Darden School Triumphs at Deloitte’s Second Annual National Case Competition

09 January 2012

Deloitte and the Deloitte Foundation announced today that a team from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business won the second annual National Case Competition held at Deloitte University’s landmark campus for learning and leadership development. Comprised of First Year students Samuel He Huang, Tarun Keswani, Daniel Lee and Sarah Washabaugh, Darden’s team won the competition for their superior performance in a marketing case, earning them the top prize of $20,000 and summer associate offers from the organization.

The Darden student team became a finalist in the national competition after winning the Deloitte Case Competition against a field of 80 First Year Darden students, held on Darden Grounds 3–4 November 2011.

Sixteen finalist student teams from America’s top MBA programs competed in the evaluation of a complex business issue for Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing Company. Each team was provided with business case details and a 12-hour time limit to test students’ critical thinking, strategic problem-solving and marketplace knowledge.

“The basic premise behind our recommendations was to provide the client with ideas that are creative, yet executable and financially sound,” explained Tarun Keswani (Class of 2013). “While it was definitely a big challenge to go up against some of the best business schools in the country, at the same time, it made the experience so much more memorable. We met tons of great people from other schools, from the beer industry and of course, from Deloitte. For us, it was a learning experience in what it takes to build a solution for a client in an industry we are not very familiar with and under a very compressed timeline.”

Darden’s distinctive combination of top-ranked teaching faculty, the case method and its tight-knit community prepare its students and alumni to be leaders in the world of practical affairs.

“The Darden case method and our experiences in learning teams have prepared us well for performing Herculean tasks in a short amount of time, and working well with a group of people,” added Daniel Lee (Class of 2013).

Student teams from the following schools were also recognized for their efforts:

  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business, second place, $10,000
  • The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, third place, $6,000
  • Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), fourth place, $3,000

“This competition offered unique insights and fresh perspectives on the real world
opportunities Sweet Water has been working on for months,” said Freddy Bensch, SweetWater co-founder. “I was glad to see the teams deliver as well as they did.”
During the case study competition, teams’ work was evaluated by judges including:

  • Martin Arias, director of corporate finance, Coca Cola FEMSA
  • Nick Benz, chief operating officer, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
  • Paul Early, vice president of strategy, Carlson Restaurants
  • Jenna Fagnan, president, Tequila Avion
  • Dave Guender, director of sales, SweetWater Brewing Company
  • James Hallam, vice president of marketing, Ben E. Keith Company
  • Matt Witherell, vice president of national accounts, Walmart for MillerCoors

In addition to the winners, this year’s finalists included teams of students from the following MBA programs:

  • Columbia Business School (Columbia University)
  • Goizueta Business School (Emory University)
  • The Johnson School (Cornell University)
  • McCombs School of Business (University of Texas at Austin)
  • MIT Sloan School of Management (MIT)
  • NYU Stern School of Business (New York University)
  • Owen Graduate School of Management (Vanderbilt University)
  • The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan
  • Tepper School of Business (Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Tuck School of Business (Dartmouth College)
  • UCLA Anderson School of Management (UCLA)
  • UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School (University of North Carolina)

“In the second year of this competition, we continue to be very focused on exposing some of the country’s top MBA students to strategy and operations challenges facing companies today,” commented Shaun Budnik, president of the Deloitte Foundation. “This program is a great way for them to apply their in-classroom learnings to real world business issues while building their skills set. We are encouraged by the teams who participated this year as they are the business leaders of tomorrow.”

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia