Farmer teams sweep Battle of Ohio

January 2017

Elizabeth Jenike

Farmer teams continued their longstanding tradition of competition domination with the Battle of Ohio, which took place over the week of November 2 to November 11.

The Battle of Ohio has been a Deloitte-sponsored case competition for the last six years. The schools that participate tend to vary by year, but this year there were seven: Miami, Ohio State University, University of Dayton, Case Western Reserve University, Denison University and Wright State University. Eleven teams participated, including two from Farmer.

Student teams were given a task, or case, on November 2, and were expected to research solutions to the problem and create a presentation by November 9. Then, on November 11, the students convened at the University of Dayton to give their presentations and to face off in a bracket-style tournament decided by judges from Deloitte. The business problem the students were given? A supply chain challenge.

Junior marketing major Marilyn Zubak was surprised that, despite the fact that none of her team members were supply chain majors, her team won the tournament. She, along with finance and analytics majors Barbara Massaro and Dylan Oncken, and finance and marketing major Sarah Ward, proved successful in convincing the judges that they best understood the problem (which involved a hypothetical small golf club manufacturer that had recently experienced a 233 percent increase in demand) and how to go about solving it.

The hardest part of the day, by far, was the second round of presentations, when the judges didn’t hold back during the Q&A portion.

“We were asked extremely challenging questions just to make sure we were solid in our understanding and the thought process behind it,” Marilyn remembered. “It was really rewarding that a project we put together in a week had such a strong thought leadership behind it.”

Senior marketing and analytics double major Heather Bonsky, who was a member of the second-place team, said that the research they were doing was interesting first and foremost because they knew next to nothing about the subject. None of their team members were supply chain management majors, so it was fun getting to learn about something new and fully dive in from scratch.

“We pulled research from Miami's databases, what we've learned in class/what we could learn from our friends, as well as anything we could Google,” Heather said. “Then, we began making the connections between all of our research to make one overarching recommendation.”

In addition to her team coming in second place, Heather won an award for “best presenter.”

“I have always envied great presenters and how they can grasp people’s attention even on the dullest of topics,” she said. “It means a lot to me to have won this award! I think I won the award because I was really passionate about what we were presenting because I had spent all my free time in the past week working on it.”

“Miami has already given us the tools to succeed,” Marilyn said. “They teach us how to learn here, rather than just how to do.”

Winning team group photo