Three student teams took the honors at the 19th edition of the Carol A. Ammon competition, presented by the Lerner College of Business and Economics on March 18. This year’s case, titled “Danger on the Horizon: Blue Horizon Dive Center,” focused on a dive center in nearby Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. Open to UD graduate students, this yearly event is made possible by the generous support of Endo Pharmaceuticals and named for the company’s founder, Carol A. Ammon.
This year’s competition attracted 13 teams including 47 students, representing nearly every Lerner graduate program. Over the last several years, the case competition has been providing strategic recommendations to statewide nonprofit organizations or local businesses. “This event gives our students a unique opportunity to use the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired in the MBA and graduate business programs in a setting that is much broader than any particular class,” said Amy Becker, MBA program manager and case competition coordinator.
Competitors were tasked with finding an ideal IT solution to handle both point of sale (POS) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions on a small-business budget for Blue Horizon Dive Center owners Chris and Kelly Donnelly. The Blue Horizon Dive Center is a busy operation that includes retail, rental, repair, education and travel to regional and international scuba diving locales. After three weeks of preparation, teams presented their business solutions to a panel of judges made up of Lerner MBA alumni and the Blue Horizon owners.
“The teams who make the final round are presenting their recommendations to the decision-makers who could actually implement those recommendations,” Becker said.
- “Upgrade that POS, LLC,” Bruce Wayne, Will Cottrell and Tim Huffman
- “Pied Piper Consulting,” Theofilos Christodoulou, Suprotim Mukherjee, Queen Agboye and Haoyung Hu
- “Trilogy One,”Xiang Li, Tanish George, Chenqiaozhi Zhou and Yichang Liu.
Pictured above with the winners are (from left) Adam Smoot, systems engineer II, Fortinet; Chris Donnelly, co-owner, Blue Horizons Dive Center; Will Cottrell, UD Lerner MBA; Kelly Donnelly, co-owner, Blue Horizons Dive Center; Bruce Wayne, UD Lerner MBA; Tim Huffman, UD Lerner MBA; and Kati Takacs-Haynes, faculty director of UD Lerner MBA and graduate programs.
“The benefits to participating are learning how to hone in on real life presentation and research skills with ultimatums and deadlines,” said Wayne, a current MBA student and a member of the first-place team. He encouraged other graduate students to participate saying, “It can be fun if you approach it correctly and the monetary incentivized part of it is unlike anything I have experienced in academia.”