Smeal Case Competition

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2014 Smeal Case Competition sponsored by Kohl's

Introduction to the 2014 Smeal Case Competition sponsored by Kohl's. A general overview is provided of the competition in addition to listing the 2014 winners and some quotes from the 2012 competition participants.

March 27-29, 2014

2014 Smeal Case Competition Sponsored by Kohl’s

The Smeal Case Competition sponsored by Kohl’s, is an undergraduate competition that challenges students' knowledge, problem solving abilities, and teamwork skills to solve realistic business problems in a demanding twenty-four hour format.  Last year, over forty teams applied to compete in the event and sixteen teams were selected to represent the Smeal College of Business as well as the Commonwealth campuses.  Kohl’s representatives, faculty, staff, and students are very excited to once again host the fourth annual Smeal Case Competition sponsored by Kohl's.

Teams are required to stay at The Nittany Lion Inn for the duration of the event. Teams are not responsible for hotel or meal costs throughout the competition; however, team advisers are responsible for hotel costs at a discounted rate and some meals will not be provided.

This year, sixteen teams will be chosen to compete at the event and four finalists will contend for the Smeal Case Cup as well as a $5,000 scholarship from Kohl’s that will be divided among the four team members.

The Smeal Case Competition sponsored by Kohl's is an excellent way to test your business knowledge in a competitive and challenging environment!

Congratulations to the 2014 winning team - The Solutioners (University Park)!

Kaitlyn Schmeck, John Moran, William Belsterling, Madelyn Koch

Quotes about the 2012 Competition!

Eli Kariv - Marketing Major, Participant,  Team Capitalist
Pennsylvania State University | Smeal College of Business

I just wanted to say thank you for hosting such an amazing competition.
Everything from the case to the atmosphere was picture perfect and I really had a lot of fun. In particular, the final awards dinner was absolutely amazing and it was such an honor and great opportunity to participate in the Smeal Case Competition.

Thank you all so much again,

Fred Hurvitz, Kohl's Professor of Practice in Retail, Smeal Case Competition Finals Judge,
Smeal Faculty
| Marketing Department
I thought the event ran smoothly and was a big success.  I was especially impressed with all four of the teams that made the finals.  It was extremely difficult picking a winner.  All four teams were impressive!

Karen Winterich, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Smeal Case Competition Judge,
Smeal Faculty
| Marketing Department
It is fascinating to see the variety of ideas that the students develop, especially considering their limited time to prepare the case and the level of detail in which their ideas are presented.

The Kohl’s Case Competition is a wonderful learning opportunity for all participants. Both faculty and Kohl’s executive judges learn from the students’ cutting-edge ideas while the students learn from observing other teams as well as from the feedback by faculty and Kohl’s executive judges.

I look forward to seeing what case recommendation may actually be implemented at Kohl’s and developed in the retail environment more generally in the coming years as well as seeing return participants develop in their case development and presentation skills.

Maurie Caitlin Kelly, PhD, Adjunct Faculty
Smeal College of Business, International Business & PSU Division of Business & Engineering

...... I must say, that is one fabulous team (Great Expectations, second place winner)!!  It was great from start to finish.... I would certainly say that it was a great learning experience for the students and an excellent chance for all of the campuses to come together and learn, collaborate,and celebrate Penn State. The Kohl's staff was amazing--friendly, professional, and so supportive of all the students who attended.

Kyle Wang- Finance Major, Chinese Minor, Participant,  Team Capitalist
Pennsylvania State University | Smeal College of Business

Taking part in the Smeal Case Competition was like raiding a tomb.  As we moved deeper and deeper through each milestone, hour by hour, the event's ability to continuously exceed our expectations seemed limitless.  From the store tour to the final awards dinner, the entire competition was a nonstop adrenaline rush that overflowed with unexpected insight and enlightenment layer by layer.  Everything, from the treasured midnight pizza to the beautiful weather, was perfect. What an absolute honor to take part in such an amazing experience with such talented people under a glorious, sapphire sky.

I could not thank all involved more for the opportunity.

Andrea Fochler- Winners,  The Real Dream Team, Marketing Major
Pennsylvania State University | Smeal College of Business

Thank you so much!
The Smeal Case Competition presented me with so many great opportunities. I got to work on a real world business scenario with my teammates, present our case to Kohl's executives, and network with students across all the Penn State campuses.  I cannot thank Kohl's, the Smeal professors and alumni, and all the student volunteers enough for such a wonderful, generous, and beneficial weekend. Definitely one of my best Penn State experiences to date!

Shaun Knight, Educational Strategy & Planning Mgr, Dean's Office, Team Advisor, Winners, The Real Dream Team
Pennsylvania State University | Smeal College of Business
" I have to first say how proud I am of our team and their ability to maintain focus, a high degree of professionalism, and fully represented what Smeal students can do in a highly collaborate environment when put under intense pressure. Their solution design was creative, concise, and embraced the essence of the Kohl's brand and identity. Secondly, the recognition should not stop with the winning team. Every team in this competition brought forward creative ideas with the utmost in professionalism while gaining valuable case competition experience and professional connections that will go far beyond this event. Finally, the organization of this event by the Smeal faculty, staff, and student group was superb and should not go unnoticed. Their attention to numerous logistical challenges and the passion to make this event a true partnership between Kohl's and Smeal was evident throughout the entire experience. The event is something all Penn State students across the commonwealth can look forward to every year!"

Matthew Thorwart - Winners, The Real Dream Team, Marketing Major
Pennsylvania State University | Smeal College of Business
"The Smeal Case Competition was one of the most enriching business experiences I've ever had.  I loved the 24-hour, time sensitive format because it showed me what real business scenarios can be like at a company.  This case required me to harness everything I learned from all of my classes at Smeal.  I recommend this case competition to anyone who wants to develop their critical thinking and business."

Raghav Hardas - Participant, PSU Brandywine
Pennsylvania State University | Brandywine

“Three things I took away from the Kohl’s Case Competition: Pride in my accomplishments and the hard work of our team at Penn State Brandywine, new profound friendships gained from 24 straight hours of collaboration, and a crazy fun experience that embodies college life.”

Amelia Klaus - Participant, PSU Brandywine
Pennsylvania State University | Brandywine
“Participation in this competition has given me the opportunity to improve my problem solving skills in the fast paced work environment of Corporate America that I would not be able to experience in a classroom setting.”

Kiley Gilligan - Participant, PSU Brandywine
Pennsylvania State University | Brandywine

“It is a great networking opportunity. Especially for students at satellite campuses who are transferring up to Smeal.”

Paul Zwierzchowski - Participant, PSU Brandywine
Pennsylvania State University | Brandywine

"…I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in this competition.  I have met ingenious students, networked with distinguished faculty, and absorbed company processes from Kohl's executives.  I am grateful to have had the chance to engage in scholastic competition while representing our small campus at this great event.  Thank you all for creating an environment where I was challenged while trying to develop, implement, and execute ideas for a great company."