This semester, Carlson Full-time MBA students analyzed merger and acquisition targets for UnitedHealth Group as part of the 2014 Full-Time MBA Core Case Competition. The participating teams were judged by executives of the top global company, who selected the winners on December 11.
A team made up of MBA students Anna Carpenter, Ashay Chakrapani, Daniel Hegg, David Hong, and Joshua Sopeth took first place and a cash prize for their recommendation.
The annual competition takes place during fall semester of the first year of the Carlson Full-Time MBA program. Each year, the student teams address a challenge faced by the sponsor organization, which is revealed 48 hours before judging takes place. This year, UnitedHealth Group challenged the students to perform a comprehensive analysis of several potential merger and acquisition targets. Past sponsors have included Toro and Polaris.
“This competition is an opportunity for our star students to influence future strategic choices of leading companies,” says MBA Associate Dean Steve Parente. “UnitedHealth Group is the largest health care benefits and services company on the planet, so we’re excited to be able to show their leaders what our students can do.”
The competition finalists presented their proposals to the organization’s leaders, who posed several challenging questions during a short question and answer session.
“The judges’ questions made us think about the issue from a different angle,” says Chakrapani. “The fact that this case is sponsored by UnitedHealth adds a realistic dimension to the core case experience.”
The judges included Senior VP of UnitedHealth Group and Carlson School Board of Overseers member John Penshorn, VP of Business Development Matt Aafedt, Community & State CFO Paul Balthazor, VP of Corporate Development Peter Gill, and Optum VP of Corporate Strategy Deedrea Grein.
“The best part was having the opportunity to present and support our solution in front of such an accomplished panel -- those opportunities don't just grow on trees,” says Sopeth.
Beyond the Full-Time Core Case Competition, the Carlson School offers students a variety of opportunities for hands-on learning. Students are hired by client businesses to address real-world issues through the Carlson Enterprises, the Medical Industry Valuation Lab, and the Business Analytics Experiential Learning Program.