Although they came from different learning
groups of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business MBA program, First
Year students Genie Ko, Brian Gooch, Michael Conroy and Brandon Prather found
each other and, in their dogged pursuit of first place, the winning formula
that netted them the GE Mid Atlantic Regional Experienced Commercial Leadership
Program (ECLP) Case Competition Award. Prather received the award for best
group presenter, which enhanced the thrill of the team’s big win. The event
happened on Friday, 26 October 2012, and next month the winners will head to
New York, where they will
have the chance to interview for summer associate intern positions with GE’s
Since 2009, the GE ECLP Case
Competition has pitted the brightest B-school minds against each other in a
battle to find the best solutions to a GE business challenge. This year’s
winners, one from each of the four competing regions, presented their ideas before seven GE
executives who served as judges.
Darden’s winning teammates said that
synergy and trust were key to their success.
“We all had ideas and we worked so well
together,” said Ko. “We would work individually and then come together and
challenge each other.”
“We never took offense when we received
constructive criticism. We had positive intent and we each got along,” added
The team first competed in the Darden
marketing case competition where they emerged as finalists. They went on to the
ECLP competition where they ultimately bested teams from the Wharton School of
Business, George Washington School of Business and Kenan-Flagler School of
Business. Their first case examined electric cars and alternative fuels. The
winning argument examined aviation at GE.
The seven GE executives who attended
the competition were impressed. They agreed that the Darden team’s ideas would
go over well with GE’s decision-makers.
The Darden team attributed their
presentation prowess to the importance they placed on storytelling.
life is filled with storytelling: selling, persuasion and influencing.
Leadership, the capacity to enlist others in a cause, asks people to embrace a
story,” wrote Darden Dean Bob Bruner in one of his well-known blog
The team followed his advice and had great success.
“We went from nothing to awesome!” said
Gooch. “This experience embodied the Darden classroom experience, the learning
team experience and the final exam experience.”
“Darden strengthened our skills and
gave us the tools we needed to take on this competition and expand our
horizons,” said Conroy.
“We’re all career switchers,” Gooch
added. “So the opportunity allowed us to venture into new areas.”
The team also had advice for their
fellow students who might consider entering future case competitions: Jump in.
“Don’t be turned off by the particular
club that’s sponsoring the competition. Students stand to learn much from
venturing into different professional areas,” said Conroy.
The team also agreed that Darden
students should avoid selecting people with whom they are the most familiar by
looking across MBA sections for teammates.
After all, the approach worked well for
Ko, Gooch, Conroy and Prather.
For more information, contact email@example.com or a member of the Communication team.
About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the world's
leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs.
The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, the highest-ranked
faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business
education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop principled and
complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.