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Rice MBA Team Awarded Third Place in Global Business Competition

HOUSTON, April 20, 2007—The Rice MBA business team secured third place in the second annual Cerebration 2007, a business challenge organized by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School.  The entire competition spanned November through March, and the finals were held March 29-31 in Singapore.
 

Anna Reeve, Jon Surratt, Kianti Brown & Jay Pertuz

Six teams, including the Rice MBA team, were selected for the final round, among a total of 568 teams from around the globe competing for more than $13,000 in cash and prizes.
 
For the Rice MBA team to be in the top .5 percent is exceptional,” said Sean Ferguson, director of MBA programs.  “We really appreciate and value the hard work put forth by the team and for representing the school in such a positive manner.”
 
The competition, which incorporates elements of a business plan and case competition, focuses on developing a business plan for a major Singaporean company interested in international expansion.  Teams were asked to select from three cases and choose a target market for the case company’s expansion.
 
Business plans were developed for the following case companies:  OSIM, a branded healthy lifestyle products company; ThaiExpress, a Thai restaurant chain; and internationally acclaimed customer service speaker and master trainer Ron Kaufman’s UP Your Service! College, a customer service training curriculum.
 
Rice’s “Illuminate” team composed of second-year Rice MBA students, Anna Reeve, Jon Surratt, Kianti Brown and Jay Pertuz presented a business plan for Kaufman’s UP Your Service! College which included strategies for expanding the organization globally to meet demand, while maintaining a high standard of service delivered by certified UP Your Service! College course leaders.
 
“I think I speak for all members of my team when I say that this was a very positive experience for us all.  We were able to take what we learned in our courses and apply it to a real-world globalization effort,” said team member Surratt.  “Although the process was quite intense, we were able to work together to create a thorough, actionable plan for our case sponsor.”
 
“The favorable responses of both the judges and the case sponsor were a great reward for all our hard work,” he added.
 
The competition began in November 2006 and involved a three-stage evaluation process with detailed feedback from the judges.  In early March, the six final teams were chosen and given an all expenses paid trip to Singapore where they presented their business plans to a panel of leading industry experts and the top management of their chosen company.
 
Rice Team from left to right: Anna Reeve, Jon Surratt, Kianti Brown, and Jay Pertuz