Students Make “Grape” Recommendations for WA Wine Expansion into China

November 3, 2017, dawned dark and grey; typical for November in Seattle. Inside PACCAR and Dempsey Halls, however, the students who participated in the 2017 Russell Investments International Case Competition (RIICC) shone bright.

2017 marked the 20th year the Foster School has organized this signature introductory case competition. With Russell Investments as the title sponsor for the second year in a row, student interest was immense. 36 teams competed, totaling over 140 student participants!

After 48 hours of intensive analysis and recommendation development, the participating teams wowed judges with their impressive interpretations of, and use of puns regarding, the 2017 case, Global Wine War 2015: New World Versus Old.

The student team members played the role of consultants, hired by the Washington State Wine Commission. The Commission was looking for recommendations on how Washington State wineries should market their products to China. The teams were asked to address the following questions:

  1. What kinds of Washington State wines should be sold in China and why?
  2. What are the target market segments?
  3. What marketing strategies should be implemented?
  4. In particular, how should Washington State wines be marketed in China in order to compete against wines from Australia and France?

The four top-scoring teams moved on to the final round. We would like to congratulate the four finalist teams:

Team 1 (C2): Chris Cave, Aarthi Ganapathi, Kalei Munsell, Brandon Naluai

Team 2 (D3): Bianca Cheung, Keenan Goodman, Karah Hsu, Jack Post

Team 3 (E2): Rose Jao, Cody Ng, Skye Scofield, Davin Yeom

Team 4 (B1): Andrew Chan, Preston Gulledge, Amanda Schmitz, Sophie Wong

2017 Russell Investments International Case Competition Finalists

After watching the final round teams present, the panel of five finalist judges determined a winner. Of the four stellar finalist presentations, Team 3 took home $1000 and the title of 2017 Russell Investments International Case Competition Champions. Team 1, comprised of Chris Cave, Aarthi Ganapathi, Kalei Munsell, and Brandon Naluai, took 2nd place and won a $500 prize.

Congratulations to all of the teams and especially to the first place team members, Rose Jao, Cody Ng, Skye Scofield, Davin Yeom.

2017 General Undergraduate Track Champions: Cody Ng, Davin Yeom, Rose Jao, and Skye Scofield with Russell Investments’ Director of Government and Community Relations, Erik Strom.

Special recognition should also go to Aarthi Ganapathi who was part of the 2015 Freshman Direct Track winning team, part of the 2016 Champion team, and whose team this year snagged second place honors. Way to go, Aarthi!

The first place team recommended an innovative and robust product line and marketing strategy to reach the Chinese upper middle class market. The judges were impressed by their comprehensive approach to entering a market with such immense potential.

Of the 36 participating teams, ten were made up of Foster Freshman Direct students. These students compete in their own Freshman Direct Track, the winners of which receive $500. We are excited to see these students getting involved in case competitions so early in their Foster careers. The Freshman Direct Track winning team was Team F5: Olivia Battison, Danielle Galvin, Mackenzi Oates, and Clara Temer. Second place in the Freshman Direct track went to Team F2: Julia Hughes, Jessica Irvine, Natalie Mifsud, and Ben Vandehey.

2017 Freshman Direct Track Champions: Danielle Galvin, Olivia Battison, Clara Temer, and Mackenzi Oates.

The Global Business Center continues to be committed to providing global business education across Washington State. For the third year in a row, RIICC included a Northwest Regional Track. Four teams travelled to the UW campus from North Seattle College and Yakima Valley Community College. Each team gave an impressive presentation addressing the Washington wine conundrum and Frances Sanchez, Mary R. Harris, and Mary C. Smith, from North Seattle College, took home the title of Northwest Regional Track Champions.

2017 Northwest Regional Track Champions: Frances Sanchez, Mary R. Harris, and Mary C. Smith.

The Russell Investments International Case Competition is an introductory case competition and an exceptional learning experience for Foster School students. It provides an opportunity for students who have never competed in a case competition to ‘get their feet wet’. This year’s learning opportunities included a Pre-Competition Workshop, led by Foster School star faculty member, Leta Beard, and a Coaching Round on Friday morning which provided teams the opportunity to get feedback on their presentation from business community and faculty coaches before presenting in front of their judge panel on Saturday.

The GBC would like to say thank you to all of our volunteers who made the event possible! It is truly a team effort to put on an event this size and we couldn’t do it without our volunteers.

Visit our website to find out more and learn how to get involved next year.

Finally, the Global Business Center would like to thank Russell Investments for your partnership in equipping UW students to succeed in the global economy. This event would not be possible with your support. 


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