Students from the University of Alabama won the gold—and $10,000 from a $20,000 prize pool—at the 2018 international Race & Case competition, hosted by the Daniels College of Business Feb. 23-24. Winning second place, and a prize of $6,000, was the University of Southern California. The University of Denver won third place and $4,000. Now in its 15th year, Race & Case is the nation’s only business ethics case competition and ski challenge.
The case for this year’s competition, which was co-authored by Assistant Professor Paul Seaborn, Adjunct Professor Bud Bilanich and several CenturyLink representatives, centered around CenturyLink following its recent acquisition of Level 3 Communications. On the first day of Race & Case, competitors presented their recommendations—bearing in mind strategy, ethics and operations—to a panel of judges about CenturyLink’s overall strategy in the marketplace; creating a unified corporate culture; achieving synergy targets while balancing the customer and employee experiences; and contributing to the company’s financial performance and allowing it to better meet shareholders’ expectations. On day two of Race & Case, participants competed in a ski race held in Breckenridge.
“Partnering with CenturyLink to write the case for this year’s competition allowed us to provide the participating Race & Case teams with a unique and timely real-world challenge that tested their all-around abilities,” Seaborn said. “Many business schools offer case competitions, but Race & Case is truly unique due to its combined business case and ski race format. Our strong relationships in the business community allow us to develop novel and challenging cases for the competition and assemble top-quality panels of judges.”
Thirteen teams were selected to compete at this year’s Race & Case, representing American University, Baylor University, Georgia Tech, London Business School, Purdue University, the University of Alabama, the University of Arizona, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Denver, the University of Florida, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Pittsburgh and the University of Southern California.
This year’s Race & Case was made possible by sponsors CenturyLink, Toyota and Vail Resorts, as well as the following individuals who generously served as judges for the competition: Aaron Cowan, managing director of accounting policy at Charles Schwab; Patrick Davis, vice president of software engineering at HomeAdvisor; Tony Davis, vice president of investor relations-communication and brand management at CenturyLink; Jennifer Nealson, executive director of global marketing at TTEC; Mark Miller, chief financial officer at Marketo; Kristen Nease, vice president of human resources at Vertafore; Leah Russell, vice president of user experience at HomeAdvisor; Bill Swearingen, senior director of cyber defense at CenturyLink; and Lara Weiler, director of marketing and communications at Comcast.