IBM Business Strategy and Insights Case Competition

IBM Business Strategy and Insights Case Competition

[IBM Lubin School logos]
First Annual Business Strategy and Insights Case Competition, New York, NY
Fall 2013

IBM and Pace University's Lubin School of Business partnered to offer the first annual Business Strategy and Insights Case Competition on November 22, 2013. Four talented student teams competed against one another to perform an audit of online conversations, specifically, to identify and rank the preferred social channels and IBM's participation rate versus competitors and non-competitors. Real-world business questions insights and solutions were presented to a panel of expert judges from IBM and Pace University.

Below are the winning teams, followed by a series of special mentions in two specific categories:

[IBM Competition Winners]
1st Place Team: Jessica Clewell, Ning Tian, Sweta Rana, Jon Patacca

[IBM Competition Winners]
2nd Place Team: Andrew Burakov, Jessica Boff, Javier Dutan, Lingshuan Zhang

Special Mentions:

[IBM Competition Winners]
Team A: Efthymios Gkotsis, Soheb Hasan, Anush Ravikumar, Yang Xu
Creativity in Analysis — "Strategic Use of Google Ad Words, Strong Share of Voice" — IBM

Team B: Roberto Amarascu, Yue Guan, Stavan Pandya, Edoardo Maggini
Written Submission — "well documented positioning paper, extensive and well written" — IBM

We also want to thank and recognize the effort of our executive sponsors, judges, and Pace University faculty advisor:

Paula Summa, General Manager Of IBM Inside Sales And Pace alumna
Patrick J. O'Donnell, Vice President, Global Marketing, Strategy And Online Commerce, IBM Inside Sales
Neil Braun, Dean, Lubin School Of Business, Pace University

Chris Korczowski, Director, Strategy
Kevin M. Scully, Director, Brand System, IBM North America Marketing
Cheryl L. Mikovch, Program Executive, IBM Inside Sales Marketing, Charlotte, NC
Ipshita Ray, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Chair, Lubin School of Business, Pace University

Dr. Ipshita Ray, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Chair, Lubin School of Business, Pace University

Individual Participation Certificates are being awarded to each finalist by IBM and Lubin.

Finalists are also in the process of being interviewed for positions within IBM.

About the Competition

IBM and Pace University's Lubin School of Business have partnered to present the FIRST ANNUAL BUSINESS STRATEGY AND INSIGHTS CASE COMPETITION, November 2013. 33% of global B2B buyers use social media to engage vendors with the number growing to 75% in the near future. Customers are using social networks to learn what is possible for their business to evaluate solutions and to compare vendors. To intercept these potential buyers, organizations need insights into the real conversations occurring on social networks. They need to discern what topics are most relevant to a target audience around a solution and what is being said about the competition. Equally important is identifying those recognized online subject matter experts who participate in discussions and help to formulate customer purchase decisions. These findings can be impactful if an organization is able to pinpoint the preferred social networks for these dialogues. The value of this social data is engaging key audiences in the right conversations at the right time to increase brand consideration; to activate a network of influencers to help spread the reach and relevance of products, solutions and services; and to introduce qualified prospects into the sales funnel.

The objectives of this case competition are to perform an audit of online conversations and Identify and rank the preferred social channels and IBM's participation rate versus competitors and non-competitors. To uncover the top external recognized influencers or subject matter experts that individuals seek out and follow to read their opinions, ask questions and gain insights before making a purchase decision. As well as to reveal the most active and influential IBM social handles talking on behalf of specific solutions.

Details, required skills and deliverables will be presented by IBM at the Briefing and Networking Reception on October 2nd, 2013.

IBM-Pace First Annual Business Strategy and Insights Case Competition
Briefing and Networking Reception

[Paula Summa]
Pace alumna Paula Summa,
General Manager of IBM
Inside Sales

[Patrick J. O'Donnell]
Patrick J. O'Donnell,
Vice President, Global
Marketing, Strategy and
Online Commerce, IBM
Inside Sales

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Pace University
163 William Street
18th Floor Conference Center
New York, NY 10038

Please join Pace's Lubin School of Business in welcoming IBM to the briefing and networking reception for the First Annual Business Strategy and Insights Case Competition. IBM senior executives will be speaking to Pace students and faculty about IBM's involvement with higher education in the U.S., job prospects in the coming years, and skills and competencies sought in candidates vying for a position at IBM. Case competition details will be presented by Cheryl Mikovich from IBM after keynote addresses by Dean Braun and Senior IBM executives. The evening will conclude with an interactive networking reception with IBM executives, Pace faculty and students. Please DO NOT bring any resumes to this networking reception. Fine hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served!

