Booth Brings Home Global Prize in A.T. Kearney Case Competition

Published on December 04, 2009

A team of Chicago Booth students won the Global Prize in the A.T. Kearney 13th Annual Strategic Case Competition by proving to be best at analyzing industry issues, developing implementable strategies, and delivering a persuasive presentation to the client.

"Chicago Booth provides us with strong analytics that can be applied to any industry and function," said team captain Katherine Smith, a first-year student in the Full-Time MBA Program. Joining Smith were fellow first-year students Sara Abernethy, Tristram Hewitt, and Nelson Bowers. The team advanced through three rounds of competition over five weeks, winning $2,000 in an earlier round November 21 and $5,000 at the finals on December 4.

Teams were to act as management consultants and were given a case based on an actual A.T. Kearney client, in this case, a retail pharmacy company.

“Given our client’s desire to maximize profits, we examined the operational efficiency and came up with a solution that reduced costs and increased revenue,” Abernethy said. “Our financial analysis was strong, but our unique strength was our ability to analyze not only the numbers, but the issues affecting the company and industry.”

Hewitt said the team won because “we were able to answer the tough questions due to our willingness to respectfully disagree, criticize, and listen to each other, creating a much better end product."

Before the competition, the winning team competed for the slot with 14 other teams from Chicago Booth. In the next round, Booth students competed against those from Wharton, Kellogg, CMU-Tepper, Michigan, and Columbia for the top national spot. The final round against INSEAD was accomplished via videoconference between the A.T. Kearney Chicago and London offices.

"Our ability to take feedback and address issues along the way helped us continuously improve from our first presentation to our last," Bowers said.

Going into the national competition, Abernethy said, the team wanted to bolster Booth's reputation as a strong “analytical" school, “but also prove that our presentation skills are strong as well.”

Europe had won the case competition for the past few years, “so it was exciting to bring the title back to a U.S. school,” she said.

                                                                                                                            Mary Sue Penn