Yale SOM Team Wins National Net Impact Case Competition
A team of second-year Yale SOM students won the Pioneer Employer Case Competition at the national Net Impact conference held October 28 in Portland, Oregon. The group—Julia Otis, Emma Pollack-Pelzner, Julia Rozovsky, Matt Schmitt, and Jason Zahorchak—beat finalists from four other MBA programs: MIT, Rice, Washington University, and the University of Maryland.
For the competition, teams were asked to analyze a case about Pioneer Employer QuikTrip, a convenience/gasoline retailer in the South that was considering how to expand into North Carolina. Teams from around the country submitted written proposals in the spring. The five finalists presented their recommendations before a panel of judges in Portland. According to a Net Impact press release, the Yale SOM team “showed the highest quality analysis, but where they really shined was in their ability to defend their recommendations for the case.”
Zahorchak said the group did well in Portland because it was able to approach a large-scale problem and boil it down to its most important aspects. He added that this ability to tackle complex problems is a direct result of being students at Yale SOM. “We have really excellent and rigorous in-school competitions that were invaluable for getting us prepared for a national battle,” he said. “And we pooled a lot of what we learned from a host of courses—Competitor, Customer, Sourcing and Managing Funds, and Corporate Finance. It really gave us an edge.”
This is the second victory for the team, and the third for three of its members. Last year, Otis, Rozovsky, and Zahorchak were part of a team that won the Yale SOM Net Impact case competition for first-year students, while the current lineup placed first in the business plan competition to find a new role for the Food for Thought student-run café in the new campus. For the national Net Impact win, the team received $3,000.