This past fall, MillerCoors sponsored the Kilts Center Marketing Analytics Case Competition exclusively for Booth students. It was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to act as a brand manager on behalf of one of the largest beverage companies in the world.
The opportunity to participate in a marketing case competition was something I was eager to take advantage of. When a classmate reached out to create a team, I quickly said “yes.” Team Cheers was created, and we were off on our journey together.
From left to right: Michael Kenary (Evening MBA Program), Kristin Adam (Evening MBA Program), Samantha Hess, and Daniel Kenary
Who is Team Cheers? The first step in this process was to create a team and apply to be a part of the case competition. The application included questions about who we were and why we wanted to participate. We got creative and made a team Instagram account to introduce ourselves in a more personalized way (check us out @TeamCheers).
But the question we debated the most was “who would we want to have a beer with and why?” We finally settled on Will Ferrell, and each of us chose a character he played in a movie – my choice was “Buddy the Elf”.
Application submitted. What next? From 20+ applications, 8 teams were invited to compete in the challenge, and I’m excited to share that Team Cheers was one of those teams!
There was a kick-off with the MillerCoors team at their headquarters. During the meeting, our team was briefed on the challenge at hand and given a week to develop a recommendation for how to navigate that challenge. MillerCoors gave us access to their data to help shape and support our final recommendation.
During the week that followed, we all went a little short on sleep and closed down Gleacher more than once. But, it was a great experience and well worth it.
Author Samantha Hess presenting for Team Cheers at the Kilts Center's Marketing Analytics Case Competition
So, how did it end? Friday, November 10th rolled around, and I was a little nervous. We were the last group to go, and the judges included both Booth faculty and a team from MillerCoors, including their CMO, Innovation VP, and several Brand Managers. There were also some pretty spectacular prizes on the line, including MillerCoors swag, Second City tickets, Chicago Bears tickets and first round interviews at the company.
Our presentation seemed to go well. The panel of judges was engaged, and asked thoughtful and challenging questions. After presenting, we waited in anticipation with the other teams, eating lunch and debriefing, until the MillerCoors team came to share the results.
As the judges started describing the presentation that won second place, I started to smile at my teammates – it sounded like they were describing ours. And it was, in fact, Team Cheers. So, Kristin Adam, Michael Kenary, Dan Kenary and I were the proud receipts of the second-place prize! Another surprise came later in the awards ceremony when a member of Team Cheers won MVP and took home a signed Leinenkugel paddle. I have it hanging prominently in my apartment.
Top row (from left to right): David Kroll, Justine Stauffer, Bryan Ferschinger, Art Middlebrooks (Chicago Booth clinical professor of marketing and executive director of Kilts Center for Marketing), and Matt Reischauer; Bottom row (from left to right): Michael Kenary, Kristin Adam, Samantha Hess, and Daniel Kenary holding the Leinenkugel paddle.
Overall, I can’t say enough about how wonderful of an experience the case competition was. The Kilts Center did an amazing job putting it all together and the MillerCoors team gave us an exciting challenge to work through. And Team Cheers, a special toast to you guys for being so awesome.