This spring quarter concluded with the Capstone Strategy Development Competition (MGMT 430), the largest case competition this year, with more than 300 students on 64 teams competing. Foster partnered with PEMCO Mutual Insurance Co to challenge the students to come up with solutions for how PEMCO should strategically position itself to achieve growth in the auto insurance market in the next 1-3 years.
As a regional insurance provider, PEMCO is quite familiar to many Washingtonians, and is known for their people-first approach by prioritizing their customers, employees and community. PEMCO has continued to capture the heart of the Pacific Northwest lifestyle with their Defender of Your Northwest campaign, however, with the increase of newcomers to the region, they need to convert non-natives to PEMCO customers. The case, written by Rohit Kanungo and Sadie Raney, and advised by Rick McPherson, also asked student teams to assess how the auto insurance market has changed in the past decade and how they anticipate it evolving in the next decade when making their recommendations.
Twelve teams moved on from the preliminary round to compete in the finals, where PEMCO leaders assessed their recommendations and presentations to decide on three victorious teams:
- Clara Temer, Danielle Galvin, Kenzi Oates, Natalie Mifsud, Vivian Lee
- Recommended PEMCO implements a “Pay-How-You-Discover” product to incorporate usage-based insurance technologies with a PNW twist in order to best serve Northwest newcomers and locals of the area.
Hearing how the students grew from this competition in their own words, is perhaps the best way to understand the value of the experience. Below are responses from members of the winning teams.
The case competition felt like the perfect culmination of all of the skills I have learned over my past 4 years with Foster. I was able to practice problem solving, applying feedback, and challenging myself to research a topic I wasn’t previously familiar with. My favorite part of the experience was being able to incorporate the personality and energy of our team into the presentation. We were able to provide a solution that was not only backed with data, but also showcased the creativity from each group member’s background! Moving forward, I will always recognize the importance of supporting an idea with excitement and passion, more than just numbers and facts. – Kenzi Oates
It was a great hands-on consulting experience that afforded me an experience to work directly with important clients. It also helped me hone my business skills, like presentations, before heading out into the professional world. – Jade Egan
The strategy development case competition helped me to better present to professionals within a business by requiring me to step into their shoes, understand their most critical needs and develop intelligent recommendations in consideration of those needs. – Regan Repasky
Case Competition reinforced for me that the hard and soft skills we have acquired at the Foster School of Business are both necessary to create a holistically excellent presentation. – Clemence Hudry
This case competition served as an opportunity to put together the skills and wherewithal we’ve acquired over the years at Foster, to create an actionable strategic plan for PEMCO. The experience gained from solving a real-world problem, doing the extensive research to better understand the underlying insurance industry, and applying both common sense and new ideas to create a business strategy was invaluable. My biggest takeaway from the overall competition is that going the extra mile, whether it is with research, supporting materials in the presentation, pushing ourselves to identify novel business strategies, etc. is what made all the difference in finding success. – Ross Dempster
Participating in Strategy Development Case Competition helped me develop research and presentation skills in a short amount of time and gave me the confidence to go into the world knowing my insights are valuable. – Maria Victoria Angulo
It really helped me learn how to collaborate effectively under pressure, and think outside of the box to solve problems. – Clara Temer