Mount Union Team Wins Peoples Bank Case Competition

February 12, 2015

ALLIANCE – Two University of Mount Union seniors recently took their management skills on the road to Marietta College to compete in the annual Peoples Bank Case Competition and brought back to their school the first place trophy.

The winning team consisted of finance and management major Andrew Rothermel of Rootstown, Ohio and marketing and management major Mackenzie Shivers of Salem, Ohio. Along with the trophy showcasing their accomplishment, Rothermel and Shivers also received a plaque and a $750 prize each.

Teams competing in the Case Competition are made up of undergraduate students and a faculty advisor. Each group has one month to create a solution to a fictional financial services-related business case and then justify their solution in a 25-minute presentation to a panel of judges who conduct a 10-minute Q&A session.

Throughout their undergraduate college careers, Rothermel and Shivers have been a dominating duo, working together to accomplish major projects for their courses.

“Mackenzie and I present really well together,” said Rothermel. “We have worked together on past projects and presentations, and I knew she and I could do a great job of presenting together and engaging the audience.”

Toward the end of the fall 2014 semester, Rothermel and Shivers received the case and the one-month countdown began. Since this occurred in the midst of Finals Week, the two decided to start individually by reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, which they would eventually incorporate into the final presentation.

“One thing that Andrew and I believe really gave us a competitive edge was our utilization of the book ‘Good to Great.’ I just finished the book in my Management Senior Culminating Experience (SCE) with professor Bill Schweizer so I was really excited to apply the concepts I learned,” said Shivers.

The Case Competition serves as way for students incorporate their learning outside of the classroom.

“My classes definitely prepared me for this competition. From conducting market research that I learned in Consumer Behavior with professor Joel Evans to calculating Return on Equity (ROE) that I learned in Corporate Finance with Professor Pat Matthews, I was able to apply what I learned,” Shivers said.

After Rothermel spent time analyzing and researching the potential projects People’s Bank would be considering and Shivers researched the demographics for the projects, the team combined efforts, further developed the case and put together the presentation that would win the competition.

“We wanted to take a unique approach to the case,” said Rothermel. “Mackenzie and I did not focus on the questions the case asked; instead, we focused on the real issues that People’s Bank is facing, which we found by searching the news and their latest quarterly report.”

The teams who competed in the Peoples Bank Case Competition were all given the chance to meet with some of the contacts in a major networking event in the field that they are trying to enter into.

“We got to meet the entire executive staff, including the CEO, who Mackenzie and I both spent a lot of time talking to,” said Rothermel. “The experience at the People’s Bank Competition was awesome.”

“One thing I didn’t expect was the level of interaction we had with People’s Bank employees,” Shivers said. “The CEO was actually a judge in the final.”

“Andrew and Mackenzie did an awesome job,” said team advisor Dr. Patricia (Foley ’73) Matthews, professor of finance and health care management and Nolen A. and Thelma I. Cunningham Chair in Business. “Their evaluation from People’s Bank was very impressive. They did a lot of analysis and even brought in some soft marketing ideas for the company.”

“Overall, this case competition was an unforgettable experience. I was able to represent Mount Union (along with some other incredible Mount Union students), network with executives in various departments, take my knowledge and skills from classroom to the corporate world, and bring home a win,” she said.

Mount Union was also represented in the competition by a team made up of senior accounting major Preston Ewing of Alliance, Ohio; junior accounting and marketing major David Gonzalez of Hartville, Ohio and senior accounting major Trevor Wilson of Rootstown, Ohio.

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