student experience
October 29, 2020

Carey places first at Amazon case competition

Why it matters:

Carey Business School team takes the top spot at the annual Reaching Out MBA conference— the largest gathering of LBGTQ+ business students and alumni.

Article Highlights

  • Carey’s team placed first over 40 other business schools.
  • The team’s proposal positioned Amazon to integrate One Medical with existing Amazon products.
  • Complementary skills across the team from financial modeling to writing led to the win.

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Carey places first at Amazon case competition

Five Carey Business School MBA students earned the top score from Amazon executives in a recent case competition.

The October 10 competition was one of many held during the annual Reaching Out MBA conference—the world's largest gathering of LGBTQ+ business school students and alumni.

Carey’s winning team five of MBA students—Francis Anthony, Elliott Campo, Will Dinneen, Ashley Johnston, and Gokul Raj—beat out 40 other teams, ahead of teams from universities that included Northwestern, Oxford-Cambridge, and Columbia. 

The case competition, held virtually this year, was a “pop-up” event at the conference. The participants had only 48 hours to assemble their teams and submit an application to compete. They then had one week to find a solution to Amazon’s case, complete the financial modeling to show the viability of the solution, and present their proposal to Amazon executives.

The team’s winning proposal, which included a one-page press release titled “The doctor will see you now— Amazon acquires One Medical and integrates it with Alexa, PillPack, and the Halo wellness band” and a one-page FAQ, pitched the vertical integration of One Medical with Amazon’s lineup of products and services.

Outsmarting virtual barriers: Outpacing time zones

But the win wasn’t a lock. The team had to overcome virtual-world challenges. With team members spread across the West Coast, East Coast, and in India, the Carey group found that just arranging a time to meet was difficult.

The team started working on the case competition at 8 p.m. on a Friday and then worked in teams of two to three people overnight. As the clock would reach 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. in one time zone, another team member would just be waking up and tag in.

“We were literally following the sun,” said Anthony

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Positioned to lead in the business of health

Praised for their financial modeling and strong writing skills, the team members credited their complementary skillsets for the win.

“Some on our team brought years of writing and communication experience. Others had a really strong financial background. That’s what made it really sing,”  said Dinneen

The team cited Carey courses such as Accounting and Business Communication as jumping-off points for their project.

“In the Business Communication course, we learned the Amazon communication model and how Amazon runs meetings. And that is exactly how they ran the case competition. We knew they wouldn’t want a conventional presentation but would respond to the required writing,”  said Anthony.

Campo said, “I’m taking the Mergers and Acquisitions course. I was able to really think about what type of merger this would be. Just knowing about vertical integration and the language to describe vertical integration was crucial in our proposal and when answering the judges’ questions.”

They also pointed to health-specific courses as the team’s edge over the competition and said they decided to take a health care angle instantaneously.

“We were able to build a solid statement why a health care startup would align with an organization like Amazon,” said Dineen. “At Carey, we were primed to think about the health care space and always be thinking about what’s next.”

The team also acknowledged that their willingness to “go big” made them a favorite.

“Other teams had really great ideas, but ours was daring,” said Anthony.

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