URI MBA team notches Olympic effort
in national competition
Finishes second among nation's top schools
KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 4, 2000 -- Don't be surprised if someday you learn
that the International Olympic Committee has hired a few University of Rhode
Island master of business administration graduates.
Five students enrolled in the URI-Kingston MBA seem to know more about
what the IOC needs in terms of internet strategies than students from other
top American business schools.
This team captured second place in a national contest run by The George
Washington University School of Business and Public Management, and sponsored
by the consulting firm of KPMG Peat Marwick, LLP.
The team, which consisted of Jennifer Frank, of Newport, Eike
Liekweg, Markus Mansour, Jochen Norrenberg and alternate Arne Wolter, finished
second only to the University of Tennessee, in a competition that included
19 schools. Among those that competed in the George Washington/KPMG MBA
Case Competition 2000, were: Wake Forest University, Vanderbilt University,
University of South Carolina, Georgetown University and University of Colorado.
This year, there was a waiting list of schools wishing to participate.
Deborah Rosen, associate professor of marketing and team adviser, said
what was most remarkable was that the URI team's proposal most closely mirrored
the actual IOC Internet strategy.
The University has participated for several years, but "URI has
never made it into the finals," Rosen said. "We've never even
finished in the top five. We were the only one-year MBA program to compete
Rosen said the other participants were from two-year programs and benefited
from two years of coaching.
"But our students may actually be better prepared for working directly
with businesses, because we try to deliver strategies and management techniques,
more than just courses," Rosen added.
All teams were asked to focus on the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece, which
will be the first for which the IOC has an opportunity to take more control
and direct the future of Olympic Internet rights.
The students were asked to address the following questions:
1. What content should be included on the IOC web site.
2. How should the IOC value digital media assets, and who will be allowed
to purchase these rights considering the current structure of selling television
rights per country.
3. Who are the various target audiences for the IOC web site and what
marketing strategies should be implemented to attract these people to visit
the web site? How can the IOC web site play a role in keeping Olympic interest
high throughout the non-event years?
4. How can the different Olympic corporate partners be included in the
IOC web strategy from both a technical and marketing standpoint?
5. What relationship should the IOC have with other Olympic family members,
in terms of a web strategy?
Rosen said the students had three weeks to analyze a 30-page case study
prepared under the auspices of the IOC and develop strategic recommendations
that would be delivered as an oral presentation. In the first round of the
competition, professionals from KPMG evaluated the students, and in the
second, IOC officials judged them. "The IOC agreed that they did a
great job," Rosen said.
In fact, the team was praised by the judges for its insight into the
best way to use the Internet as a vehicle to spread the IOC's vision of
the Olympic spirit. The team provided effective analysis, the judges said.
"The students spent weekends and late nights pulling this together,"
Rosen said. "You are given only 30 minutes to present, so you have
to be focused and provide clear information," she said.
As she talked about the team's work, Rosen sounded like the coach of
an athletics team. "They nailed it in the final round. They peaked
at the right time."
For Information: Deborah Rosen 401-874-5000
Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116