Vanderbilt takes 2nd place in national case competition

A cross-disciplinary team of MBA candidates and Peabody graduate students propose strategy recommendations for San Francisco’s school district

Media Contact:
Ryan Underwood
Owen Graduate School of Management
(615) 322-3469 |

Mar 15, 2012

A team of MBA and graduate students from Vanderbilt University took second place at the 2012 Education Leadership Case Competition hosted by the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

The four-person case-competition teams proposed strategy recommendations for how the San Francisco Unified School District should most effectively deploy and sustain a $45 million federal school-improvement grant. The grant focused on the turnaround of 15 of the lowest performing schools in San Francisco.

The Vanderbilt team included Bill Kottenstette, a second-year MBA candidate at the Owen Graduate School of Management specializing in Strategy and Human and Organizational Performance (HOP); Rufus Frazer, a first-year MBA candidate at Owen specializing in Operations Management and HOP; Peabody College graduate student Jim Handorf, who is pursuing a M.Ed. in Organizational Leadership; and Peabody graduate student Xiao Wang, who is getting a MA in International Education and Policy Management.

Ten teams from nine different schools participated in the case competition. A team from the University of California, Los Angeles took first place, while a team from UC-Berkeley took third place. Vanderbilt’s team received $1,500 for its second-place win.

Teams from schools including Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School also competed.

“More and more individuals from top MBA programs are looking for ways to apply the skills they are developing in school to our public education system,” Kottenstette said. “I can think of three specific parts to our recommendation that came directly from what I have learned in class and from the insights I have heard from my classmates over the past two years.”

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.