A Kellogg team's plan for Maker's Mark bourbon wins the Deloitte case competitionBy Dan Campana
6/19/2014 - Four students talking about bourbon into the wee hours of the morning might conjure up thoughts of a wild night.
But the recent all-nighter by Jesse Chang ‘16 and three of his classmates — Michael Jung ‘15, Kieren Patel ‘16 and Rushi Talati ’15 — wasn’t what you’d expect.
The quartet was putting the final touches on its first-place presentation for the Deloitte Advanced Degree Consulting Case Competition, held this past May. They won the six-team contest and took home $1,000 by using a “truly complete, holistic” approach to deal with an undersupply of their assigned product — Maker’s Mark bourbon.
“We had a real solid team,” Chang said. “We literally stayed up all night.”
Jung, from Chicago, emphasized the team’s varied backgrounds and different lines of thinking based on their areas of focus. Chang and Patel are in the JD-MBA program, while Jung is an MD-MBA candidate. Talati attends medical school. Patel also has a doctorate.
The combination helped bring multiple perspectives to what Jung called very much a business-oriented case. “The diversity of the team was invaluable,” Jung explained.
“Locked in a room”
Team members worked together to research data, model out finances, develop business projections and debate the bourbon’s quality. The result was a three-prong, comprehensive solution for the product with solid explanations for why five other potential options were not viable.
“This is as realistic as it gets,” said Chang, who has a background in investment banking. “A bunch of dudes locked in a room at 4 a.m. with spreadsheets and Power Point.”
The irony was that Chang wasn’t in the room. He participated via video conferencing from Los Angeles.“It was like I was in that room,” he said, crediting Kellogg’s technology infrastructure for making it possible.
Even from a distance, Chang noted the “very intense” discussions that went on among the team members. This wasn’t “group think,” he said, adding the team used a systematic process – not personal opinions – to identify and discuss potential ideas.
“We’ve been trained to think like lawyers,” Chang, 28, explained. “Process is important.”
Jung, 27, highlighted the competition as a realistic way to develop analytical and decision-making skills.
“This is the type of experience you learn from,” he said.