About IBM:

Forbes ranks IBM as the second largest U.S. company based on number of employees, fourth largest in market capitalization, and one of the top 10 most profitable corporations in the U.S. in 2012. The character of a company - the stamp it puts on its products, services and the marketplace - is shaped and defined over time. It evolves. It deepens. It is expressed in an ever-changing corporate culture, in transformational strategies, and in new and compelling offerings for customers. IBM's character has been formed over nearly 100 years of doing business in the field of information-handling. Nearly all of the company's products were designed and developed to record, process, communicate, store and retrieve information - from its first scales, tabulators and clocks to today's powerful computers and vast global networks.

IBM helped pioneer information technology over the years, and it stands today at the forefront of a worldwide industry that is revolutionizing the way in which enterprises, organizations and people operate and thrive. For the past 5 years, IBMers have been working with companies, cities and communities around the world to build a Smarter Planet. There have been enormous advances, as leaders are using an explosion of data to transform their enterprises and institutions through analytics, mobile technology, social business and the cloud. This new era is starting to create winners. They're changing how their decisions are made. They're redesigning how their teams work, reassessing how to serve their customers, and changing the very nature of business. It's the ability to harness data that gives these leaders their competitive advantage in the era of "smart." Today, conventions once universally held are giving way to new perspectives, new ways of working, and new solutions across industries. Roles are changing. And more than ever, IBM is ready to partner with leading companies around the world to help them adapt.

Key Facts:

  • Revenue: $104.5 billion
  • Net income: $16.6 billion
  • Total assets: $119.2 billion
  • Number of employees (worldwide): 434,246
  • Stockholders of record: 491,541

>> download the fact sheet

Case Competition Timeline:

September 30: Registration opens to Pace students
October 2: 6:00 - 7.30 p.m. Networking and Briefing Reception
October 23: Registration deadline
October 30: Participants screened, interviewed and teams finalized.
November 1: Case is sent by IBM to teams via email
November 18: Written case is due to IBM via email
November 22: Final presentations at IBM
December 2: Winning team announced

Registration Guidelines:

  • Minimum of 3 students per team (4 max).
  • Every team member must be either a full time or part time student at Pace University.
  • The teams can be a combination of undergrad and masters-level graduate students.
  • Students must be available to present their case in person during the week of November 22nd.
  • Final presentation attire: business casual
  • To be eligible, teams must submit a completed registration form and resume by October 23, 2013.

Final Presentation Location:

590 Madison Avenue (at 57th Street)
New York, NY 10022


  • 1st place winners will be guaranteed interviews for internship and full-time positions with IBM.
  • 2nd place winners may be considered for interviews for internship and full-time positions with IBM.
  • Each team will receive individual participation certificates.

General Case Competition Rules:

  • Student teams may submit only one final response to the case study, which should address all questions asked.
  • The written response must be submitted in Microsoft Word format.
  • The response must have reasonable spacing and font size (i.e. 12 pt. Arial).
  • The response must not exceed five pages of text, with two additional pages in charts, graphs or exhibits.
  • Student teams are encouraged to work on their own to solve the case, although they may solicit assistance from faculty. Any faculty assistance will be logged and reported back to judges.
  • Final round presentations should be delivered in Power Point format. No more than 20 slides.
  • All team members must participate in the final presentation.

Event Coordinators:

Dr. Ipshita Ray, Associate Professor of Marketing

Chris Korczowski, Director, Inside Sales Strategy and Insights, IBM

IBM Executive Advisors

[Paula Summa]
Paula Summa

[Patrick J. O'Donnell]
Patrick J. O'Donnell

[Chris Korczowski]
Chris Korczowski

[Kevin M. Scully]
Kevin M. Scully

[Neil S. Braun]
Neil S. Braun

[Cheryl L. Mikovch]
Cheryl L. Mikovch

[Ipshita Ray]
Ipshita Ray

Networking and Briefing Reception Keynote Speaker
Paula Summa, General Manager of IBM Inside Sales
Paula Summa, General Manager of IBM Inside Sales, leads a 6,000+ person organization across 43 sales centers in 34 countries. Paula has held a range of financial roles in her 33-year career with IBM, working with various geographic and business units, primarily in the Sales and Distribution organization. She served as controller for Latin America and was the first chief financial officer of IBM's Global Small and Medium Business unit. From there she assumed the role of vice president of finance and operations for the Global Business Partner Organization; IBM Global Financing; and finally Global Sales & Distribution, where she led a staff of 7,000 financial professionals. In her present role for Inside Sales, she leads a unit that has produced double-digit growth for much of her eight-year tenure. Paula is a member of the IBM Integration and Values Team; and sits on the advisory boards for the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals and the Service Source Executive Industry Board. She is a recipient of the IBM YWCA award (Women's Achiever Award) and on the board of directors of the ArtsWestchester Council. Paula is a member of the advisory board at Pace University's Lubin School of Business, where she was honored in 2008 with the Alumni Achievement Award. Paula received both of her degrees from Pace University - a BBA in Accounting, and while working at IBM, an MBAin Accounting / Finance.

