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Victory for the home team

Students from the Kellogg Part-Time MBA program take first prize at this year’s Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition

By Rachel Farrell

2/4/2009 - The 55 students competing in the 2009 Kellogg Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition came from top business schools around the globe, including the London Business School. But the top prize went to a local team: four students from the Kellogg School’s Part-Time MBA program.

Biotech case competition winners
Seated from left are first-place team members Paul Altman, Anisha Madan, Deepika Singh and Michelle Huie, all students in the Part-Time MBA program. Standing from left are Alexander Herzick, Kellogg Healthcare Biotech Club co-chair; Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing; Lynn Harris, director of marketing, Kellogg Center for Biotechnology Management; Elliott D. Hillback, senior vice president of Genzyme; Alicia Loffler, professor and director of the Kellogg Center for Biotechnology; Dan Regan, senior vice president of Genzyme; and Theresa Sanchez, Kellogg Healthcare Biotech Club co-chair.
Photo © Rich Foreman
“The winning team had both depth and breadth of knowledge of biomedical marketing,” said Alicia Löffler, professor and director of the Kellogg Center for Biotechnology. “They had the sophistication to apply that knowledge toward solving a very complex problem in a very innovative way.”

The first-place team included Part-Time students Deepika Singh, strategic pricing leader for GE Healthcare; Michelle Huie, manager of brand analytics at Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America; Paul Altman, immunology sales representative for Abbott Laboratories; and Anisha Madan, senior financial analyst at GE Healthcare. Along with $5,000, the team won a trip to Genzyme, a Boston-based biotechnology company that has sponsored the competition since 2005.

“Having professional experience in different functional areas [of biotechnology and healthcare] allowed us to take a holistic approach to the case,” said Singh, who served as the winning team’s captain. “We had complimentary skill sets.”

Participants in the Jan. 31 competition received a biotechnology case written by Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at Kellogg, and Lynn Harris, director of marketing at the Kellogg Center for Biotechnology Management, on Jan. 26.

The case involved Renvela, Genzyme’s calcium-free phosphate binder product for chronic kidney disease patients. Students were charged with determining the pros and cons of launching Renvela, as well as developing a pricing strategy and marketing plan for the launch. They presented their proposal before a panel of judges, which included Jean-Jacques Raoult, principal of ZS Associates, and Genzyme executives Elliott Hillback, Dan Regan and Sarah Ryan. To prevent bias in the evaluations, the judging was blind and the teams did not reveal which business school they came from.

The $1,500 second prize was awarded to a team from the University of Chicago. The $500 third prize was presented to another team of Kellogg students: Zsolt Abonyi ’09, Chris Carter ’09, Katharine McGrath ’10, Michiko Suzuki-Aida ’10, and Joris de Groot ’09. Teams from Duke University, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Michigan also participated in the competition.

“This was, by far, the most competitive year ever,” said Löffler. “Of course, we are very proud of Kellogg’s performance. But the best part of this competition is that biotech and healthcare students from top business schools get the chance to meet and learn from each other.”