Oberlin College was awarded first place in the Seventh Annual Peoples Bank Undergraduate Business Case Competition on Saturday, February 9, 2019, at Marietta College.
The Oberlin team bested 13 other schools to garner the first place honor. Team members included economics majors Kieran Minor ’19, Amanda Shen ’21, and Luoying Sheng ’20. The team’s faculty advisor was Associate Professor of Economics Viplav Saini.
Participating teams consisted of two to three undergraduate students and one faculty advisor. They each were given three months to prepare case studies to present for Peoples Bank senior management, and the case covered multiple functional areas including human resources, finance, strategic planning and marketing. Presentations were 20 minutes in length, followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer session with a panel of judges.
While many teams came from schools with traditional business major programs, the Oberlin economics team wasn’t hampered, says senior environmental studies and economics major Kieran Minor.
“Considering we had very little background in a lot of these areas, and we were competing against business students from top programs in the region, it goes to show how sometimes ingenuity, creativity, and persistence can be more important than experience. The process itself was rewarding; the win makes it even sweeter.”
First-time faculty advisor Saini praised the team’s work on the case. “Even though no one on the team was a business major, the students managed to come up with creative and compelling solutions based on rigorous research and intuitive thinking,” says Saini.
“This flair for thinking analytically, even in areas that are outside one's comfort zone, is a distinctly Oberlin quality.”