Campus: CSU Fullerton -- May 08, 2002

Cal State Fullerton MBA Team Wins National Case Consulting Championship

A team of Cal State Fullerton M.B.A. students proved it has the right business sense, winning first place in this year's Small Business Institute Directors national case consulting competition.

This is the fourth time in six years that a Cal State Fullerton team has taken the top honors, with previous wins in 1999, 1997 and 1996.

The award-winning group worked under the direction of Paul S. Hugstad, professor of marketing, and competed against students from about 250 colleges and universities across the nation. Team members are: Omar Estrada of Buena Park, Co Ho of Anaheim, Caroline Janik of Irvine, Kevin Larson of Anaheim and Dennis Massey of Huntington Beach.

The contest is based on consulting reports prepared for area companies by M.B.A. students, noted Hugstad. "Our students put in more than 1,100 consulting hours and conducted primary research interviews with 200 customers nationwide."

Putting classroom experience to work in a real-world situation, the students consulted with the owner of CoolJet Systems, a division of MKT Innovations in Brea and a manufacturer of high-pressure coolant systems for machine tools.

In addition to a customer survey, students researched the company's competitors, including a review of sales and advertising programs. "They developed a strategic plan, including a five-year sales forecast, pro forma financial statements, a valuation model and ratio analysis," said Hugstad. "The students provided a complete functional analysis and plans, including operations, sales compensation program and employee survey."

We are very pleased that the team won the national competition. All in all, CoolJet Systems gained much more than expected from the work produced by the team," said Mike Kenney, CoolJet Systems president.

"When CSUF contacted us about the M.B.A. program, we thought we may benefit from a fresh perspective on our marketplace and how we operate as a company. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised by the effort put forth by the team and were 'blown away' by some of their findings.

"The students got us thinking about new ideas," he noted. "Their enthusiasm and commitment to the project exceeded our expectations."

The case studies are evaluated by panels of industry and university judges at state, regional and national levels. All students enrolled in the M.B.A. program conduct real-world casework as a finishing touch to their degree requirements, noted Hugstad, who has supervised the capstone M.B.A. course in which the case studies are required.

Operating as part of the university's Small Business Institute, student teams have served more than 950 businesses and won more than 39 prizes for outstanding casework, according to Michael Ames, professor of management and SBI director.

Companies interested in participating in this program may call Ames at (949) 644-4541.

For additional information please contact Paul Hugstad at (714) 278-3544 or
Pamela McLaren of Public Affairs at (714) 278-4852 or

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