You are here: Home / News Release Archives / 2013 / April / 'One Hit Wonders' Take Top Honors at Kohl's-Sponsored Case Competition

'One Hit Wonders' Take Top Honors at Kohl's-Sponsored Case Competition

More than 60 Penn State students competed in the annual Smeal Case Competition, held March 21-23 at the Atherton Hotel in State College, Pa. The Smeal College of Business competition is sponsored each year by Kohl’s, which provides a $5,000 reward to the winning team.
April 1, 2013

More than 60 Penn State students competed in the annual Smeal Case Competition, held March 21-23 at the Atherton Hotel in State College, Pa. The Smeal College of Business competition is sponsored each year by Kohl’s, which provides a $5,000 reward to the winning team.

Announced at the Awards Dinner on Saturday, March 23, the winning team was the One Hit Wonders: Finance majors Chris Marthers, Anurag Kumar, and Noor Nahavandi; and Ryan Saba, a student in the integrated Master of Accounting Program.

The three-day competition began with a tour of Kohl’s retail store in State College, during which students learned about the company’s strategy and how stores are structured and organized.

“The store tour was our Kohl’s industry 101,” said Nahavandi. “And we integrated something into our presentation from every area of the store that we saw.”

After the tour, the teams and their advisers, select Smeal faculty, and several Kohl’s executives gathered at the Atherton Hotel—where students were sequestered during the competition—for a kickoff dinner.

“I think it’s really exciting to get a chance to network with Kohl’s executives,” said ‘I Smeal a Victory’ team member Zachary Fleming, a Supply Chain and Information Systems major. “It’s also nice to get a chance to talk with other students. We see these kids all the time but don’t always get a chance to talk to them.”

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Jeff Sharp welcomed guests to the dinner, and spoke about the unique opportunity provided by the competition and its sponsorship by Kohl’s.

“This weekend is a wonderful picture of how the private sector can work together with the University to launch the next generation of students,” said Sharp.

Students picked up the cases on Friday morning and spent the next 24 hours hard at work preparing for the first round of presentations. The teams were tasked with developing a mobile solution to enhance Kohl’s customers’ in-store experience.

“We wanted to provide something that gives the shopper a more personalized experience,” said Saba. “We proposed features like personal suggestions based on purchasing history and a ‘Help Me’ button that would notify store associates.”

After the first round of presentations on Saturday morning, four teams were chosen to present in the final round.

The competition was intense, said members of the winning team, but the ‘One Hit Wonders’ presentation ultimately came out on top.

“We really took an analytical look at things, like how our plan fit into their strategy. We also really focused on our idea’s benefit to Kohl’s,” said Saba. “We also did well in the question and answer sessions. The judges had a lot of logistical questions, and I think we had really good answers.”

Charles Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal and one of the judges in the final round, spoke at the awards dinner about how case competitions like this add educational value to students who participate.

Nahavandi agreed: “In the classroom, you learn the tools, but case competitions give us practice using the tools. Every case competition I do, I learn something new, whether it’s about teamwork, leadership, or the industry.”

Recent News
Smeal's Multimedia Team Recognized for Providing Valuable Student Service 24 Jul

A group of Smeal College of Business staff members were recently recognized for their efforts to provide students with professional portraits for their LinkedIn profiles. The Penn State Information Technology Resource Responsibility award was granted to the Resource, Instruction, and Information Technology (RIIT) Group’s Multimedia Team.

Company Looks to Penn State Smeal for Next Generation Supply Chain Talent 23 Jul

The Penn State Smeal College of Business is one of only two schools from which Burlington Stores, a national off-price retailer headquartered in New Jersey, actively recruits for its Supply Chain Leader Development Program. This leadership program for supply chain graduates is an 18-month program that introduces new graduates to the various roles and responsibilities of leadership at the company.

Management and Organization's Gioia Reflects on GM Crisis 11 Jul

When GM began recalling vehicles in February because of an ignition-switch problem, the situation brought back early career memories for Denny Gioia. Currently, the Robert and Judith Klein Professor of Management and chair of the Department of Management and Organization at the Penn State Smeal College of Business, Gioia once worked as recall coordinator for Ford Motor Company.

Inaugural Executive MBA Leadership Forum Addresses Issues in Health Care 09 Jul

Early last month, the Penn State Smeal Executive MBA Program hosted its inaugural Senior Leadership Forum, an opportunity for current and prospective students as well as program alumni to come together to discuss business and leadership.

Ghadar's Recent Book on Immigration's Benefits Garners Media Attention 08 Jul

Becoming American: Why Immigration is Good for Our Nation’s Future, authored by Penn State Smeal College of Business’ William A. Schreyer Professor of Global Management, Policies, and Planning Fariborz Ghadar, has garnered much media attention since its release in March of this year.

More Recent News... More Recent News...