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Twelve teams of students from global MBA programs participated in the 2011 Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition on Jan. 22 at the Kellogg School.

Biotech Case Competition

2011 Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition

MBA students from around the world come to Kellogg to forecast the growth potential of a newly approved drug

By Brady Gervais

2/3/2011 - It was no ordinary week for Part-Time student Raja Ghanem as he juggled class, a full-time job and preparation for the 2011 Kellogg School Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition.

Now in its eighth year, the competition offered students around the world the unique opportunity to step inside the shoes of healthcare professionals and develop a forecast for a newly approved drug. The competition attracted interest from 46 groups. Ultimately, the Kellogg School selected 12 teams to compete on Jan. 22 at the James L. Allen Center. Global healthcare company Abbott sponsored the competition for the second year.

“Getting (to work) on a case like this is truly, truly experiential,” Ghanem said. “I don’t think I’ve (ever) learned this much in such a short time.”

Ghanem and others had the task of forecasting Denosumab, a newly approved drug for osteoporosis and oncology. They were judged not on the basis of reaching a correct conclusion — there was none — but in how they approached the case, which had been written by Clinical Professor of Marketing Tim Calkins and Kellogg student Nayna Aggarwal ’12.

Five judges from Abbott evaluated the teams on the following criteria:

  • Methodology
  • Analytical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Delivery
  • Ability to answer questions

For the first time this year, the teams were permitted to conduct outside research. In previous years, teams were restricted to information presented in the case study. This time, the participants had one week to prepare.

A team from Rutgers Business School came out on top, followed by teams from the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business and the Kellogg School’s Part-Time MBA Program. Teams from the Harvard Business School and Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business earned honorable mentions.

The third-place Kellogg team was composed of Part-Time students in their first year of classes. The team included Ghanem, Abhi Patangay, Lindsay Guzowski, Emily Bello and Chetan Dandekar.

Team members credited their top-three placing to their diverse professional backgrounds, their ability to work well together and their skill at quickly figuring out what they needed to learn, Guzowski said.

The competition put the students in a real-world situation similar to what the Abbott judges do daily — forming and presenting a forecast to higher-up managers, said John Larson, general manager of Abbott's Neuroscience Franchise.

It was also an example of Kellogg’s commitment to experiential learning.

“This case competition gives the students a forum in which to apply and practice the frameworks they have been learning in class,” said Sangeeta Vohra, academic director for the Center for Biotechnology Management.

“It’s also a great opportunity for students to learn, meet industry executives and network with business students from different schools,” she added.