Marketing Analytics Summit

Two Wake Forest teams take first place at the 2016 Marketing Analytics Summit
Summer 2016

The Summit

For the first time in the 26-year history of the Marketing Analytics Summit, both graduate and undergraduate teams from the Wake Forest University School of Business swept the competition.

“The Wake Forest teams did an excellent job from start to finish. They both set up their situations very clearly and established their solutions right up front,” said Whitney Hardy, vice president, marketing and enterprise branding at CVS Health, and one of the four senior executives who formed the Summit’s final round judging panel.

The Summit, the longest-running student-led event at the School of Business, provided an opportunity for students to gain a deeper appreciation for the relationship between marketing and analytics.

The competition is run by student volunteers who spend months balancing classwork with competition planning and logistics. This year’s co-chairs included Niki Makkinejad (MA ’16), Ayana Stukes (MA ’16), Araba Taylor (MA ’16), and Caleb Marley (BS ’16), the first undergraduate co-chair.

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“We developed challenging cases for the undergraduate and graduate teams and created the opportunity to solve a real-world issue facing retail health clinics,” said Executive Director of the Center for Retail Innovation (CRI) and Benson-Pruitt Professor of Business Dr. Haresh Gurnani, who also served as the faculty supervisor for the case competition alongside Taylor. “The competing teams demonstrated the high-caliber talent the Marketing Analytics Summit attracts to North Carolina from around the world.”

“Each year we are seeing a growing need for students to know how to analyze data sets, extract the intelligence, and formulate business insights from these analyses. The Summit provides a unique opportunity for students to demonstrate this ability, receive recognition, and in some instances, be well rewarded for these skills."

In addition to the Wake Forest teams, seven graduate and five undergraduate teams from around the globe traveled to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for the two-day competition.

“I have such pride in this University and that we attract teams from across the United States, Mexico, and Asia. The Summit represents the kind of diversity of thought that should go into a competition like this,” said Michael Whitt (MBA ’16), Wake Forest graduate team member. “Our team included three international students and leveraging that global thinking enabled us to craft the best solution.”

The Wake Forest graduate team won for developing a multidimensional strategy that enhances the consumer experience as it relates to healthcare and its retail application. The graduate team consisting of Whitt and MBA ’16 teammates Corrine Chia, Alex Ji, Patrick McGrath, and Marlon Romulus were awarded first place and a $20,000 cash prize. Their idea: a subscription wellness box combined with an integrated mobile app to encourage millennials to digitally engage with their healthcare and connect to CVS products and services.

“The entire Wake Forest MBA experience has been fantastic, and ended with something like the Marketing Summit combined it all into something we can really feel good about,” said Whitt, who was also selected from more than 40 individuals to be named the John Scarritt MBA MVP for his standout performance.

The undergraduate team consisted of Emily Bandyk, Alyssa Norton, Ella Ryan, and Michael Thomas, all senior business enterprise and management (BEM) majors, and Jack Troller, a junior majoring in finance. They won the first place prize of $10,000 cash and the opportunity to present their innovative ideas to nearly 700 attendees at the Inmar Forum. Their solution focused on how multiple generations can interact with health information, therapy, and products through one loyalty program using a mobile app.

“I’m especially proud of our teams and the jobs they did with their presentations,” said Ben King, (full) professor of the practice and the Wake Forest undergraduate team’s faculty advisor. “They both worked hard to prepare for the stiff competition they faced this year.”

"The world’s changing very quickly and I can truly say I’m surprised every single year by the breadth of ideas that these very bright students present."