University of Southern California

Marshall Brings Philip Morris Trophy Home with "Happy Times"
Team of USC Marshall Undergraduates Won the Second Philip Morris Case Competition
January 19, 2009 • by Evy Jacobson

A team of USC Marshall undergraduates won the second Philip Morris Case Competition in November 2008, a business case competition that pitted the best Marshall presentations against those from students at the University of Arizona Eller College of Management.

Seniors Courtney Wenrick, Elizabeth Isenberg, Jannie Park, Hyun Rho and exchange students Michelle Lam and Marcella Vezzoni battled two teams from U of A and a second team from Marshall at the case competition final presentations in Seattle on November 22.

The competition, which was created by Professor Gary Frazier and Philip Morris District Manager Lindsey Levine, asked students from Frazier's Marketing Strategy 440 class to create a marketing plan and sales pitch for Happy Times beer, a fictitious product. Company executives judged the 15 minute presentations from six teams at Marshall and eight teams at U of A and selected two finalist teams from each school. The finalists traveled to Seattle to deliver presentations to regional vice presidents and section sales directors from Philip Morris’s western region.

"The students get a lot out of a competition like this because they're presenting to the industry. We give them realistic cases - this is what they're going to be doing when they get out of school, these are the assignments they're going to get," said Levine, who judged the first round of Marshall participants. "The presentations were well done and extremely creative. The finalists were able to show us how the stores would make a return on the investment, they bundled the information very nicely."

The Marshall students won with a polished presentation that retooled the product as well. "We couldn't change the name, but we changed the flavor component, made it a lager and marketed the beer as a super-premium product with all-natural ingredients," said Isenberg. "We targeted working professionals who wanted to drink on occasion - either relaxing at home or who wanted a quality beer to bring with them to a party."

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.