University of Southern California

USC Marshall to host women's case competition
Eight Top Schools' Teams to Tackle Nike Business Challenge
October 22, 2007 • by News at Marshall

The USC Marshall School of Business will host its second annual Women in Business Challenge this week, a case competition featuring four-person teams of female MBA students from eight top schools.

"This is a unique and important competition," said Lida Jennings, director of USC Marshall's full-time MBA program and the competition's coordinator. "Women MBAs are an underserved population, making up 30 percent or less of students in business schools nationwide. Women MBAs have few programs or events focused solely on their strengths and opportunities. This competition provides a robust and rigorous academic experience, combined with a great chance to network with their peers from around the country."

USC Marshall founded the Women in Business Challenge, which is the only case competition built for women MBAs by women MBAs. USC Marshall's latest class of 227 full-time MBAs is 34 percent female, one of the highest levels at any school in the country.

The case competition is one example of USC Marshall's commitment to recruiting and training a diverse and talented pool of future business leaders, able to adapt readily to the many challenges of a globalized economy, said Jennings. This year's USC Marshall team consists of second-year students Jeannine Walker, Lisette Lopez, Heidi Swymer and Zelinda Welch.

Nike is once again sponsoring the competition. Last year's focus was the Brand Jordan division, which asked the student teams to develop marketing plans that would grow sales for the women's line and help them reach new consumer segments. As part of the competition, each year's challenge question focuses on women's business issues or female consumers.

This year's topic question, focused on Nike's Global Women's Training division, will be revealed at 8 AM, Friday, Oct. 19, when the competition starts in earnest in Popovich Hall at USC's main University Park campus in Los Angeles. Students will work all day and into the night Friday before making presentations to judges Saturday morning.

The competition kicks off with an event Thursday at Nike's facility in Culver City, where nine top female Nike executives will meet with teams from USC Marshall, New York University, Emory University, the University of Oregon, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Texas at Austin, Cornell University and Georgetown University. Among the Nike executives will be USC alumna Caroline Lew, who is the company's global strategic planning director for women's training.

All participants will receive gifts from Nike and the top three teams each will receive prizes from Nike and USC Marshall. The final awards ceremony will be at the University Club on campus at 11 AM Saturday.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.