Farmer School teams place first, third in West Monroe Partners case competition

November 2018

Jay Murdock

You’ll have to excuse Tori Lineweaver and her teammates if they were a little tired Friday afternoon. “We’ve been at Farmer until about 1:30am every night this week, and last night, we were here until 3:30 a.m.,” the junior finance major explained. “We might as well have slept here.”

That hard work paid off for Lineweaver, Mariana Galiga, Jonathan Tetrick, and Nicole LaBelle as they won the West Monroe Partners case competition at the Farmer School of Business, topping several teams from around the Midwest. “I’m really, really proud of how our team did,” Lineweaver said. “This has exceeded our expectations by far.”

West Monroe’s Annie Weidner, a 2018 Farmer School graduate, helped create the case, which involved finding solutions for growth at a boutique fitness company. “We wanted to put together a case that was an industry that was familiar. You can give them something like health care payer or industrials, but then they spend the whole week learning about the industry, which is a lot of work,” she explained. “Boutique fitness is something that even if you don’t use it, you’ve heard of it, you understand it, you’ve been to a gym before.”

A team from Indiana University finished second, followed by another Farmer School team comprised of sophomores Becky Seiler, Meredith Haught, Claire Galberg, and Tommy Weidner, a feat that impressed more than one observer at the competition. “It’s incredibly impressive to see these students pull off what could be very professional decks and recommendations,” West Monroe’s Weidner noted. “I don’t think I could have pulled that off as a sophomore at all.”

“They’re poised, they present like they are professionals. And when I start looking at the financials, for sophomores who haven’t taken finance yet, only on their second accounting course, they’re amazing,” associate lecturer Jan Taylor said.

This was the third year for the case competition, which West Monroe sponsors for several reasons, some of them admittedly selfish. “We do it primarily as a way to give back to the students here that we want to see grow into the next generation of leaders,” senior manager Chris Stafford, a 2008 Farmer School graduate explained. “Some of the best we recruit to our Chicago office are from Miami. Several dozen leaders at West Monroe are from Miami, so it’s always been a great, strong place to recruit from. The Farmer School’s always been on our top list for places to recruit from for West Monroe.”

“It’s a great way to apply what you learn in class, because what you learn in class is so structured, and this is a great application,” Lineweaver remarked. “Everyone in my group wants to go into consulting, and West Monroe is a very impressive company that we’re all looking at, so that’s definitely an incentive to participate. I know we all feel we’ve learned a lot this time.”

Weidner pointed out that she hopes all the participants, whether they win or not, come away with knowledge and skills that perhaps they didn’t have previously. “I think the biggest thing that I’d love for them to take away is how important it is to throw yourself into things with which you aren’t familiar. You’re never going to have a better experience than one that’s outside of your comfort zone,” she said. “I know some of my biggest growth came from going to case competitions, not making it to finals, but sitting and watching other teams. There’s always learning that can happen, either from the professionals or your peers.”

Right click and open any of the photos in a new tab to see them full-size, or visit our FB slideshow of pictures from the event
Groups meet before competition begins Farmer School students gather around Jan Taylor after the first round of presentations Farmer School group works on final presentation Farmer School group presents Winning team Tori Lineweaver, Mariana Galiga, Jonathan Tetrick, and Nicole LaBelle, along with the West Monroe Partners employees who ran the event Third place team Becky Seiler, Meredith Haught, Claire Galberg, and Tommy Weidner