Six first-year MBAs win Verney case competition

Release date May 28, 2015

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A team of six MBA students from the University at Buffalo School of Management will share a $2,000 prize as winner of the school’s ninth annual Steven C. Verney MBA Case Competition.

Placing first were Kelsey Barbour of Clifton Park; Matthew George of West Seneca; Jinkun Huang of Harbin, China; Jeremy Johns of Albertson; Patrick Talbot of Cortlandt; and Xufeng Gao of Beijing, China.

This year, 114 first-year MBA students in the school’s full-time program competed. Nineteen teams delivered presentations to six panels of judges over the course of four days in late April and early May. The winning team was announced May 12.

Each team was assigned a separate case focusing on a distressed company facing serious operational and financial issues. Participants formulated a plan to save the troubled company and improve its long-term prospects for survival. The winning team devised a turnaround plan for Darden Restaurants Inc., which owns such casual dining chains as Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse.

The competition was created exclusively for first-year MBA students at the UB School of Management through a donation by Steven C. Verney, executive vice president and chief risk officer at Allstate Insurance Co., who earned his bachelor’s and MBA from the school in 1980 and 1981, respectively.

Judges for the competition included regional business leaders, School of Management alumni and staff.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB’s nearly 30,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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