MBA Team Flies Away With First Prize in Boeing Competition

On Oct. 18, Mihaylo hosted the second annual Boeing Case Study Competition. Eight teams — with a range of members from freshman to full-time MBA students — competed in front of five Boeing executive judges.

The Boeing Company is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems. The company’s competition provided Mihaylo students with the opportunity to showcase their research and presentation abilities, receive feedback and network with the Boeing executives.

The competition’s kick-off event on Sept. 27  introduced the teams to the business problem they were to solve, which involved the replacement of expiring satellites. Mihaylo Career Services hosted the competition for it’s second year. At this event, students met with their mentors and began working towards their solutions. The teams had to propose solutions to replace the satellites, select what region of the world to place them and finance their specific solution with a CCC+ credit rating. These solutions needed to consider the marketing plan, financials and forecasting about where satellites would be needed in 20 years.

Luis Gaitan ‘14 (marketing), of the MBA team, “Titan Dreamliner,” believes that the team’s diversity – each of their team members studies within a different discipline: management, entrepreneurship, finance, etc. — was just one advantage in addition to the mentors and professors within the MBA program giving feedback and always being available for questions or advice.

“We purposely created a team with different concentrations from the MBA program,” Gaitan says. “It’s a jump-start to how the real world is with cross-functional teams, which is a big buzzword in the MBA program and in the corporate world.”

 One by one, each team came into the boardroom, gave a 15-minute presentation and participated in a short Q&A with the Boeing judges, who tested the depth of their knowledge and the validity of their solutions to the satellite replacement question.

In the end, the skills and experience of the MBA team, Gaitan, Wilson Lee ’14 (entrepreneurship), Quang Tien ’14 (management), Victor Wu ’14 (finance) and Sophie Yu ’14 (finance), resulted in the first-place award. 

Team Mihaylo, Peter Chen ’17 (finance/accounting), Brian Ross ’14 (finance) and Richard Walls ’14 (information systems and decision sciences), took second place for their presentation.

In picking the top two teams, which have the honor of touring the Boeing facility in El Segundo and a special luncheon with Boeing executives, the judges considered a variety of things.

The research and preparation for the competition required extensive work and a considerable time commitment for each team member. Tien, a member of the MBA team, says their pre-competition strategy included dividing and delegating the tasks according to each member’s specialty and area of knowledge. This project management, extensive research and the luxury of having team members from a range of disciplines helped round out their presentation.

The MBA team moved ahead of the competition by presenting a comprehensive and coherent message. Their presentation provided a storyline, a simple goal and a strategy to achieve it. They gave a clear, concise and easy-to-follow business solution, according to the feedback from one of the judges.

The judges also commented on how the team’s extra research provided the students with the confidence to give a smooth and successful presentation.

Ross, of Team Mihaylo, had the opportunity to participate last year in the first Boeing Case Study Competition and decided to come back for another chance to place. However, taking home a prize wasn’t the only thing that made this year an even better experience for him.

“The case study is based on a real-life situation at Boeing, and it’s interesting to tackle something like that,” says Ross. “I learned a whole lot more about how to really do a case and a presentation to executives.”

Chen, also a member of Team Mihaylo, is thankful that Cal State Fullerton offers events like this that engage students, and achieving second place made all the hard work and sleepless nights worth it, he says.

Boeing judge Jeff Townsend, suggests that students who want to participate in next year’s Boeing Case Study Competition should put together a diverse group, a strategy that worked for the MBA team. Townsend adds that there are great benefits to the competition for all teams whether or not they take the top prizes.

“The key thing is to not worry about the outcome, think about it as a learning experience and try to get out of it what you can. This is a time in your life when you make a mistake, and provide recommendations that have no basis without repercussions,” said Townsend.

To find out more about the 2014 Summer internship program, students can visit this link. And to apply for the internship, students should visit Boeing Careers and apply for the Summer 2014 Internship by searching for Job Requisition #: 13-1013848. And for more student competitions or information on Boeing visit Mihaylo Career Services’ official website.


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