Race and Case 2017The Daniels College of Business is known for its culture of innovation. Whether it’s designing a new program, teaching in different styles or bringing a face-lift to an event, faculty and staff are always up for the challenge of improvement.

This year, faculty and staff revamped the country’s only business ethics and leadership case competition and alpine ski challenge, Race & Case. The premier competition has been organized by Daniels for 14 years.

“We have a rich legacy with this competition,” says Patrick Orr, senior director of International Partnerships and College Programs. “We wanted to raise the bar so our students would have a more significant academic and challenge-driven experience. We made the case itself more compelling and relevant. We offered our students mentors and we’re giving them fierce competition.”

For the first time in Race & Case history, the competition has attracted international teams. Teams from American University, London Business School, Simon Fraser University, University of Florida, University of South Carolina, University of Utah, Georgia Tech University, University of Wisconsin, University of Southern California, University of Alabama, Purdue University, Rice University and Vanderbilt University will compete Feb. 24-25 in the external competition. They’ll tackle a case based on the current circumstances at Denver-based restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill.

The winning team from the internal Daniels competition will be part of the international competition. PMBA students Kyle Carson, Mary Cote-Jenssen, Ryan Simmons and Melissa Still won the internal Race & Case competition Jan. 27-28, tackling a case about the marijuana industry.

2017 winning team

2017 winning team

Paul Seaborn, assistant professor of management, and William Miller, a former Daniels undergraduate student, co-authored the case, and Bud Bilanich, adjunct professor of management, helped to adapt it for use in the competition. The students had to decide how the Medical Marijuana Industry Group (MMIG) should respond to a Denver City Council proposal to restrict outdoor advertising as well as how the MMIG should address challenges facing the Colorado marijuana industry in 2017. 

“The alumni judges were impressed with the solutions the teams presented,” says Seaborn. “Having the opportunity to present your ideas and recommendations directly to business leaders, including those from the marijuana industry, is invaluable and made Race & Case an exceptional learning opportunity for our students.” 

The PMBA team will compete in the case part of the competition Feb. 24 in the Reiman Theater against the national and international teams. The Daniels community is invited to watch the presentations. Doors will open for viewing every half-hour starting at 9 a.m. Then, they’ll head to Breckenridge for the race portion on the slopes. The winning team will receive $25,000.

DMBA students Ericka Holcomb, Juliana Phelps, Alex Robb and Brad Schlafer came in second place in the internal competition. The third place team consisted of PMBA students Jenn Denfield, Corey Higel and Matt Moskal, and MS Marketing student Gina Ellison.

The internal and external competitions wouldn’t be possible without the following sponsors: Toyota, Vail Resorts, Mad Bomber, Zeal Optics, Lost Coffee, Daniels Alumni Relations and the Daniels Graduate Business Student Association.