College of Business hosts inaugural SEC business school competition

The College of Business proposed the idea to the SEC.

MU hosted teams from all 14 Southeastern Conference schools in the conference’s first business competition, which ran from Thursday through Saturday in Cornell Hall.

Masters of Business Administration students were given 24 hours to create and present their solution to a real-world business problem provided by the event sponsor, AT&T. The problem dealt with general business policy and strategic management area, according to the competition’s website. A panel of corporate executives and academics judged the teams' proposals on quality of analysis and presentation clarity.

"These case competitions allow all of the students involved to work directly with a company offering a real problem," College of Business Dean Joan Gabel said in an email. "The added layer of friendly competition brings out a spirited intensity not unlike the competitive nature of the marketplace our students will soon enter."

The University of Florida took home the $10,000 case prize, and the University of Arkansas and Texas A&M University placed second and third, respectively.

While the MU team may not have won the top prize, the College of Business did bring the idea for the program to the SEC.

MU was set to host a similar competition for The Big 12 Conference this year, Gabel said in an email. After moving to the SEC, Gabel's administrative team, including the Crosby MBA Program, asked about a similar competition, but the conference did not have an equivalent.

"We asked the other SEC schools if they were interested, and we received back an overwhelmingly positive response," Gabel said. "That’s when we offered to host the inaugural event.”

Many details of the event were kept secret per competition rules. The academic affiliation of each team was not disclosed to the judges, so the MU team did not have a home advantage.

For the competition's debut, the Athletic Department, AT&T, the SEC and Trulaske College of Business committed significant personnel and financial resources, according to a college of business news release. The teams were given a tour of Mizzou Athletics Training Center, and the team faculty-advisors had lunch with Athletic Director Mike Alden.

This competition falls under the SEC's academic initiative, SECU. The SEC made a three-year commitment to launch and sustain the program.

“The SEC MBA Case Competition is an exciting addition to the SECU menu as it is our first foray into the graduate level of studies,” SECU Executive Director Torie Johnson said in an SEC news release. “We are thrilled to be able to provide a forum for this type of education for our business students."

Gabel said she believes the competition will continue beyond those three years.

"The schools have outlined a rotation for who will host the event each year,” she said.

Next year’s event will be hosted at the University of Alabama’s College of Business.  

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