Student Team Wins Human Capital Case Competition

From the Spring 2010 edition of Vanderbilt Business

humancapitalcaseA team of students from the Owen School came in first place at the 2009 National MBA Human Capital Case Competition, hosted by Vanderbilt last fall. The competition included teams from 10 of the top graduate schools nationwide.

The winning team comprised second-year MBA students Joe Parise, Heidi Wallenhorst and Eric Bilbrey, and first-years Kristen Schaefer, Lindsey Goldman and Sarah Hultquist.

Prior to the competition, teams received the human capital case and were given a week to analyze the issue and prepare solutions for presentation to a team of judges, including Richard A. Kleinert, Kevin Knowles and Erica Volini from Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Corbette Doyle, EMBA’87, Lecturer in Leadership and Organizations at Vanderbilt.

The case, set in 2008, examined how Google worked to avoid the pitfalls of rapid growth, such as bureaucracy, slow decision-making, lack of visibility and organizational inconsistency. At the competition kickoff, an unexpected twist to the case was presented. All students received new information and were asked to reconsider their solutions in the context of the current environment; teams had three hours to make any adjustments for presentation to the judges that afternoon.

The Owen School, which has long offered specialized study in issues of human and organizational performance, established the case competition in 2007. It was the first to be solely focused on human capital challenges. Students organize and lead the event each year. This year’s leadership team included second-year students Chapin Hertel, Hana Crume and Lindsey White.

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