Sunday, April 01, 2007

Here's the official press release


Winners of $47,500 International Tech Case Competition Just Announced

MBA Students from Sloan School of Management Won

11 Top Business Schools Sent Teams

BOSTON, MA, March 31, 2007 – The Second International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition, hosted by Boston University School of Management and sponsored by the Motorola Foundation, has just announced the winners.

First place went to the students from Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who were awarded the top prize of $25,000. The team captain was Ryan Hudson, and the team members were Garrett Dodge, Damian Fernandez and Bala Venkatrao.

Placing second with a $15,000 award was the student team from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. The third place finishers were from Stanford School of Business, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, and they shared a $5,000 prize. The students from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, placed fourth and won $2,500.

This is the only international tech strategy business case competition featuring MBA students from the world’s top business schools. On some campuses, 22 and even 27 teams competed to represent the business school during the March 29-3l event.

Each team had 24 hours to address the subject, “What is the best way for Motorola to win in seamless delivery of media and entertainment?”

The captain of the MIT team, Ryan Hudson, said, "We presented ideas that would enable seamless mobility to extend to new content. For example, we see the consumer turning the cell phone and TV cable box into My Channel by becoming the creator and distributor of content, and spreading that content through Motorola products."

The Motorola Foundation sponsored this event for the second year. Navin Mehta, Motorola Vice President, Network & Enterprise Services, announced the decisions of the judges. He said, "This is the second year that Motorola has sponsored this event, and it continues to be an exciting and impressive experience. The depth and quality of the presentations made it a challenging task to pick the winning teams, and we look forward to exploring some of their ideas in more detail."

Louis E. Lataif, Dean, Boston University School of Management, the host school, said, "This unique international competition focused on the critical role of technology in contemporary business at all levels. These students gave additional proof that future business leaders must be adept in employing technology for both operating and strategic advantage. The competition also exposed the students to 14 highly-placed technology and telecom executives."

The event was organized by MBA and MS-MBA students from Boston University School of Management. The 11 teams that took part in the competition were:

Boston University School of Management (KRZR)
Eller College of Management – University of Arizona (SLVR)
Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University (CANOPY)
Kenan-Flagler Business School – University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (MotoMing)
Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (V3BLUE)
London Business School, U.K. (RAZR)
McCombs School of Business – University of Texas at Austin (MotoFone)
Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada (PEBL)
Seoul National University, Korea (Motorola Q)
Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (ROKR)
Stanford School of Business, Palo Alto, CA (SURFBoard)

About Boston University School of Management
Founded as the College of Business Administration in 1913, Boston University School of Management develops builders and leaders for the networked-era, emphasizing the fusion of the art, science, and technology of business. The School’s holistic approach prepares the next generation of business leaders for a world that values management as a system of interdependent functions, decisions, people, and technologies. It is the worldwide leader in offering a unique MS-MBA program, a rigorous dual degree and next-generation MBA fusing a traditional management education with expertise in the information technologies that are transforming all businesses. The School also offers a full range of graduate and undergraduate management degree programs and executive education.

Boston University School of Management is located at 595 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Pete Arnold
Peter Arnold Associates
cell: 781-248-3600
office: 781-239-1030

And the winners are...

After the four presentations, we all gravitated towards the cocktail reception in the Atrium. The teams looked relieved and I'm sure the alcohol helped to unwind a little bit. A lot of BU students made an appearance at the reception along with a few more professors - Prof. Brunel and Prof. Carlisle among others.

About an hour of hobnobbing and we were ready for dinner. Mary Sforza and her wonderful staff had laid out a lovely three course meal event for us and the excitement was palpable as we seated ourselves. Check out Flickr for lots of pictures of the cocktail reception and the dinner/awards ceremony. There was lots of animated chatter in the room.

Josh Cleveland, Dean Chalykoff, Dean Lataif and Navin Mehta spoke at the ceremony (podcast and/or transcript to follow) and after dinner the prizes were announced.

Fourth place - $2,500 - PEBL - Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Third place - $5,000 - SURFBoard - Stanford School of Business, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Second place - $15,000 - CANOPY - Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

First place - $25,000 - ROKR - Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Congratulations to all the teams. I hope you had an enjoyable experience.

