April 13, 2015
By Mike Killeen
Winning teams sometimes celebrate unusually. Take the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University Society for the Advancement of Management (S.A.M.) Case Study Research team.
For the third time in four years, the CSB/SJU team finished first in its division in the S.A.M. Case Study undergraduate competition March 27-28 in Las Vegas. So to celebrate, they visited Las Vegas' historic Fremont Street — not to look at the bright lights, but to have random people on the street sign the box the championship plaque came in.
"They have a goofy tradition," said Steve Schwarz, adjunct assistant professor of global business leadership at CSB and SJU and the mentor to the team. "They have to go out with the plaque box and they have to get as many signatures on it as they can."
There was a free street concert going on, with 1980s metal tribute band Spandex Nation performing.
"One of the team members kind of walked off. We were looking for him. Where's Teddy? Where did Teddy go?" Schwarz said.
That was Teddy Kline, one of five members of the team. Allow him to pick up the rest of the story.
"The goal is to get as many signatures as you can, and you want them to be unique or memorable," Kline said. "I thought it would be funny if the band would sign it, and they did."
It capped a memorable trip for the team, which included Kline (senior, global business leadership, Vadnais Heights, Minnesota); Carolyn Bedford (senior, global business leadership and English, St. Paul, Minnesota); Karly Knutson (senior, global business leadership, Eden Prairie, Minnesota); Andrew Lynch (senior, global business leadership, Stillwater, Minnesota); and Ben Martynec (senior, global business leadership, Woodbury, Minnesota).
Each January, the CSB/SJU team is presented with a case study from an actual company by S.A.M. This year's case revolved around 3D Systems, a 3D printing company.
"The students excelled in their ability to research the company, critically analyze the case information, design strategic recommendations and deliver a professional presentation," Schwarz said.
The team developed three recommendations - two ideas to build quick revenue and grow capital with partners Fender Guitars and Disney, and a third with an eye to the future.
They suggested that 3D Systems work with Fender so "artists and musicians could come in and make customized, 3D-printed guitars," Schwarz said. With Disney, the group suggested that 3D Systems install printers at the Magic Kingdom, where "parents and kids could come in and have a 3D printed figurine that would put their likeness on a Disney character ... or the kids could even create their own characters," Schwarz added.
The third idea for the future was to have 3D Systems invest heavily in research and development of 4D printing systems to become a leader in that area. "They (the group) felt 4D printing was where 3D printing was five years ago," Schwarz said. "So, they wanted to make sure they invest heavily and become the leader."
The team from CSB/SJU has placed in the top three in six of the last seven years in either the Bush or Rutherford undergraduate divisions.
"This year, one of the judges came up to the group and shook their hands and said, 'I'd be happy to write any one of you a letter of recommendation based on what I saw here today,' and I've never heard that before," Schwarz said.
The judge also signed the box.