The Council for Retail and Sales, housed at DeSales University, hosts two collegiate case competitions each year. This semester’s competition was sponsored by Brenntag Food & Nutrition. In its second consecutive win, Penn State Lehigh Valley team MakeConvenient Lions Consulting, led by faculty adviser Denise Ogden, took home first place. The winning team consisted of students Hemil Patel, Georgia Gonzalez, Ben Stratz and Simon Tomaszewski.
Seven teams total competed in the competition and were tasked to solve a real business opportunity for the sponsor. The focus of the competition was to help Brenntag launch a new product line during the time of COVID-19 when typical face-to-face sales models will not work. Many customer R&D and purchasing departments are working remotely, not accepting supplier visits, and industry trade shows have been canceled. Brenntag tasked the teams with finding creative solutions to get this new product out to market and quickly generate sales.
"It was so much fun! It really was difficult to pick the best teams. All the students were professional and did a great job. The judges and I learned so much and have a lot of fresh ideas to share with our teams. We loved the experience and cannot wait to sponsor the program again," said Shea Worman, business development manager for Brenntag Food & Nutrition, and one of five judges for the competition.
“We were excited to have such high-profile judges who get to witness different perspectives and recruit some of the best students in the state," said James (Doc) Ogden, chair of the Council for Retail and Sales.
The first place winning prize was $1,500 and second place prize was $500. The competition is judged on a written executive summary and recorded video presentation. Nittany Consultants from Penn State Abington, comprised of Kyra Fripps, Tzuyin Su, Christopher Liston, and Aidan Pulli, took second place. Amnah Kahn, from Penn State Lehigh Valley won the best presenter award. Other colleges participating included Bloomsburg University, University of Lynchburg, and Penn State Wilkes-Barre.
“We always look forward to this competition and it is becoming a high-profile event among our students. I can't think of a better way to prepare our students for business careers. I was very impressed with the Brenntag management team,” said Thomas Stone, faculty adviser from Penn State Abington. The other faculty advisers from Abington included Peter Hornberger and Kevin Mayhew.
Giant Food Stores will sponsor the next competition. Check thecrs.org or follow CRS on Facebook for more information.