Team SURFBoard brings it home

Team SURFBoard (Teresa Lee, Ryan Sandoval, Jeff Piper, Tatiana Bernhard) concluded the final round with their software content management application. This was the only team to have speaker notes which indicated that they weren't as well-versed with their material as the other teams. They had a fairly traditional method of analysis - starting out with Porter's 5 Forces Model to analyze the industry, presenting the content delivery value chain to build up to their plan, doing a SWOT analysis. Some of the judges questions were -

What happens when the carrier says that they don't want to be locked into Motorola's software application?

Will we be directly competing with Apple?

Do you see us partnering with Microsoft?

What are your assumptions around what it would take to market this?

Who takes the lead on this - the set top box side or the mobile side?
Teresa seemed a little nervous as she fielded the judges' questions and the team looked very relieved when the proceedings ended.

Team ROKR shows them the money

ROKR (Ryan Hudson, Garrett Dodge, Damian Fernandez-Lamela and Bala Venkatrao) was up next with their idea of a P2P media distribution network. Bala started the team out with a strong introduction, building up to the plan. Ryan seemed a little nervous in the beginning but he explained the P2P distribution network rather well. The judges were making a lot of notes and had several questions (at one point, it almost seemed like a job interview) but they seemed excited and satisfied with the discussion following the presentation. The team was not rushed at all and carried themselves confidently. Some of the audience members remarked that you could really tell the difference between the first years and the second years by their confidence levels.

Team PEBL demonstrates innovation

Team PEBL (Yan Chen, Robert Duinker, Deacon Liddy, Kalyan Chakravarthy) was up next. They had a rather informal style of presentation. They held out on not formulating a plan right away but rather went into a presentation of a combination of an industry analysis, the challenges seamless mobility will face and strategic partnerships required to lead in this game. At this point, I'm thinking I lost that one slide where they talked about their value proposition. They're moving on through the implementation plan, how to launch and financial projections and I'm starting to panic because I honestly don't know what their product is!

I guess they're pushing a new platform for seamless mobility but that's about all the detail I grasped. A high-priced new phone that will work on advanced wireless networks. A handset that works across networks. The judges obviously aren't as clueless as I am because they didn't ask what the product was. Their questions were -

How do we achieve such high gross margins as you have shown?

Does Motorola introduce new competitors or are we working with the traditional competitors?

Your solution is focused on the device and convergence with WiMAX and WiFi. Any thoughts on the impact on home devices?

Who within Motorola will go to market with this?

How is your initiative sticky? What's to prevent a competition from coming into the market and doing the exact same thing?

What if we weren't able to partner with Apple? Who would be the next company we could partner with?
Sorry PEBL, I haven't done you justice here.

Team CANOPY convinces the judges

The final round began with Team CANOPY (Abhinav Gattani, Amrenda Bisht, Benji Shomair and Sanjeev Kayath) putting forth their media and entertainment proposition for the end consumer. The team seemed a little nervous when they began but soon got into the flow of things. They seemed passionate about their initiative - a little too much so; they were rushed at the end and it seemed that some bits went on longer than they should have.

They introduced their concept in the first few minutes - a combination of set-top boxes, high-end handheld devices and content partnerships. While I cannot give away too many details of their presentation I can share some of the judges' questions and comments to show a little bit of their thought process -

This is an interesting initiative but the company is divisional-ized. You expect Motorola to do a cross-divisional application - who would own it, drive it and advocate it to make it successful?

Should the network sync the various devices or as you suggest, should the control be in the hands of the consumer?

What would be the cost per solution in the house vs. a central server doing the ingestion and the home server feeding off it?

Your initiative will get Motorola closer to the consumer. However, when you run this you run a channel conflict with the current customers - won't we be competing with our traditional customer base?

Where do we launch - North America or internationally?
The judges seemed satisfied with the answers - there was lots of head-nodding as Abhinav Gattani confidently answered their questions regarding the technology, the solution, the business model and the financial projections. He walked them through their thought process in a very logical (and rather impressively rapid) fashion. His manner and confidence indicated that this is clearly a man who knows what he's talking about.

The final round

A few professors sat in on the final round presentations - there was a Prof. Hatten sighting as well as a glimpse of Prof. Heineke. Of course, Prof. Venkat, the man who wrote the case, was also present, notepad in hand.

Three esteemed executives from Motorola graciously sat in as judges - Joseph Cozzolino, Vin Bisceglia and Navin Mehta.