Four MBA students from the Ross School of Business and a University of Michigan doctoral student placed second in the 17th Annual Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition at Northwestern University’s Kellogg’s School of Management last month. Competing against the best teams from top business schools across the country, the students were tasked with tackling challenges facing the healthcare industry.
Of the 56 teams to apply for the competition, which was held in mid-January, only 11 applicants were chosen to attend the two-day event. Representing Michigan Ross and U-M were team members Alex Erikson, MBA '21; Molly Fallon, MBA '21; Natasha Suddhi, MBA, '21; Clinton Bourbonais, MBA '21; and Ben Swanson, a dual PhD/DDS student.
A week before the competition, teams were given a case study and asked to solve a fictional scenario. This year’s competition focused on the fictional pharmaceutical company Oakdale, which sought advice on acquiring Aimmune, a publicly traded company developing immunotherapy for peanut allergies; or developing internal, early-stage gene therapies as an alternative to acquiring Aimmune. Students were asked to consult on the best possible path for the company and then present their research to leading healthcare industry executives.
The Michigan Ross team placed second, earning a cash prize of $2,000.
“We were honored just to be chosen to compete at this very competitive case competition and thrilled to be among the top finishers,” said Erikson. “As we were working through our presentation, we felt we had hit on something very good, and we were optimistic, but you don’t know until you receive feedback at the very end.”
Erikson said he enjoyed the competition and was reminded through the experience of the importance of a diverse team with different perspectives and skill sets.
That sentiment was shared by his team members.
“The competition was a great experience to integrate many different aspects of what we learn in coursework into real-world problems with potentially huge decision-making implications for both companies and patients,” said Swanson. “Our team was incredibly diverse and we were able to lean on each other's backgrounds and skills to both execute efficiently and broaden our own experience.”
Through its curricular and co-curricular offerings, Michigan Ross equips students with the skills, knowledge, and real-world experience to prepare them for growing healthcare industries and innovations. Ross recently expanded support for MBA students interested in healthcare through the Pinkert Scholars Program, which provides full-ride scholarships and mentorships to MBA students dedicated to the healthcare field.
In addition, the school recently joined the Business School Alliance for Health Management, an organization that supports business school health management programs and their faculty, students, and graduates in educating the next generation of leaders and advancing thought leadership in the field.