Notre Dame women win MBA case competition

Author: Carol Elliott

An all-female team of Notre Dame MBA students won first place in a recent case competition sponsored by the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA), winning out in the final round over five schools.

The competition took place Sept. 15-17 in Dallas-Fort Worth as part of the annual NAWMBA Conference and Career Fair. Teams could include male and female participants.

The winning team from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame included Kathryn Pelletier, Sunita Satpathy, Jennafer Newcomb and Jing Wang.

“The NAWMBA case competition is without a doubt, the highlight of my MBA experience to date,” said Pelletier.  “It was incredibly challenging and fun, and an opportunity for our team to further refine our problem-solving skills. We were able to provide valuable recommendations in solving a real-world company issue, and represent Notre Dame on a national level.”

The University of Chicago finished in second place, with the University of Texas at Dallas taking third. Notre Dame received $3,000 in prize money for its win.

The details of the case are proprietary, but they involved designing a marketing strategy that included the implementation of new customer-service technology. Teams submitted a business memo that included competitive data and a cost-benefit analysis of technological recommendations, as well as a SWOT analysis of the company’s current customer feedback tool. 

Against strong competition, Pelletier said she thinks the Notre Dame team stood out because of the thoroughness of its research and recommendations, and the alignment of the recommendations with the company’s values. “We also included the human element in addition to technology in our proposal, which is really key to providing top quality customer service,” she added. 

NAWMBA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to leadership development of female business professionals and to enhance the diversity of the nation‘s workforce.  The group focuses on the development of early to mid-career stage professionals and serves three related client groups: female MBA students, female business professionals and employers.

The Notre Dame MBA at the Mendoza College of Business enrolls approximately 340 students annually in its one-year and two-year programs. The program is designed to sharpen students’ analytical and problem-solving skills, enhance their leadership ability and increase emphasis on ethical decision making. Students have the opportunity to study the complexities of global business through international immersions in Asia, Latin America and other locations.

During the week-long Interterm Intensives, the MBA students analyze, investigate and offer solutions for real-life problems presented by executives from large global organizations. The Notre Dame MBA is ranked 24th among U.S. business schools by Bloomberg Businessweek and No. 4 worldwide on the 2010-2011 Aspen Institute’s “Beyond Grey Pinstripes,” an alternative ranking that measures the school’s integration of sustainability and social responsibility into curricula and research.

The Mendoza College also is a member of the Forté Foundation, a consortium of major corporations and top business schools supporting women in business leadership roles.

For more information about the Notre Dame MBA, contact Brian Lohr, Director of Admissions, at (574) 631-8488 or, or visit