Two New Educational Events from MBAA

By Victor Kovalkov (MBA ’14) and Laura Meyer (MBA ’14)

This November, the MBA Association (MBAA) launched two new initiatives at Baruch College: the Zicklin Business Case Competition and a PowerPoint design workshop, inviting professionals to campus to play strategic parts in both events.

In what is hoped to be its inaugural year, the Zicklin Business Case Competition was structured as an intramural contest that brought together graduate students from the Zicklin School of Business to compete in solving real-world business challenges. Teams had to analyze branding and marketing strategies adapted by established consumer goods company Colgate-Palmolive for launching one of its new toothpaste brands. An initial competition round was overseen by S. Sajeesh, assistant professor of Marketing at Zicklin, where five student teams competed for one of three spots in a final-round presentation.

On November 15, three finalist teams presented to a jury of professionals with extensive experience in the consumer goods industry: David Diamond, independent consultant focused on marketing and strategy, and Baruch adjunct faculty member; Marin Hoffer, senior associate at KPMG, and; Ken Seiter, CMO at Specialty Food Association.

George Hamelos

George Hamelos

The winning teams were:
First place – Team HBBC: Andrew Barnett (MBA ’15) and George Hamelos (MBA ’15)
Second place – Team Stella&Toneva: Stella Schour (MBA ’15) and Ognyana Toneva (MS ’14)
Third place – Team KPRD: Konstantinos Psychogios (MBA ’15) and Rajbir Dadhiyala (MBA ’15)

According to the jury, Team HBBC won the competition because of its thoughtful analysis of the case. Andrew Barnett and George Hamelos forecasted earnings for the product in two vastly different markets and explored the necessary localized changes to maximize the probability of success.

Ognyana Toneva, one of the participants, said that the Zicklin Business Case Competition improved her teamwork skills and gave a good sense of what real-word, top-level business presentations look like. “I recommend the Zicklin Case Study Competition to any graduate student who is looking to get the most out of their business degree and to apply their knowledge and analytical thinking in a challenging real-world situation,” she said.

Andrew Barnett

Andrew Barnett

In a separate event on November 14, the MBAA invited Ashley Dunsmore, senior brand marketing associate at Value Click Brands, to host a PowerPoint design workshop. Going beyond what is taught in Zicklin courses, the goal of the workshop was to help students learn how advanced design could enhance the message communicated in a presentation. Ms. Dunsmore presented examples of how she and her team had overhauled one brand’s website, branding and advertising. Students were able to engage in a personal conversation with Ms. Dunsmore on how they could improve their individual presentations for current and future employers. In addition, she gave tangible tips on how PowerPoint tools could be manipulated to help text and images as well as a presenter’s overall message attract attention on each page.

The MBAA’s mission is to help students “Connect, Learn and Give” within the Zicklin Community. The organization will continue to host workshops and competitions as a part of the “Learn” initiative, where students can engage with professionals and have access to training that is complimentary to their education at Zicklin.

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