Higher Ed

Mercer County Students Take First Prize in Rutgers Business School Case Competition

Teams from six schools across the state turned out to compete in the fourth annual New Jersey County College Case competition

A team from Mercer County Community College captures first prize in the 2019 New Jersey County College Case Competition at Rutgers Business School on April 5.

The students – Ahmed Alvi, Kevin Pogreszewski, Shuchen Wei, Nunana Honutse, Aaron Van Cleaf and Mable Yeboah – made a creative and innovative presentation to stand out among teams from Bergen, Hudson and Sussex County Community Colleges, County College of Morris and Middlesex County College.

Sussex County Community College won second place and County College of Morris was the third-place winner. Each of the winning teams receives a cash prize.

More than 60 people, including students, faculty advisors, judges and M&T executives, who volunteered as ambassadors to the teams, participated in the New Jersey County College Case Competition, known informally as NJC4. For the third year, M&T Bank sponsored the event.

“This will be the highlight of the year for them,” said Laura Sosa, a professor at Mercer County Community College who selected and advised the team with fellow professor Eva Csige. The team also received coaching and feedback from Andy Zalescik, an executive with M&T Bank.

The Mercer County students chalked up their win to hard work, a diversity of perspectives and a drive to come up with ways that they could differentiate themselves from the other teams. “We were looking to have a creative edge,” Van Cleaf said.

The team designed a survey and one student, Mable Yeboah, took on the persona of Mary, the owner of a fictitious chocolate company at the heart of the case the students were asked to analyze.

A panel of business professionals and a Rutgers Business School instructor served as judges: Mallory Boron, M&T Bank administrative vice president and retail market manager for New Jersey; Thomas Comiskey, M&T Bank, regional president for New Jersey; Frank Giarratano, president and chief operation officer of SGW Integrated Marketing Communications; Arturo Osorio Fernandez, an assistant professor of professional practice at Rutgers; and Jennifer Rodrigues, Prudential Financial, vice president, planning and analysis.

The event offers county college students a chance to test their business knowledge and get a closer look inside a four-year business school. Twenty students who have participated in the event in past years have opted to continue their studies at Rutgers Business School.

Even if they don’t wind up at Rutgers, the case competition is a meaningful experience for them.

“I really liked applying what I’ve learned in my classes to the case,” said Chiara Totoli, a student from County College of Morris. “I was sitting in my accounting class one day, and I realized I could use what we were learning in the case competition. You don’t have an opportunity to do that very often.”

Totoli was teamed up with students Steven Czuczman, Alan Gutman, David Lozano, Genevieve Santasieri and her brother, Roberto, who is also studying at CCM.

The team from Sussex County Community College was made up of Kristen Biemer, Michael Duffy, Jorge F. Gonzalez Flores, Taylor Boyer, Matthew Feeney and Patrick Weiss.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

Related Articles: