Mendoza School of Business

Notre Dame MBA announces winners of its innovative virtual case competition

Published: November 19, 2012 / Author: Carol Elliott

In considering how a major telecommunications
company can help Americans age 65 and older make better use of mobile phones,
Edward Drakhlis of Brooklyn, NY, thought about two major factors: Many seniors
are uncomfortable with mobile technology, and they have fixed incomes.

With his resulting proposal, Drakhlis won the
grand prize in the Notre Dame MBA Mini
Deep-Dive Challenge
, a virtual case competition sponsored by the University
of Notre Dame’s Mendoza
College of Business
and Sprint. As part
of the award, Drakhlis will
receive a $25,000 fellowship toward tuition upon successfully matriculating
into the Notre Dame MBA program, as well as additional prizing.

“I tried
to develop something that can be implemented quickly and leverage the company’s
current assets,” said Drakhlis, a freelance marketing consultant who is
planning to pursue his MBA. “I thought about what makes the many philanthropies
I currently respect and enjoy so successful. It narrowed down to simplicity, a
feeling of involvement, and transparency.”

The Notre
Dame MBA
Mini Deep-Dive Challenge, launched Oct. 4, saw 539 registrants in
the unique online competition, which was open to the public as well as
prospective students. The challenge asked participants to analyze the corporate
responsibility case offered by Sprint and create a one-page proposal that
outlined a marketing plan addressing the communications needs of the aging

“At Sprint, our focus is on providing innovative
solutions and connecting people wirelessly in the ways they want and dream
of.  To make that happen, we seek out the best and brightest minds,” said
Bill White, senior vice president of Corporate Communications and Corporate Responsibility for Sprint.
“We were eager to work on this project with Notre Dame because we knew that
participants would generate fantastic ideas. The results were truly
outstanding, and we are looking at ways we might be able to implement some of
them to help our senior customers and their loved ones.”

a company with a long-standing commitment to corporate responsibility, has
worked previously with Notre Dame for other responsibility-focused programs. To
learn more about Sprint’s corporate responsibility initiatives, visit

“The unique feature of the Deep-Dive Challenge is
that it gives every participant a brief introduction into graduate business
education at Notre Dame by allowing them to work through a case,” said Brian Lohr,
director of Notre Dame MBA Admissions. “But perhaps more significantly, this wasn’t
a theoretical case. Sprint may utilize the ideas submitted during the contest to
address this real-life issue presented by the ‘graying of America.’  Participants had a great opportunity to put
their best ideas in front of company decision makers.”    

took place in two phases: A team of Mendoza College of Business faculty and staff members reviewed all entries
and selected 10 to be considered by Sprint executives. The communications
company then selected one grand-prize winner, one second-place winner and one
third-place winner.

were judged on the following criteria: understanding of the business problem
presented, insightfulness and creativity of solution, and organization and
development of the ideas expressed.

addition to the grand-prize of a $25,000 fellowship to the Notre Dame MBA program upon successful matriculation into the program
during the 2013-2014 academic year, Drakhlis also will receive a ZTE
Optik Android tablet with one year of Sprint service, a Samsung Galaxy S III with one year of Sprint service, a $100 McDonald’s Arch
Card and a $100 adidas gift card.

Paul Zielinski of
Hampshire, Ill., won second place in the contest, and Bradley Hunter of Orem,
Utah, won third place.  For second- and third-place
prizing, as well as rules and guidelines, visit the Notre Dame MBA Mini Deep-Dive Challenge website.  

first 50 contestants who submitted an entry receive a prize package valued at
$50, which includes an OtterBox iPhone 4/4s case from Sprint, a $5 McDonald’s
Arch Card and an adidas Notre Dame T-shirt.

contestants who submitted an entry in accordance with the competition
guidelines received an application fee waiver for the Notre Dame MBA program application deadline of Oct. 29.

The Notre Dame MBA Mini Deep-Dive Challenge was inspired
by Interterm
, a signature component of the Notre Dame MBA curriculum. Each spring
and fall, MBA students participate in intense four-day sessions involving
real-world presentations and case competitions from some of the top Fortune 100
companies, including Boeing, Coca-Cola, General Electric and McDonald’s.

Previous Deep-Dive Challenges included a
sustainability case sponsored by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, manufacturer
of the Keurig coffee makers, and a community relations-building initiative
sponsored by Microsoft.

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.

The Notre Dame MBA is ranked 20th
among U.S. business schools by Bloomberg
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

About Sprint Nextel:

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of
wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility
to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served nearly 56
million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2012 and is widely
recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies,
including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United
States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands
including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant
national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1
Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint
No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved,
across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked
Sprint No. 3 in both its 2011 and 2012 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the
nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You
can learn more and visit Sprint at
or and



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