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UNA Students Compete in The Economist Case Study Investment Challenge

UNA MBA Students compete in The Economist competition.The Economist magazine invited 24 business schools across the United States, Europe and Australia to compete in the Case Study Investment Challenge this past fall. Each team included three exceptional students from their prospective schools who analyzed real estate website company Zillow’s $3.5 billion acquisition of rival site Trulia in a stock-only transaction. Since the deal was completed before the competition began and Wall Street analysts and media associates had issued their opinions, teams were charged with presenting “in-depth and unconventional answers” on the deal.

Teams were given roughly two weeks to research the industry and analyze the case. Their conclusions were presented via live webinar. 

The UNA MBA Program is represented by Mike Veigel, Mobile Software Development Manager at Ellie Mae; Brian O’Leary, US Army Master Sergeant; and Lori Light, Director of Marketing/PR for Crestwood Medical Center. All three students are enrolled in the online MBA program and currently reside in San Diego, California; El Paso, Texas; and Huntsville, Alabama, respectively.

Dr. Dennis Balch served as the faculty member who advised the UNA team. “I teach core courses in the MBA,” Dr. Balch said, “So I see all the students who come through the program. I recruited some of the top students I had encountered, students who excel in business policy and the business strategy class.”

Mike Veigel won the Capstone Business Simulation Challenge in the spring of 2014 and is preparing to launch his own business, Steel MMA, a mixed-martial arts instruction and fitness training facility in San Diego. Veigel said, “Dr. Balch introduced me to the Business Model Canvas and Prezi, a presentation software, like Power Point on steroids, which I continue to use in evaluating my soon-to-be business and in my current work at Ellie Mae. Although I would love to win this team competition, the journey was far more important as it prepared me to be a more effective leader at both work and in my own business.” 

Brian O’Leary added, “The chance to represent UNA against some of the top business schools around the world was amazing. We saw it at as an investment in our team by UNA and our advisor Dr. Balch, who met with us nightly (sometimes for several hours and on weekends) near the end of the competition. We wanted to represent the school well and show that UNA could produce world-class competitors. Regardless of the outcome of the competition, it was a unique opportunity that I believe has enhanced both my ability to handle diverse problem sets, and my marketability with future employers.”

Echoing her teammates’ sentiments, Lori Light said, “I am very honored to have been asked to participate and represent UNA. There are many elite teams representing schools with excellent business school reputations. While it would be incredible to win this competition, the experience gained and the relationships formed during this project are invaluable to me personally and professionally.”

Competition winners will be announced in February with prize money awarded to the top three teams selected by the Muddy Waters judging panel. Additionally, a People’s Choice award of $3,000 will be issued to a single team with the most “Likes” for their presentation.  Anyone can vote for these teams by visiting the competition website. 

Vote for the UNA COB team for the People’s Choice Award by clicking here.

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