Penn State New Ken business students prepare for 24-hour competition
Four Penn State New Kensington business students should be go-to companions for shopping trips to Kohl's department store by the end of the semester.
Amy Kudranski of Plum, Chelsea Leake of Saxonburg, Angelica Matta of New Kensington and Sam Simon of Leechburg will be among the select few students competing next month in the 2014 Smeal Case Competition.
Organized through Penn State's Smeal College of Business, the competition presents 16 teams with a “case,” or business-related challenge, that likely will be related to Kohl's, the event sponsor.
Rujirutana Mandhachitara, associate professor of business at Penn State New Kensington, said students often are asked to suggest methods of expanding the store's customer base, better reaching a target market or incorporating social media in their marketing.
Once given their challenge on March 28, each four-member team will have 24 hours to research the question, put together their suggestions and develop a 20-minute presentation they'll deliver to Kohl's executives and Smeal faculty.
They'll have access to the Internet and their textbooks, but no help from advisers. “It's going to be very challenging,” Mandhachitara said.
The winners will receive a $5,000 scholarship to be divided amongst the team.
Mandhachitara said nearly 50 teams applied to participate, but only 16 are chosen. Twelve of those teams are from Smeal College, leaving only four slots open to the Commonwealth campuses like Penn State New Kensington.
She said this is the first group from the Upper Burrell campus to participate.
The Penn State New Kensington students said they're anticipating the challenge.
“It should be a good experience,” said Simon, a junior in business marketing and management.
Leake, a sophomore accounting major, said she's familiar with the store and is looking forward to the chance to offer suggestions.
Matta and Kudranski, both senior business marketing and management majors, said they're excited to go to University Park and experience some of the networking opportunities there.
To prepare, they've been visiting area Kohl's stores, interviewing customers, reading up on market reports and meeting weekly to strategize.
This week, Mandhachitara gave them a sample case to prepare. It was about J.C. Penney rather than Kohl's, but the students said the two stores are competitors, and they found helpful information about Kohl's during their research.
On Thursday, they presented their findings on the pros and cons of J.C. Penney's everyday low pricing value campaign under former CEO Ron Johnson.
Mandhachitara and several other members of PSNK faculty filled in as judges, offering the students suggestions to improve their presentation.
Although a good sample, the students said it should be a different experience when they have the 24-hour deadline during the real competition.
“I like the ideas of the 24-hour time crunch,” said Matta, noting they typically have much more preparation time for their college projects. “It's a whole new challenge.”
“It's exciting, to be under pressure,” Leake said.
“I'm quite confident in the ability of my students and that they can handle this,” Mandhachitara said.
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Frazer police receive state funding for more undercover patrols at Mills
- Upper Burrell officials consider changing public comment rules
- New Kensington council looks ahead to summer projects
- Vandergrift will pool its resources
- Alle-Kiski Valley businesses profit from jump in tourism
- 3 charged with selling heroin that killed Lower Burrell woman
- Oakmont hit-run probed
- Months of hard work go into Alle-Kiski high-school musicals
- Vermont Baptist Church warmly welcomed in New Kensington
- Leechburg man charged with molesting girls, watching child pornography
- Highlands students fired up about NYC trip