J&J competition reflects ‘real-life’

Justin Runquist

Last Wednesday, C&F students competed in the college’s first ever Johnson & Johnson case competition. In the morning, five J&J representatives evaluated teams, with students ranging from first and fourth-year students, and spoke about current business issues at a post-event luncheon.

“We want to see how students can add value to an organization,” Greg Herlan, M.B.A. ’97 said, a finance controller at McNeil Consumer Products, a subsidiary of J&J.

The project was based on two different products in two different markets that J&J has strived to enter. Students were provided with a booklet – with directions, financial statements and market data – and asked to focus on relevant material and develop actual strategies.

“Strategy was key in this project,” Herlan said. “We want to see how students would market and take advantages of their companies’ strengths.”

According to Clayton Orrigo, a C&F sophomore and a future J&J co-op for the fall semester, the project was worth his while.

“This project really gave us experience taking real-life data and applying it to real-world situations,” he said. “I will probably be presented with similar cases in my co-op, so I’m glad I had this opportunity.”

At the luncheon, the J&J judges praised students for delving deep into difficult business issues, bringing out strengths and minimizing weaknesses.

“You’ll find in the workplace that there are no right or wrong answers,” Karen Kauffman, a finance manager at McNeil, said. “What managers look for is decisions that are well thought-out.”

The winners of the competition were Tara Denton, a finance senior, Samir Chheda, a management and pre-med sophomore, and Catherine Lee, an accounting sophomore. They advanced to compete against other schools at J&J world headquarters Thursday in New Brunswick, N.J. The three students will face teams from schools such as LaSalle, Lehigh, Rutgers, Florida International, Illinois and Bucknell.

“The College of Commerce and Finance is really pleased with this newly formed relationship with J&J,” said Dr. Kevin Clark, an assistant professor of strategic management. “We’re also excited that our students have the opportunity to work with J&J managers with real-life case studies such as this.”

Other J&J representives from McNeil present last Wednesday were Marty Pagliughi, a marketing finance manager, Reynolds Robinson, a senior analyst, and Bill Korbich, a finance manager.