Haas students take first, third in business competition

Kellogg biotech first place team
HAAS/Courtesy

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Two teams from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business placed first and third at the Kellogg Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition on Jan. 26.

Students from the full-time and part-time MBA programs at the Haas School of Business won prizes of $5,000 for taking first place and $1,000 for taking third place.

“I am happy that the judges recognized the work that we put into our analysis,” said Darya Rose, an MBA student who competed with the third-place team. “It meant a lot that our work was appreciated, and if we had to come in behind any team, I am glad to be behind a team from Haas.”

Hosted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and co-sponsored by Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie Pharmaceuticals, the competition invites business students to demonstrate their business and marketing skills and allows them to gain real-life experience, according to Sangeeta Vohra, a professor at Northwestern University who helped manage the competition.

Vohra said that that the competition, which began in 2007, emphasized “experienced learning” and aided students from top business schools in confronting problems that they will face in future business environments.

More than 38 teams applied to compete, but only 10 teams from the Haas School of Business, the Kellogg School of Management, the Harvard Business School and the Cambridge Judge Business School were chosen to participate.

This year, the participants were given a week to assess the value of an obesity drug made by Orexigen Therapeutics. Judges evaluated the competitors’ assumptions based on finance, customer insight and how they answered the questions presented to them.

“It is definitely an experience that I can speak about and use as an example of my quantitative financial skills, my ability to work in a team with a deadline and make assumptions about the conditions of the case,” Rose said. “Also, I am able to show my presentation skills and show how I can handle being under pressure when judges asked me questions.”

According to an article published by the Haas School of Business, the team won by taking a realistic approach and accurately segmenting the target market to patients described as obese or overweight by doctors.

Brian Feth, an MBA student and member of the first-place team, said that participating in the competition “felt like it was a rite of passage.” Feth said that the prize money he earned would cover the cost of the trip to the competition, and the rest would go toward paying for his education.

The first-place team included students Brian Feth, Ji Hong Boo, Yelena Bushman, Kristian Lau and Ken Su, while the third-place team comprised Nick Mascioli, Darya Rose, Anthony Baldor, Chris Burke and Alana Tucker.

Contact Seif Abdelghaffar at [email protected].

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