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George Vlahakis
IU Communications

Anne Auer
IU Kelley School of Business

Last modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Students from 15 universities compete in Midwest Diversity Case Competition at IU's Kelley School

Jan. 30, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, business students from around the country spent Jan. 18 and 19 at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business competing in the second annual Midwest Diversity Case Competition. A team of students from Purdue University's Krannert School of Management came in first place, earning a $7,000 prize.

Kelley School Midwest Diversity Case Competition

The winning team of students from Purdue University

Print-Quality Photo

The prize purse of $20,000 was provided by the lead sponsor, Target Corp., and prizes were awarded to the top six finalists and six runners-up. Other winning teams were those from Kelley, in second and fifth place; Washington University of St. Louis, third and fourth; and Northwestern University, sixth.

Twenty-one teams of students from 15 schools participated, including those from Case Western Reserve University, Miami University, Ohio State University, Michigan State University and the universities of Chicago, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

"The Kelley School of Business Midwest Diversity Case Competition was a highlight of Indiana University's celebration of the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," said Tom Lenz, professor of management and the school's undergraduate program chair. "Conceived and led by members of the Kelley Student Diversity Council, teams of students from historically underrepresented groups gather to test their skills during a demanding daylong case competition.

"This invitational event also served to foster closer relationships among students from the leading universities, facilitate introductions to corporate recruiters and contribute to each student's personal and professional development," Lenz added. "The event was made possible by the generous support of the Kelley School's corporate partners and plays a major role in the Undergraduate Program's commitment to provide educational and career opportunities to academically promising students from underrepresented groups."

The Kelley Student Diversity Council is a student organization supported by the Kelley Office of Diversity Initiatives, whose mission is to foster an increase in recruitment, retention, matriculation and job placement of underrepresented minorities.

As one of the council's initiatives, the Midwest Diversity Case Competition is aimed at educating students about the importance of diversity in business and showcasing talented, underrepresented minority students. The Midwest Diversity Case Competition also served as a recruiting platform for companies, and students had the opportunity to network with companies on the Friday evening, before the case competition, during the speed-networking event and dinner banquet.

The teams, consisting of undergraduates, were asked to address the following case competition questions about Target Corp.: What opportunities does it have to enhance its current merchandise assortment to ensure relevancy to diverse guests? How also might the company be the employer of choice for all people, regardless of background?

"We were honored to host this event and proud of the talented students who devoted time and energy to participating in it," said Idalene Kesner, interim dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. "By taking part in this case competition, students got an opportunity to go head-to-head in an academic setting with students from other schools. Activities like this bring out the best in our students and students at other business schools.

"We also want to thank Target Corp. for its support. We are grateful to have such a generous partner in our efforts to provide new business educational opportunities like this case competition."

The case competition was judged by panels of sponsor company representatives and top Kelley MBA students.

Additional corporate sponsors included GE, E&Y, Allstate, KPMG, Xerox, Whirlpool, Huron Consulting, General Mills and Google.