24/2002 - Battling intense competition from some of the world’s top business schools, Kellogg School of Management students drew on their thought leadership skills to win first place at the International MBA Case Competition, held April 24 through 26 at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.

Members of the winning Kellogg School team included Attila Toth and Paolo Cuomo (both ’03) and Alberto Spangaro and Arlindo Eira Filho (both ’04). All are members of the Kellogg School’s Consulting Club or its European Business Club.

Toth, who will graduate in June, said the physically and mentally exhausting competition served as a nice “capstone course” to his Kellogg career.

The three-day competition involved assessing the financial viability and quantifying the developmental impact of a proposed investment in a rural Vietnamese sugar mill.

“At first we thought it was a simple project finance case,” Toth said. “But we had to estimate the social impact as well — how much benefit there would be to the society, how many jobs would be created, how many subcontractors would be needed and on down the line.”

The case presented a number of challenging issues, ranging from the investor’s mission to help developing nations, to the impact of the project on neighboring countries and local farmers. Using macroeconomic information and other financial data, students developed their analyses over two and a half days, preparing a written and oral presentation for a panel of judges that included professors from leading business schools and professionals from Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, which sponsored the competition.

In addition to the Kellogg School, competing MBA programs included Barcelona-based IESE, London Business School, Rotterdam School of Management, SDA Bocconi, University of Chicago GSB, Columbia Business School, Ivey School of Business and MIT Sloan School of Management. Runners-up in the competition were the Ivey School of Business and IESE.

“The judges wanted us to take a firm stand and be able to substantiate it with a thorough analysis,” Toth said.

Just two of the nine schools gave a thumbs-down to the investment.