Editor’s note: This story has been updated since its original publication to include additional information about of the LSU’s solution for addressing the problem posed during the SEC MBA Case Competition.
For the first time since the SEC MBA Case Competition was launched in 2013 to showcase business students’ skills at solving real-world problems, a team from LSU has won the top prize.
The four-student LSU team won the competition, which was held on the LSU campus Saturday, by edging out 13 other SEC school teams that were given 24 hours to outline their solution to a problem facing Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers: elevating the company’s brand from the emerging stage to the branded stage in key U.S. and global markets.
LSU’s recommendation included a three-tiered solution focusing on an enhanced customer loyalty program, implementation of technology to support mobile pay, and a more focused philanthropic effort to help shorten the gap in building brand loyalty in newer markets.
While some might assume LSU had a home field advantage by having this year’s competition held at the E.J. Ourso College of Business, this year marked the first time a host university claimed first place, according to an SEC news release. Plus, the LSU Flores MBA Program team—comprising Jack Anjier of New Orleans, Daniel Hofmann of Germany, Michael Lacombe of Gonzales and Roman Lantukh of Ukraine—came with “a different approach” this year, Lacombe says in the news release, and put forth a “full team effort.”
“It wasn’t just one of us, it was all of us. But, in a word, this is utter shock,” says Lacombe, who also individually received a $250 Best Q&A Award.
For its win, the LSU team was awarded the $10,000 top prize and traveling trophy. Students from the University of Tennessee placed second, winning $6,000, followed by the University of Missouri ($3,000) and Vanderbilt University ($1,000). The University of Tennessee in Knoxville will host the 2019 competition.