Farmer School teams take first, second in West Monroe Partners competition

Student judging component added to competition

Competitors and West Monroe Partners judges
Competitors and West Monroe Partners judges Photo: Jay Murdock

Student judging component added to competition

For the second time this year, a pair of Farmer School teams placed in the top three at the West Monroe Partners Case Competition on Friday, this time taking the top two spots.

This time, the students took on groups from Purdue, DePauw, and the University of Illinois as they came up with their ideas for how to handle the merger of a pair of companies that specialized in pet grooming. Team 2, comprised of Grant Stierwalt, Annie Reilly, Evan Jones, and Jack Collins finished first in the judging, while Team 3, Emily Leach, Claire Galberg, and Xue Mu, came in second.

“It was my first time (in this competition,) so it was a really neat experience,” Stierwalt said. “It was a great experience working as a team and getting a little real-world experience.”

“I hope that the students can take away a notion of teamwork and critical thinking skills. That’s a super important skill in the consulting industry,” West Monroe senior manager Emily Pillat said. “Think creatively about these problems – these are situations that we face as consultants all the time.”

“I also think it’s fun, so hopefully, they also think it’s fun,” she said.

A twist to the competition this time was that teams that didn’t make the finals were given the opportunity to judge the finalists, and their insights made up 20 percent of the judging totals.

“We wanted to give the students who didn’t advance an opportunity to remain involved in the process,” West Monroe senior consultant in mergers and acquisitions Maddie Bessinger explained. “We thought that by getting peer feedback, it could be helpful to the teams if they’re involved in future competitions.”

Bessinger said it’s worth the effort of putting on the event on the company’s end as well. “It’s a great recruiting event for us. We find some really top talent through these types of competitions.”

See more images from the competition on our Facebook page