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The seven Rutgers Business School students from Newark who won the Johnson & Johnson national case competition were methodical about their preparation, turning an the old adage about practice makes perfect into something of a mantra.

Dhrumil Shah, one of four juniors on the team, said the practice didn't let up even after the students went through two rounds of competition in early March to win the chance to represent Rutgers Business School in the national competition.

"Even during spring break, we kept working," said Shah, who is studying management information systems. "We added more ideas to try to improve our presentation, and we kept practicing, practicing, practicing."

Shah and his team mates - sophomores Renato Franco-Rosas, Anna Sista and Qiongshan "Charlotte" Lin as well as juniors Nicole Perez, Erika Uchinaite and Sofia Gonzalez - won the March 27 competition over nine other teams, including Penn State, Ohio State, Rider and Seton Hall. A team from Rutgers Business School - New Brunswick also participated. The winners received $5,000 in prize money.

In the competition, the student teams were given three options for expanding Johnson & Johnson's Listerine product line with a children's mouth wash, a whitening mouth wash or an all-natural mouth wash. The teams were provided with demographic information, financial and administrative cost data as well as various options for packaging and marketing.

Each team had to select an option and then explain their strategies from both a marketing and financial perspective during a 20-minute presentation. Afterward, they faced 10 minutes of questions from three judges, all senior Johnson & Johnson executives.

The Rutgers Business School students, who are from seven different countries, used their diversity to emphasize a multi-cultural approach in the global marketing plan they developed in the competition.

Sista, an accounting student, said the fact that everyone was from different countries resulted in more ideas about how to approach their case, especially the marketing aspect. "We tried to take as many ideas as we could and come up with an all-around marketing strategy," she said.

The team also found a way to charm the judges by introducing one another and identifying their home countries. Sista always introduced herself last, saying she was from the "good old USA."

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A CEO returns to Rutgers Business School to share his experiences with students

Michael O'Neill, who completed his Rutgers MBA in 1986, now holds the job of chief executive officer at Broadcast Music Inc. In a video made during his visit to Rutgers Business School on March 4, O'Neill talked about being the second person with an MBA to be hired at BMI.

"When I came in, the MBA immediately helped to legitimize me in my role," he said. "What they didn't realize was what the experience from the MBA program did. It allowed me to take on challenges that someone else wouldn't have."

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