MBA students from 16 top business programs met online to pitch refreshing ideas to one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies in the 2021 PepsiCo MBA Case Competition.
October 18, 2021
By Erin Smutz
The best and brightest MBAs put their skills, creativity and innovation to work in the seventh annual PepsiCo MBA Invitational Business Case Competition presented virtually by the TCU MBA program at the Neeley School of Business.
On October 14, MBA students from 16 universities were randomly assigned to nine mixed teams of four from different schools, and then given the case by PepsiCo the next morning.
Teams quickly brainstormed, crunched numbers and refined their ideas for nine hours throughout the day Friday, and then presented solutions to PepsiCo senior executives and talent acquisition team members on Saturday.
“Our long partnership with PepsiCo allows us to bring together top MBA students from around the world to work on a unique, hands-on business challenge for one of the strongest brands in the world,” said David Allen, associate dean of graduate programs for the Neeley School of Business. “The competition mirrors what you see in the real world where it’s common to get placed on a project team at a moment’s notice, and then you have to quickly learn to work with new people with different styles to deliver results. It can be intense.”
“I was incredibly impressed with the insight, creativity and thought leadership each team applied to these projects, particularly in such a compressed timeframe,” said Jarrett Joeckel, CFO for PepsiCo IT, who served as a judge.
First Place of $7,000 was awarded to the team of: Brent Schlagel (SMU, Cox School of Business), Adriann Dolphin (Harvard University, Harvard Business School), Tyler Whiteman (Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School) and Mayank Mehra (TCU, Neeley School of Business).
Second Place of $5,000 was awarded to the team of: Catherine Oliver (Columbia University, Columbia Business School), Siddharth Gosh (Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business), Kevin Kou (University of Michigan, Ross School of Business) and Eva Lopez (TCU, Neeley School of Business).
Third Place of $3,000 was awarded to the team of: Jyostna Kamat (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School), Priyanka Wadhwa (New York University, Stern School of Business), Nafisa Rawji (University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Business School) and Wyatt Wheeler (TCU, Neeley School of Business).
“The work these teams put together in a short amount of time was impressive,” said Todd Huerta, vice president of supply chain finance for Frito-Lay North America, another judge. “This was another fantastic event for the seventh installment of the collaboration between PepsiCo and TCU.”
Judging the competition for PepsiCo were: Ralph Goedderz, vice president of supply chain finance for PepsiCo Beverages North America; Jarrett Joeckel, CFO for PepsiCo IT; Shawna Wilson, vice president of global business services for PepsiCo Foods North America; Dilip Shankar, senior director of pricing strategy for Frito-Lay North America; Emma Haugh, senior director of growth ventures finance; Allie Rosa, director of food service finance national accounts; Jean Cusmano, director of brand marketing finance; Steve Tahara, senior director of sales strategy for Frito-Lay North America; Todd Huerta, vice president of supply chain finance for Frito-Lay North America; Hana Golden, marketing director of Tostitos and Santitas for Frito-Lay North America; and Karol Nurse, senior director for PepsiCo Global Template FP&A.
This is the seventh year the TCU MBA program has hosted the PepsiCo MBA Invitational Case Competition, made possible by a partnership between the TCU Neeley School of Business and PepsiCo, one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies with brands including Pepsi, Lay’s, Tropicana, Quaker and Gatorade, and products sold in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to host this competition annually with PepsiCo and watch students apply their skills and knowledge to a challenging case,” said Ed Riefenstahl, director of MBA experiential learning. “We look forward to hosting the 2022 competition in person at the TCU Neeley School in Fort Worth.”
2021 Participating Schools
Columbia University, Columbia Business School
Cornell University, SC Johnson College of Business
Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
Duke University, Fuqua School of Business
Harvard University, Harvard Business School
New York University, Stern School of Business
Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business
SMU, Cox School of Business
TCU, Neeley School of Business
University of Maryland, Smith School of Business
University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School
University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Business School
Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management
Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School
Yale University, Yale School of Management
To learn more about the PepsiCo MBA Invitational Case Competition, visit our web page here.