Vanderbilt team wins national MBA human capital case competition 

Deloitte awards $10,000 to the winning team

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Amy Wolf
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Vanderbilt University
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Nov 4, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A team of students from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management came in first place at the 2009 National MBA Human Capital Case Competition. The third annual competition, hosted by Vanderbilt Oct. 16-17, included teams from 10 of the top graduate schools nationwide.

The winning team included Vanderbilt MBA students Joe Parise, Heidi Wallenhorst, Eric Bilbrey, Kristen Schaefer, Lindsay Goldman, and Sarah Hultquist.

Prior to the competition, teams received the human capital case and were given a week to analyze the issue and prepare solutions for presentation to a team of judges, including Richard A. Kleinert, Kevin Knowles and Erica Volini from Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Corbette Doyle, lecturer in Leadership and Organizations at Vanderbilt.

The case, set in 2008, examined how Google has worked to avoid the pitfalls of rapid growth, such as bureaucracy, slow decision-making, lack of visibility and organizational inconsistency.  At the competition kickoff, an unexpected twist to the case was presented.  All students received new information and were asked to reconsider their solutions in the context of the current environment; teams had three hours to make any adjustments for presentation to the judges that afternoon.

The Owen School, which has long offered specialized study in issues of human and organizational performance, established the case competition in 2007. It was the first to be solely focused on human capital challenges. Students organize and lead the event each year. This year’s leadership team included Vanderbilt MBA students Chapin Hertel, Hana Crume and Lindsey White.

For more information on the competition, go to To read about Deloitte’s Human Capital Practice, visit

Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management is ranked as a top institution by BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times and Forbes. For more information about Owen, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.