First place Case Competition team Stepfinity with faculty adviser Andrea Everard and Dean Bruce Weber.

Best-case scenario

UD Case Competition participants create solutions for Cancer Care Connection


3:58 p.m., March 26, 2015--University of Delaware students presented unique ideas to Delaware nonprofit Cancer Care Connection as this year’s Carol A. Ammon Case Competition in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics focused on a local nonprofit organization for the first time.

This year marks the 15th annual Case Competition, which challenges graduate students to use an organization’s public data to present innovative recommendations to its stakeholders. A record number of participants competed this year, with 77 students on 20 teams creating unique presentations.

Honors Stories

National Medal of Science

President Barack Obama recently presented the National Medal of Science to University of Delaware alumnus Rakesh Jain.

Warren Award

Rosalind Johnson, assistant dean for student success in the NUCLEUS Program in UD's College of Arts and Sciences, was presented the John Warren Excellence in Leadership and Service Award during a May 26 ceremony.

This year’s selected organization, Cancer Care Connection, provides personalized counseling and support to cancer patients and caregivers.

“Being able to help local nonprofits as we did this year, or involving our students in meaningful community service as we did last year, adds a layer of understanding and relevance,” said MBA program manager Amy Becker, who runs the Case Competition each year with faculty adviser and associate professor of MIS Andrea Everard.

“Each year, students step up and really shine as superstars,” Becker continued. “They truly are our best and brightest.”

Placing first in the competition was Team Stepfinity, which includes MBA students Arpita Ghandi, Kristen Carr, Nathan Snodgrass and Eric Hoober.

“It’s great to see everything come together today,” Carr said. “This is like our game day. You go out, make the pitch and see what happens.”

The Stepfinity team recommended that Cancer Care Connection partner with UD to bolster marketing of their annual event, Walk Away From Cancer. This partnership includes utilizing UD interns in marketing and sport management to promote Walk Away From Cancer at local events like Wilmington Blue Rocks games.

“Hopefully Cancer Care Connection is able to utilize some of these ideas to increase their promotions and get more people to Walk Away From Cancer,” Carr said.

The winning presentation was clear and effective, including a timeline of implemented events and a promotional video. Ghandi said that this video shares “an idea going forward of what really gets people interested in donating.”

Janet Teixeira, executive director of Cancer Care Connection and one of the Case Competition judges, called the Stepfinity team’s video “brilliant.”

“They took our information and brought it to us in such a way that we could take in the emotional impact,” she said. “They seemed to totally get the limitations of a small nonprofit, so what they put in front of us was something that we could imagine making happen.”

Teixeira’s fellow judges were also Cancer Care Connection employees, including board member Ann Gualtieri, marketing and public relations consultant Ed Weirauch and cancer resource coach Jessie Hinman.

“The way the winning team presented took us on this ride with them,” Hinman said. “They were able to walk us through what their plans would actually look like.”

This year also marks the first time that the Case Competition’s judges were involved with the preliminary portions of the competition, meeting students for a roundtable discussion during the week before the completion. Hinman called this experience fun as well as meaningful.

“To know that all of these people know about Cancer Care Connection now as a resource is huge,” Hinman said. “Just hearing our names spoken that many times was powerful.”

Teixeira said that she was impressed by the “incredible amount of work, passion and commitment” that she saw from all of the teams.

“They really engaged with the topic,” Teixeira said. “Every single presentation we saw had terrific ideas. They gave enough food for thought and ideas that we’ll be able to expand on this for a long, long time to come.”

In fact, Teixeira added, “I can think of maybe five things off the top of my head that I would like to start right away.”

Taking home second place was Team CGSW, including Matt Wilhelm, NaTeka Shelton, Matt Carunchio and Kary Graser. Third place went to Team Mare Nostrum, which was made up of Patrick Burke, Cody Bowman, Isabel Graf and David Scofield.

But semifinalist judge and UD alumna Marilyn Talman wants all of the participants to remember that success is not only defined by who took home the prize.

“Winning is always fun, but it’s really not about winning,” said Talman, who now works as adjunct faculty in UD’s finance department. “It’s about the participation, the growth opportunity and what you learn that you can take to the next step in your life. It’s about the competition and the camaraderie.”

Talman, who participated in the Case Competition twice as a UD graduate student, said, “I made friends on my team that I will have for the rest of my life. We’re still connected.”

Ghandi and Carr agreed that strong teamwork was important to their success.

“My favorite part of the competition was working with this team,” Ghandi said. “They have been great and I learned a lot. Everybody put in a lot of work very sincerely.”

Students will have another opportunity to work with an exciting organization during next year’s Case Competition, where they will learn important lessons.

“Our signature event, the Carol A. Ammon Case Competition, provides our Lerner graduate students with an opportunity to use the knowledge and skills gained in our classrooms in a real-life setting,” said Becker.

“They see that these are real organizations, run by real people with real constraints,” Becker continued. “It’s not lost on them that they have a unique opportunity to provide business strategies that have a broad impact on the organization.”

Article by Sunny Rosen

Photos by Duane Perry

News Media Contact

University of Delaware
Communications and Public Affairs

UDaily is produced by
Communications and Public Affairs

The Academy Building
105 East Main Street
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716 | USA
Phone: (302) 831-2792