After three vigorous weeks of research and practice, five MBA students and their supervisor, Larry Weinzimmer, were rewarded with first place at the Society for the Advancement of Management International Case Competition in Las Vegas – for the second time.
SAM presented each university’s team with a case in January. The application process at Bradley was so time extensive the team was not able to research until weeks before the competition in March.
With the added pressure of having to defend a title, MBA students Christen Dovalina, Jennifer Franczak, Svatava Kubankova, Abishek Manmadhan and Martina Stavikova were put into overdrive to finish on time and with superior results.
The students said the case, dealing with Wynn Resorts, a casino in Las Vegas, was tricky due to the economic condition for gaming at the time.
The team found it had to continue to adapt its strategies with the news of failing banks and other signs of economic downturns. This was not a complete disadvantage to the team.
“Waiting the few weeks may actually have helped them,” Weinzimmer said.
While other teams would have been continually adapting their ideas, Bradley’s team would begin putting ideas together with that same new economic information.
The students would meet several times a week for long hours and even sacrificed their spring breaks for the competition.
Stavikova and Kubankova, two newcomers to the team, said the fact that they were roommates was extremely helpful.
“I would find myself knocking on her door at two in the morning to tell her I had an idea about the case,” Stavikova said.
They said the stress of having four weeks to prepare only pushed them forward.
The team conducted surveys through Facebook as opposed to using existing data.
Due to the surveys being sent out to casino groups, Facebook immediately locked Kubankova’s account to prevent her from “spamming” any more people.
Stavikova used her seven messages (Facebook allows seven warnings on messages for spamming before locking an account) to contact the administrators in the groups before her account was blocked as well. After this, the team was able to conduct their surveys, which returned a wealth of responses.
After a delayed flight, being stuck in Dallas and arriving late at registration, the team got its first choice for a presentation slot. Stavikova said being the last team to present would give them the final impression on the judges.
“None of [the judges] really had any holes to poke in the presentation,” Dovalina said.
The plan for the casino was so in-depth that one judge even said the companies would be willing to pay for that level of consulting – an estimated $250,000 to be exact.
Both Stavikova and Kubankova said they would be interested in participating in another case competition in January – the largest one in the world – but have made no commitments to compete.