FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The University of Alabama took first place in the 2016 SEC MBA Case Competition held at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas on Saturday. The winning team was comprised of Abhinav Bhattacharya, Matt Collins, Katie Grayson, and Katie Lamberth, and it was the university's first SEC competition title.
"I could not be more excited right now because this team has worked so hard all year long, and I am so proud of how they competed today," said Tut Wilson, Director of Recruiting and Admissions, MBA Program at the University of Alabama. "The members of this team have very different strengths and very different personalities, but they really came together. They are exhausted, but they are elated, and I'm thrilled for them."
The University of Florida finished second in the competition, followed by Texas A&M University and Mississippi State University.
A team of four MBA students from every SEC university was presented a business case by Henkel, a multinational company that produces consumer and industrial products. The teams, who were separated into four divisions, proposed their solutions to a panel of judges, including Henkel executives, on Saturday morning in divisional rounds. The top four proposals moved on to the final round to determine the winner of the competition.
Other awards given during the divisional rounds included Best Presenter and Best Q&A.
Sarah Gardener from Louisiana State University, Katie Lamberth from the University of Alabama, Lillian Niakan from Texas A&M University and Kate O'Hara from the University of Florida were named Best Presenters for their respective divisions.
The Best Q&A Awards were earned by Abhinav Bhattacharya from the University of Alabama, Sarah Crook from the University of Tennessee, Kendall Daniel from Texas A&M University and Carew Ferguson from Mississippi State University.
"The experience that you gain through a competition like the SEC MBA Case Competition is invaluable," said Katie Lamberth, a second year student from the University of Alabama. "You have to come up with a realistic solution, and you can't be wrong because the judges are a part of the company and they know their company. The intensity is on a completely different level."
This marks the fourth year for the SEC MBA Case Competition, which provides an opportunity for SEC business schools to showcase their students' skills at solving simulated, real-world problems that cover the spectrum of business disciplines. The 2017 SEC MBA Case Competition will be held at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
A full list of winners from the 2016 SEC MBA Case Competition is below.
Final Team MBA Case Competition Results
First Place: University of Alabama (Abhinav Bhattacharya, Matt Collins, Katie Grayson, Katie Lamberth)
Second Place: University of Florida (Lexie Cegelski, John Darnell, Kate O'Hara, Jonathan Sirgusa)
Third Place: Texas A&M University (Kendall Daniel, Lillian Niakan, Maulik Mehta, Jared Sprunk)
Fourth Place: Mississippi State University (Brandon Balli, Charlie Dean, Garrett Dismukes, Carew Fersuson)
Best Presenter Award
Sarah Gardener (Louisiana State University)
Katie Lamberth (University of Alabama)
Lillian Niakan (Texas A&M University)
Kate O'Hara (University of Florida)
Best Q&A Award
Abhinav Bhattacharya (University of Alabama)
Sarah Crook (University of Tennessee)
Kendall Daniel (Texas A&M University)
Carew Ferguson (Mississippi State University)