Team of HSB Students Wins Johnson & Johnson Case Competition

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (April 12, 2017) — A team of six students from Saint Joseph’s University’s Haub School of Business earned first place in the annual Johnson & Johnson Case Competition, held on April 7, 2017. This was the first time that Saint Joseph’s was invited to compete in this prestigious competition.

Seven teams from Saint Joseph’s competed on campus for the chance to represent the school at the final round, hosted at Johnson & Johnson’s headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The SJU students defeated groups from nine other Universities, breaking Penn State’s three-year winning streak and earning the $3,000 prize.

Members of the team, coached by associate professor of decision and system sciences Kathleen Campbell-Garwood, Ph.D. and professor Ronald Klimberg, Ph.D., included marketing and business intelligence & analytics major Julia Alspach ’18, international business and physics major and international relations minor Miranda Mazzio ’18, business intelligence & analytics and risk management and insurance major Devin Irish ’18, pharmaceutical marketing and healthcare major Shannon Alexander ’17, finance major Coulton Terry ’19 and accounting major Matthew Ackermanv’19.

“The judges were blown away by the SJU students who participated,” says Campbell.  “To quote them: ‘This team has really set the bar high for the following teams to compete in future.’”

The Johnson & Johnson Case Competition is open to business students from a variety of majors, challenging them to work as a team to create a holistic business strategy that solves a real-world business challenge. This year’s case asked the students to consider whether Johnson & Johnson should invest in a new glucose monitoring pump for diabetic consumers, or pursue a new product (a real question that company grappled with several years ago).

“Our team had such a diverse range of perspectives,” says Mazzio, adding that most of the other schools’ teams were largely comprised of finance and accounting majors. “I think that allowed us to have a different approach.”

One of their main objectives was “to incorporate J&J’s credo into our decision-making,” adds Mazzio.

The team did research on the company’s mission and history to try to predict the decision-making process the company might follow. They also connected with Saint Joseph’s alumni working in the healthcare and marketing industries to learn about best practices and research related to medical technology. The alumni, as well as several faculty members from finance and decision & system sciences, advised them as they honed their presentation skills and made sure their final numbers were solid.

“The faculty and alumni offered us tremendous support throughout the process,” says Alspach. “We put in around 40 hours a week working on the case, and they were always willing to answer our questions.”

In the end, their hard work and research paid off. “We were the last team to present our case,” says Alspach. “After we finished, one of the judges revealed the actual solution to the challenge three years ago.”

Smiling, she adds “We matched their reasoning and final decision almost perfectly.”

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