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The winning Kellogg team poses with sponsors of the case competition. From left: Seung Chul Seo, Thien Nguyen-Trung, Chris Sert Yeo, Justin Su, Robert Albright (all '09); Jim Fuschetti, JPMorgan Chase; and Judy Samuelson, Aspen Institute

Kellogg team triumphs in final round of case competition

Students win first place in 2008 Walter V. Shipley Business Leadership Case Competition

By Aaron Mays

5/9/2008 - This April, five Kellogg School students competed against peers from other top business schools in the Walter V. Shipley Business Leadership Case Competition. Kellogg came out on top.

The Kellogg team defeated the Columbia Business School, University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, NYU’s Stern School of Business, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Along with their triumph, the Kellogg students received a prize of $20,000. The winning team was composed of Robert Albright, Thien Nguyen-Trung, Seung Chul Seo, Chris Sert Yeo and Justin Su (all ’09).

Albright, along with his team members, is humbled by their recent victory.

“The case gave our team a unique opportunity to take what we are learning in the classroom and apply it to a complex, real-world business problem on social enterprise,” he said.

This year’s case study focused on the Environmental Defense Fund’s proposed negotiation strategy with two private equity firms with plans to buy out a large energy company.

The team said it worked diligently to calculate the economic value of the Environmental Defense Fund’s buyout deal and the minimum level of environmental concessions. Through a collaborative effort, they presented a detailed negotiation strategy to a panel of judges.

“This case competition has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my time at Kellogg. I am really pleased that that we had the opportunity to represent Kellogg on a national stage,” said Albright.

Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase and the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education, the Walter V. Shipley Business Leadership Case Competition is designed to promote awareness among MBA students about the impacts of business management decisions socially and environmentally. The competition honors Mr. Shipley, former CEO and retired board chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, for his leadership and commitment to ethics in the workplace.

Nguyen-Trung delighted in “bringing home the cup” for Kellogg. He believes that the school’s emphasis on teamwork was a distinct competitive advantage in sealing the victory.

“One reason we did well on this case was our training to work well in teams, which is the result of the Kellogg emphasis on collaboration,” Nguyen-Trung said. “It was really interesting to see how our different work styles and personalities interacted as we succeeded in best leveraging individual members’ strengths.”