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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

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 this year."

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


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