Launch Week Surprised Incoming Students with a Case Competition

Before every fall semester, LSU Flores MBA full-time students are required to attend orientation “Launch Week,” which takes place a week before they start classes. This week is a great chance for Flores MBA students to get to know their classmates and it’s jam-packed with activities that prepare students for the program. Capping off the week, the students are asked to participate in their first strategy case competition. While some think this is a daunting task, it really sets the tone for the next two years.

This year, 11 teams were asked to study Walmart, one of the biggest companies in the world, to figure out the right strategy to embrace the change in the shopping experience of its customers, which was recently affected by technological development and cultural trends.

Three of the teams stood out thanks to their bright ideas involving high-end technology implementations such as robots in the shopping place, and new features for existing tools such as merging the two mobile apps of the company. To the student’s surprise, one of the judges of the competition was a Walmart executive, who asked several questions and gave feedback to the participants.

While some team members mentioned that it was a “nerve-wracking experience,” they all were able to team up with new people, build confidence, and get out of their comfort zones to develop new skills. The winners of this competition highlighted the empowerment of every person in the group to work on a specific task, and the excellent joined effort to collaborate and put together the final presentation.

In addition to awarding first, second and third place teams, the case competition also recognized the best presenters of each of the three teams.  “I won best presenter because I was very comfortable with the topic I was talking about. Also, my question answering was a big aspect of it,” said Jack Wilkes, a member of the first place team. Sam Smith, a member of the third place team said, “The best thing to recommend to someone that is afraid of speaking in public is to do it more, to put yourself in uncomfortable situations, to practice over and over again, and to not memorize everything you will say so that it comes out naturally.”

This main purpose of this initial case competition was to introduce incoming MBA students to strategy competitions in general. Throughout their time in the Flores MBA Program, students have many opportunities to compete against other MBA students around the country in these types of competitions. Historically, LSU’s Flores MBA Program has done very well competing and we hope to improve on our record in years to come! 


1st Place (Left to Right) – Ronald Cossich, Molly Jacobsen, Jack Wilkes, Lauren Verret



2nd Place – Andrew Crayden, Lauren Fontaine, Madeline George, Andrew Kasparek



3rd Place – Austin Wilder, Sam Smith, Jenny Zhang, Quin Graves



Best Presenters – Andrew Kasparek, Sam Smith, Jack Wilkes

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