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First-Years at Johnson Take on Twitter’s Biggest Woes in Integrative Case Competition

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The entire Class of 2017 divided up into 60 teams to tackle thorny issues confronting social media giant Twitter as part of the 9th annual Integrative Case Competition at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Four finalist teams battled it out for cash prizes and bragging rights on December 3rd to close out the first semester of their first MBA semester.

“It is the role of great institutions of higher learning to help great corporate institutions solve great problems,” Drew Pascarella, faculty lead for the competition, said in a statement. “You are challenged to assess, value and propose a tangible and actionable solution for one of the world’s most talked-about companies: Twitter.”

Integrative Case Competition
Integrative Case Competition 2015 winners
Courtesy photo

Specifically, students were tasked with examining Twitter’s lack of profitability, declining user engagement, soaring competition and ambiguous product focus.

Since its launch in 2004, first-years at Johnson have competed as part this unique case competition as their first-semester final project. The Integrative Case Competition, which is sponsored by Liberty Mutual and Corning, calls on them to combine the functional knowledge, decision-making ability and leadership and presentation skills they’ve honed since arriving at business school.

As part of this year’s competition, student teams had 48 hours to dive into the Twitter case, formulate solutions and present them to a panel of finance and strategy faculty, who were joined by corporate guests.

There was consensus among the competing teams regarding Twitter’s fate. To survive and grow, the company must figure out how to make money from its users when they are logged off, the teams said.

So, what do the Johnson first-years suggest? Among the winning proposed solutions: seeking out smaller social media companies for acquisition in a bid to attract new products and users, increasing engagement among existing users through development of new products and looking to be acquired by a larger player in the digital communications field.

“Each year I’m so excited to see how the students respond to the challenge of the integrative case. This year is no exception,” Pascarella said in a statement. “Twitter is an iconic company faced with real issues,” he added, noting that co-founder Jack Dorsey would do well to listen to the Johnson MBAs.

Congrats to the winners of the 2015 Integrative Case Competition:

Patrick Grumley, Farzad Hasnat, Tina Lee, Jefferson Li, and Nathan Treybeck—1st place, $3,000 cash prize

Tan Chanapol, Josh Jelenek, Rahul Kundu, Daria Muresan, and Will Rodger—second place, $1,500 cash prize

Ryan Armstrong, Jose Luis Cordova Vera, Naim Hassin, Prashant Patel, and Liz Suspanic—runners up, $500 cash prize

Ian Erly, Siddharth Kannan, Katherine McGuire, Alejandro Sanroman de la Garza, and Andrew Vittetoe—runners up, $500 cash prize