Rutgers Pharma MBA students rank with top business schools in biotech case competitions

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rutgers students place 3rd at Wake Forest Schools of Business Biotechnology Case Competition; finish in top five at Kellogg Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition

Rutgers Pharmaceutical MBA students travelled the country to match wits with other top business schools at two prestigious biotechnology and healthcare case competitions finishing among the top five in both contests. The results show that Rutgers MBA Program ranks with the best business schools in the world in pharmaceutical and biotechnology management.

A team of Rutgers MBA students represented by Brian Pan, Brandon Saks, Tarak Shah and Mark Slomiany, placed third at the 3rd Annual Biotechnology Conference and Case Competition hosted by Wake Forest at their campus in Winston-Salem, North Carolina held February 24-25, 2012.

Rutgers Pharma MBA

Rutgers Business School placed third, receiving a $2,000 check, and was represented by students Brandon Saks (Third from Left), Brian Pan (Third from Right), Mark Slomiany (Second from Right) and  Tarak Shah (Right).

A second team consisting of Harleen Parmar, Marcus Silva, Jeffrey Mann, Rina Mehta, and Christopher Parker, earned honorable mention finishing in the top five at the Kellogg 2012 Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition in Evanston, Illinois held on January 30th. Rutgers Business School students had won the Kellogg competition in 2011.  

“It was an amazing experience to meet all the national and international students from business schools around the world,” said Parmar, who also holds a degree in Pharm.D. and is a registered Pharmacist (R.Ph.). Business schools from England, Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and London Business School, and Mexico’s IPADE Business School, in addition to top business schools in the US including Rutgers, Columbia, and Berkeley to name a few, participated in the Kellogg challenge.

Teams had to focus on implementing a new point-of-care diagnostic test for infants with HIV in Africa using complex data to formulate a recommendation, factoring in the interests of different stakeholders.

“Our strategy was to organize a cross-functional team and that really enabled us to develop a comprehensive presentation,” said Mann. “It was amazing how much we all learned from each other during the process.”

A team from University of Michigan won first place and $5,000; second place and $1,500 went to a team from Columbia Business School, and third place and $750 went to a team from London Business School. Two teams received an honorable mention: Rutgers Business School and Kellogg School of Management, both teams received $500.

More than 35 business schools submitted applications to participate in the competition with only nine MBA programs invited to present at the final round:

  • Rutgers Business School
  • Columbia Business School
  • Haas School of Business, Berkeley
  • IPADE Business School, Mexico
  • Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern
  • London Business School
  • Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
  • Rady School of Management, UC San Diego
  • Saïd Business School, University of Oxford


At the Wake Forest MBA case competition student teams had one week to prepare a business plan for case sponsor LifeScan, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, to enter a new market.

“The Wake Forest case competition was a fun and challenging way for our team to tackle a global problem in diabetes care with the knowledge and skills gained from the MBA program and our internships, while learning on-the-fly and thinking creatively,” said Shah. “We are pleased that J&J thought highly of our solution.”

UCLA won first place and a $10,000 prize; second place and a $5,000 prize went to University of Texas; and Rutgers Business School placed third, receiving a $2,000 check.

“Interacting with teams from around the country, you're reminded of the unique opportunity the pharma management program at Rutgers provides being at the heart of New Jersey's biopharma industry,” said Slomiany.

Participating schools in the Wake Forest 3rd Annual Biotechnology Conference and Case Competition sponsored by Johnson & Johnson were:

  • Rutgers Business School
  • Anderson School of Management,  UCLA
  • Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
  • Carey School of Business,  Johns Hopkins 
  • Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
  • Haas School of Business, UC Berkley
  • McCombs School of Business, University of Texas
  • Rady School of Management , UC San Diego
  • Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
  • Wake Forest University Schools of Business


“I know I speak for everyone who participated in these case competitions how appreciative we are to Professor Mahmud Hassan and Ingrid Castillo for all of their hard work and dedication to the Pharmaceutical Management Program making this possible,” said Saks.

About the Blanche and Irwin Lerner Center for the Study of Pharmaceutical Management Issues

Just as the state of New Jersey is recognized as the nation’s principal pharmaceutical hub, Rutgers Business School (RBS) has evolved as an academic leader in pharmaceutical management training and research. Today, RBS has taken its pioneering role to the next level through the Blanche and Irwin Lerner Center for the Study of Pharmaceutical Management Issues.

The Center strives to position itself as a leading institution of innovative ideas and activities for the growth of the biopharmaceutical industry. It will focus on encouraging research in the areas of managing biopharmaceutical research, development, and commercialization with the goal of increasing productivity as well as discerning the impact of government policies and programs on competition, pricing and reimbursement, and access to biopharmaceutical products, medical devices and diagnostic products.

TAGS: Case Competition Current Students MBA Pharmaceutical Management