A team of four undergraduates from Purdue University’s Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business won the 2023 National Women's Case Competition on April 13-15 in Austin, TX.
Sponsored by Apple, the event was hosted by The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business with collaboration from Women in Business Association, the Undergraduate Business Council, and Graduate Women in Business, with support of the McCombs Office of Outreach and Inclusion.
The teams were challenged with identifying the root cause for a hypothetical increase in in-person shopping in Apple stores, developing a marketing strategy to allow Apple to capitalize on this social phenomenon, showing a forecast demand, and creating a supply plan that considered the manufacturing constraints, distribution center capacity, and environmental impact.
The Purdue team placed first out of 18 competing teams from across the nation, including University of Washington, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Washington University in St. Louis, Emory University, Southern Methodist University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dubbed the Boiler Business Makers, Purdue’s team was led by Katarina Nikolovski, a senior marketing major, and also included Kaitlin Stewart-Allen, a senior majoring in supply chain information and analytics, and junior industrial management majors Amanda Hubert and Greta Frehner. As the winning team, the students will share a $4,000 cash prize.
“We addressed the shift to in-person shopping by identifying a last-mile worker strike through UPS, causing an increase in shipment time and a change in consumer behavior,” Nikolovski says. “Our team implemented a marketing strategy that focused on mitigating the situation and enhancing customers’ Apple shopping experience with various campaigns, product interactions, and artistic efforts.”
Nikolovski says the team worked meticulously to develop an execution plan that was underpinned by market research and integrated with supply chain and data analytics. “Leveraging our strong analytical and research abilities as Purdue students, we were able to create a solution that not only aligned with the company’s objectives, but was also projected to be more sustainable and meet the rising demands of customers,” she says.
Having a strong presentation was equally crucial. “Our team has exceptional communication skills and was able to tell a story that concisely conveyed our ideas,” Nikolovski says. “We were adept at responding to judges’ questions and concerns confidently, using the knowledge we acquired over the course of the competition.”
Cara Putman, a clinical assistant professor and director of the Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Business, says that the students exemplify the best of the Daniels School of Business.
“These young women captured the judges’ attention from the opening day,” she says. “Their hard work and dedication throughout their time at Purdue culminated at the case competition. While I am proud of their accomplishments, I’m prouder of the confident young leaders they are and the numerous ways they make the Daniels School a better place.”