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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Kate Beresford O'Malley
Kelley MBA Program

Marina Greenwood
Activa PR for BTS USA

Last modified: Monday, April 21, 2008

Kelley School of Business team wins simulation contest against other MBA programs

April 21, 2008

CHICAGO -- A five-person team from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business triumphed over rivals from four other universities to win the BTS University Challenge, which challenged MBA teams to compete in running a multi-billion dollar corporation.

BTS Challenge

BTS University Challenge winners (left to right) Hirak Patel, Ramit Kapoor, Shib Pramanik, Mirnalini Vijayan, Mark Eckhardt

Print-Quality Photo

BTS, a world leader in customized business simulations and other discovery-based learning solutions, organized the event April 11-12 at the Metropolitan Club in Chicago. Also competing were teams of MBAs from Northwestern University and the universities of Chicago, Michigan and Notre Dame. The Kelley School team won $2,500.

The simulation pitted the five teams against each other in running initially identical companies over a three-period, multi-year time frame. All teams had to balance revenue growth, market penetration and stakeholder satisfaction, with the winning team producing the highest return on assets, operating profit, cumulative cash flow and product pipeline at the end of the competition.

"These students performed extremely well in an experience that is far more intense than what most simulations in business schools offer," said BTS Chicago Managing Director Steve Toomey. "Congratulations to Indiana University Kelley School of Business and to all the competing teams who represented their schools well, by displaying extraordinary talent, passion and professionalism. The competing teams were so close that it was anyone's to win in the last round."

James M. Wahlen, chair of the Kelley MBA Program, noted the challenges his students faced in the competition.

"We are extremely proud of all of our students, but we are particularly proud of this group because they have represented the MBA Program at the Kelley School and Indiana University so exceptionally well," Wahlen said. "They won a very tough competition against teams from many of the best MBA programs in the U.S. They earned this victory by applying things that exemplify Kelley -- great knowledge of business skills, superb teamwork and a willingness to roll up the sleeves and work hard."

"The competition was intense, but we were lucky to have a great team that was really able to focus despite the pressure of the situation," added Shib Pramanik, a member of the Kelley School team. "The BTS University Challenge is no regular case competition; this was about having a strategy, implementing it, and changing it as per market movements. Strategy, operations, finance, economics and marketing all came together in this competition. Truly an awesome experience."

Hirak H Patel, a member of the winning Kelley School team, said having a competition based on business simulations was much different from a traditional case competition.

"This is because a traditional case competition requires participants to provide recommendations based on a study of a company or an industry in a static mode. Simulation case competition requires understanding of a company and industry on an ongoing manner as they evolve over time," Patel said. "The outcome is based not only on a team's strategy and implementation tactics, but also on a competitor's strategy and implementation tactics in an evolving marketing place."

Competition in the BTS University Challenge teams was close and all finished in close proximity to the winning Kelley School team, which did not move into first place until the very end. Team members had to respond to simulated market conditions such as an increase in regulatory oversight of their products, customer satisfaction and even recruitment of key employees. Perhaps the most important indicator of success was the ability of a team to keep a balanced scorecard of all their company's stakeholders and performance metrics -- something even seasoned corporate executives struggle to maintain.

BTS is the world leader in customized business simulations and other discovery learning solutions that enable leading corporations to change, grow and succeed. BTS serves more than 400 clients, including 40 of the U.S. Fortune 100 companies and 25 of the Global Fortune 100 world's largest corporations.