The Gators may not have returned from Dallas with a victory, but UF students returned from Tuscaloosa this weekend as champions.
UF not only won this year’s Southeastern Conference MBA Case Competition, but also took home the laurels at last year’s inaugural event, held at the University of Missouri.
This year, the competition took place at the Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama.
Teams of four MBA students from all 14 SEC universities were presented with a business case from Regions Bank, the event sponsor, on Friday morning. The teams presented their solutions Saturday to a panel of business executives. Four proposals moved on to the final round.
Auburn University finished second, University of Georgia third and University of South Carolina fourth.
UF’s winning team was made up of MBA UF graduate students who will split the $10,000 prize.
Carly Escue, 26, was awarded the Best Presenter Award and Karl Kremser, 25, was awarded Best Q&A Award for UF’s division. They will each receive $250.
Individual awards were based on divisional teams only. Teams were randomly assigned to one of four divisions.
UF was in a division with the University of Tennessee and the University of Mississippi.
The team first had to go through a tryout process at UF before entering the SEC competition. Four teams from UF presented a case in front of a panel of judges made up of the advisers that accompanied the UF team to the competition and faculty members.
This team advanced to the competition because of its depth of analysis and ability to anticipate questions from the judges to defend its ideas, said Jason Rife, associate director of MBA Career Services for UF and one of the team’s advisers.
Rife said UF’s performance at the competition was excellent. Team members worked until the last minute and did not sleep through the night, only taking quick 45-minute naps to sustain themselves.
The structure of their presentation was especially strong due to the team’s research — watching their own footage and footage of other teams.
Stephen Faivre, 28, said it was the support the team members had for each other that allowed them to advance. Each person trusted that team members would perform at high levels.
“I think one of our biggest strengths was we had a very diversified team, and on top of that we also had really great coaching,” Kremser said.
Eric Frohman, 29, said he is proud to be representing the UF program in this way.
“We went up against 13 other amazing MBA programs,” he said. “We had no idea what to expect, so it was awesome to hear we were advancing and even better to hear that we won.”