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Saturday March 25th

MBA students win global case competition

	<p>From left to right, graduate students Yohei Yamamoto, Masanori Udagawa and Yasuhiro Oki won more than $8,000 in Singapore. Photo courtesy of Yasuhiro Oki.</p>
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From left to right, graduate students Yohei Yamamoto, Masanori Udagawa and Yasuhiro Oki won more than $8,000 in Singapore. Photo courtesy of Yasuhiro Oki.

Three MBA students have won more than $8,000 with their answer to a corporate problem — and that answer includes large Mercedes Benz cars.

At a competition last week, graduate students Yasuhiro Oki, Masanori Udagawa and Yohei Yamamoto were tasked with finding a solution to transportation dilemmas faced by many companies.

The National University of Singapore hosted Cerebration 2013, a global business case study competition.

UNC has participated in Cerebration before, but never made it to the final round.

And all UNC teammates agreed — Duke coming in second was the most satisfying part of the contest.

“We are very glad to contribute to our school,” Oki said. “And to expand the brand of Kenan-Flagler (Business School) to the world.”

The real-world company case studies were released to collegiate teams, which began working on their executive summaries in July.

The UNC team’s case study was from Daimler Financial Services, which aimed to expand its business while tackling issues related to sustainability and traffic congestion in big cities — such as Mumbai, Jakarta, Seoul, Mexico City and Sao Paolo..

The group crafted a proposal that eventually beat out 650 teams from other schools.

Oki, Udagawa and Yamamoto argued in their proposal that if people had access to large vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz — a company Daimler works with — outfitted with mobile services and WiFi, they could be more productive during idle time on crowded streets.

“We found our idea using the expertise that the Daimler group had,” Oki said. “They are known for their Mercedes brand, bus manufacturing and expertise in mobility software. We combined these three aspects to provide a new service.”

The students say that key to their win was a class offered by the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Oki, Udagawa, and Yamamoto are enrolled in the class, Student Teams Achieving Results, which allows students to take on the role of consultants to real companies, such as Google, Lowe’s and Krispy Kreme.

“This case competition has a Q&A session and some of the judges are demanding and strict, “ Udagawa said. “One of the questions our classmate had asked was the same as one of the (judges).”

Patricia Collins, assistant director of MBA global programs at UNC, said the accomplishment would help the University’s global presence.

“I’m proud that these are our international students representing Kenan-Flagler,” she said.

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