2009 Big Ten Case Competition
In March 2009, four students in the Certificate Program — Claudia Barna, Brian Hathaway, Anup Tapase and Seung Yoo — represented Northwestern University at the second annual Big Ten Leadership Case Competition in Madison, Wis.
The competition charged student teams from Big Ten universities to analyze a General Motors case. The case covered a wide range of issues, including whether or not to file for bankruptcy; what to do with Rick Wagoner; whether or not to sell non-core brands like Hummer and Saturn; and how to approach negotiations with labor unions.
A panel of five business leaders judged the teams’ presentations. While Northwestern team did not win, the judges commended the team for incorporating all team members and for developing a presentation that flowed logically from one point to the next.
“Coming from the CPU program, we were used to looking at these competitions primarily through a quantitative lens,” said Hathaway. “Since there was actually no math involved in the case, we had to go outside our comfort zone to come up with recommendations. Since the case was extremely current, we had to challenge the assumptions and opinions we had about GM heading into the competition. And since we had only two and a half hours to develop a presentation, we were forced to work quickly as a team. The case was really a fantastic experience.”
The students received help preparing for the competition from second year Kellogg MBA student David Stott and Kellogg Professor Jan Eberly, the Certificate Program’s academic director.