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The University of Alabama

UA MBA Students Only U.S. Team to Place in International Case Competition

USCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama Masters of Business Administration Case Team placed third in the annual George Washington University International M.B.A. Case Competition held in Washington, D.C. , the only American team to place in the event.

Student teams from the Concordia University and the University of Copenhagen placed first and second, respectively.

This year’s case team represented a diverse group of majors and was sponsored by the University of Alabama’s Manderson Graduate School of business and the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute.

Team members included Lauren Dupuis of Florence who is concentrating in Real Estate, Morgan Martin of Columbus, Miss. who is concentrating in Strategic Management, Stephanie Reichman of Camarillo, Calif. who is pursuing a joint law-MBA degree, and Danny Smith of Boaz who is concentrating in Finance. Dupuis and Smith are members of the Manderson class of 2009 while Martin and Reichman are first year M.B.A. students.

The team was coached by Dr. Lou Marino, an associate professor of entrepreneurship and strategic management, and Dr. Craig Armstrong, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, both in the University’s department of management and marketing.

“It was incredible to be part of this powerhouse team,” Reichman said. “Our complementary strengths made us a force to be reckoned with, and it seemed that through our training we had all bases covered for the competition. It would be an honor to work with this team in the real world.”

The GWU International Competition has been held each spring for the past 16 years and is considered one of the most challenging in the country. GWU brings together about 20 business schools from across the globe to analyze a specific organization’s current business situation and to present recommendations that draw on the assets of the organization.

This year’s competition included 18 schools from the U.S., Canada, Denmark and China. The schools included The University of Alabama, The University of Alberta, American University, Baylor University, University of Buffalo, Concordia University, Copenhagen Business School, University of Delaware, University of Denver, DePaul University, The George Washington University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Oklahoma State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of South Carolina, Tennessee Technological University, University of Toronto and The University of Western Ontario.

The 2009 case focused on the U.S. Green Building Council. Competitors were charged with determining how the USGBC should expand its presence to help foster the government mandated 80-percent emissions reduction by 2050, as well as meet internal challenges such as brand awareness, the lack of public information, and making a larger positive impact on the environment.

The Alabama team’s presentation focused on two recommendations. The first recommendation was a grass roots marketing campaign including a partnership with the Ad Council and presented an addition to the USGBC website called a “Green Building Portal” to provide commercial and consumer users with resourceful information about green building. The second recommendation was to expand the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design accreditation system to include entire companies and cities.

“This was truly a team effort from the moment we received the case,” Smith said. “Four very diverse individuals formed a cohesive team that can compete on any level. Our success in D.C. is my proudest academic achievement.”

Each team had two weeks to examine the problems and submit solutions. All teams, which competed anonymously by team numbers, presented their solutions in two preliminary rounds Friday and Saturday. The three finalists – The University of Alabama’s Manderson Graduate School of Business, Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Montreal, and the Copenhagen Business School – then competed in a third round Saturday afternoon.

“Being able to use our business education to work on a case that deals with a significant world issue – environmental sustainability – made the hard work and long hours a meaningful experience,” Dupuis said.

Martin said, “This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career, and I feel fortunate to have been surrounded by some of the brightest minds this University has to offer. The talent and poise displayed by my teammates is a good representation of what kind of graduates The University of Alabama is able to produce.”

The Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration was established in 1919, and, in 1929, it became the 38th school to earn admission into the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business. The excellence of the UA business school has been acknowledged on a national level. The undergraduate program is ranked 29th among public universities by U.S. News, and the Culverhouse School of Accountancy is ranked 15th among public universities by U.S. News. The graduate accounting program is ranked 19th, and the undergraduate program 15th, by Public Accounting Report. The entrepreneurial program is ranked 20th nationally.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.