Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Case Competition

By Jessica Ceresino (SMBA '11)

Friday marked the end of the 5th annual Sports MBA Case Competition hosted by the San Diego State Sports Business Management MBA program and the San Diego Padres. The event, held at Petco park, featured teams representing the University of Columbia, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Georgetown University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, University of Michigan, New York University and San Diego State University.

The four years prior featured cases focusing on current sports and social issues. This year the case focused on gaining revenue for the Padres, which was a unique opportunity because the teams were actually able to present to the Chief Operating Officer and President of the San Diego Padres, Tom Garfinkle. Additionally, Jeff Moorad, the owner of the Padres, sat in on one of the presentations, adding an element of surprise and pressure to the teams. The rest of the judging panel included Laura Broderick, Senior Vice President of Brand Development for the Padres, Katie Pothier, General Counsel for the Padres and Dr. Martina Musteen from the Department of Management at San Diego State University. All of the presentations were creative and well-received by the judges.

The Georgetown University McDonough School of Business team of Hale Simon, Pierce Reeves, James Ou and Rob Johnson placed first in the competition. Tom Garfinkle posed a unique question to most of the teams and he stated that Georgetown’s team “fielded the question well.” He asked them if they would trade Adrian Gonzalez, the All-Star and low-cost first baseman for the Padres. They stuck with a more neutral position and simply pointed out the risks and the rewards of both sides of the decision. Garfinkle also gave an honorable mention to University of Pennsylvania team member Kat O’Brien for her response to the same question.
The University of Columbia Business School team of A.D. Bhatia, William Kuhn and Adam Miller tied for second place with San Diego State University’s Sports MBA program team of Matt Hiler, Melanie Harris, Lindsey Finnegan, and Kaiser Tse.

After Tom Garfinkle and Jeff Moorad both addressed the MBA’s, Garfinkle read a letter he had written for the Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig. He concluded by ensuring that many of the ideas the teams presented throughout the day were already being considered and even implemented. This was a fantastic opportunity for the students to gain real-life opportunity with major executives in the MLB, as well as a fantastic opportunity for the Padres to gain some creative strategies to better the organization.

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