Elite Eight winners

On November 6, the Elite Eight Brand Management Case Competition kicked off at the Carlson School, and attracted participants from eight top-ranked MBA programs. On November 8, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business was named the winner and awarded the $10,000 grand prize, while the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business won second place, and the Carlson School team took third.

The Carlson School team was comprised of Full-Time MBA students Alyssa Callister, Jaclyn Gonzales, and Ben Gordon, Wes Lilja, and Catherine Wang.

Now in its 14th year, the student-led Elite Eight case competition focus on real-world brand management opportunities faced by companies in today’s competitive marketplace. The case and sponsor remain secret until the opening night, at which time the teams are given 36 hours to prepare for final presentations to the sponsor company’s management team.

“An important piece of this competition is to look at an impactful business problem, and make sure your recommendation is equally impactful,” says Gordon.

This year, Elite Eight was sponsored by Coloplast, a developer and manufacturer of medical devices and services. Teams were tasked with developing a market entry strategy for a new product.

“We got to learn all about their business, and address a problem that was incredibly complex and challenging to deal with,” says Lilja.

Coloplast will consider the competitors recommendations as it proceeds with the product launch.

“It’s important for us to position our products and our company so that end users know what we stand for. The recommendations we heard at Elite Eight will influence how our end user views our brand,” says Ed Veome, Elite Eight judge, and senior vice president in the Chronic Care Division of Coloplast.

This year, other sponsors included 3M, Ecolab, General Mills, Land O’Lakes and Target. A major goal of the competition is to connect companies with MBA students from across the country.