NCState win

TCU MBAs Win Second Place and $8,000 in Cybersecurity Competition

The TCU MBA team of Rachel Manthei, Jason Stading, Amanda Pape and Kyle Carter won second place and $8,000 out of 12 teams in the competition sponsored by Merck.

November 07,  2018

By Elaine Cole

MBA students from 12 business schools across the United States, as well as Prague and Singapore, put their knowledge to work as they vied for cash prizes in the third annual NC State Grand Business Challenge sponsored by Merck.

The three-day annual competition at North Carolina State University provides MBA students an opportunity to challenge their strategic, creative problem-solving skills and also provides select recruiters a chance to meet potential new employees. 

“Our prompt from Merck was to operate as the executive leadership team of a large pharmaceutical company who had recently suffered from a cybersecurity breach,” Rachel Manthei TCU MBA ’19 said. “We created a budget, allocation plan and strategies for future cybersecurity protection from a top-down perspective.”

Merck’s goal with the competition is “to increase awareness of cybersecurity, to get our business leaders of tomorrow to start thinking about cybersecurity in a different way. Many think of it as an IT problem, but it’s really a business problem, and accountability goes all the way up to the board of directors,” said Andrew Porter, director of enterprise architecture at Merck.

“For current and aspiring working professionals, there is a growing need to understand the business risks and values posed by information security,” said Jason Stading TCU MBA ’19. “This competition was well designed to address those implications.”

Johns Hopkins University won first, TCU won second, University of Georgia won third and Rider University won fourth. Also competing were Boston University, Clemson University, Duke University, Florida State University, North Carolina State University, Rutgers University, Singapore Management University and University of Economics (Prague).

“It was an outstanding learning opportunity,” Amanda Pape MBA ’20 said. “I’m in the first year of the full-time TCU MBA program, so I was a little leery about how much I would be able to contribute towards the success of the team, but the way that TCU front loads core classes like accounting, finance and supply chain really gave me a good foundation to understand the higher-level concepts my second-year teammates suggested implementing into our recommendations.”