Networking and Briefing Reception Speaker
Patrick J. O'Donnell, Vice President, Global Marketing, Strategy and Online Commerce, IBM Inside Sales
Patrick O'Donnell was named Vice President, Global Marketing, Strategy and Online Commerce for IBM Inside Sales in September 2010. He is responsible for IBM's strategy, marketing and lead development functions in IBM Inside Sales and leads a team responsible for IBM's web based B2B interactions and electronic linkages with clients worldwide. Prior to his current role, Patrick was Vice President, Competitive Sales, North America. Previous to his North America role, Patrick was based in Shanghai, China, as Vice President of Business Partners for IBM in the Growth Markets, responsible for management of, and sales through, IBM's extensive network of authorized Alliance and Business Partners in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Prior to that, as Vice President, IBM Inside Sales, Americas, Mr. O'Donnell was responsible for the business direction and management of inside sales operations in the United States, Canada and Latin America. From 2003 to 2005, Patrick was based in Tokyo, Japan and ran the inside sales organization for IBM in the Asia marketplace. In 2005, he was promoted to Vice President, Marketing, for IBM Asia Pacific, based in Shanghai, and led all aspects of IBM's marketing and demand generation activities across the Asia Pacific marketplace. In other executive assignments in his IBM career, Patrick has been Vice President of public internet sales for IBM, where he held sales and application development responsibility for IBM's public facing web sites as well as business development and sales for IBM on external sites. Patrick was IBM's Director of eCommerce in 1999 and in that role helped create, shape and develop the IBM Inside Sales unit we know today as one of its early senior leaders. Mr. O'Donnell joined IBM as a sales representative in Nashville in 1985 and has had extensive experience in a 28-year career as a sales leader in a variety of roles, including General Business, Distribution, Travel & Transportation, and Systems and Technology. Patrick is a graduate of Marist College with a degree in economics, and holds a M.B.A. degree from Vanderbilt University. He is active in the Red Cross organization; he served two consecutive 3-year terms as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.; and is presently a member of the Council of Former Governors of the American Red Cross and Chair-man, Board of Directors, Connecticut Chapter, of the American Red Cross. Patrick, his wife and three children live in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Chris Korczowski, Director, Strategy
Chris Korczowski started his career in advertising working in media and account management roles at agencies in New York and Sydney on a variety of brands, including UPS, Coca-Cola and Unilever. Chris joined IBM in 1997 working on consumer-targeted products for the Personal Computing Division. In 2000, he joined IBM's Corporate Marketing team and led integrated marketing efforts in support of the e-business initiative for key IBM solutions including CRM and e-commerce. Chris then led an integrated marketing program encompassing advertising and demand generation designed to grow the IBM brand and opportunity generation in key growth markets across 24 countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America. In 2005, Chris joined Inside Sales team as Director of Global Marketing focusing on channel enablement, demand generation, and driving integration with Demand Programs. He has helped lead several primary research studies including IT Buyer Preference Studies and Digital studies which have supported the expansion of Inside Sales' channel portfolio and digital and social selling initiatives. Recently Chris moved to a new role as Director of Market Insights and Strategy for Inside Sales where he leads strategic projects, primary research and messaging across the organization. Chris is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he earned a BA in History. He is a native Virginian but after many years of living in Manhattan can call himself a New Yorker as well.

Kevin M. Scully, Director, Brand System, IBM North America Marketing
Over the course of 12+ years at international advertising agencies Ted Bates, Lintas, and Ogilvy & Mather, Kevin gained valuable advertising, branding and marketing communications experience working with a variety of national and international clients including Panasonic, Xerox, Mars, Sony, and IBM.Kevin joined IBM in 1999 and over the past 14 years has managed advertising, branding and digital marketing for several IBM business units. In his present role Kevin is director of global marketing for IBM Inside Sales and oversees the creation of digital and social marketing programs to drive business opportunities for the inside sales organization globally.Kevin earned his undergraduate degree in Journalism/Advertising at the University of South Carolina and his MBA from Baruch College, part of the City University of New York.

Cheryl L. Mikovch, Program Executive, IBM Inside Sales Marketing, Charlotte, NC
Cheryl Mikovch is a vanguard of social selling for IBM leading global initiatives in 16 countries to grow direct channel sales enablement and digital marketing programs for more 3000 internal sellers and seven call centers located across the globe.In 2000, Cheryl joined IBM in Raleigh, North Carolina and has held progressive roles in marketing program management, brand management, web marketing and sales enablement.As a Marketing Program Executive, she is at the forefront of designing digital and social strategies to help marketing and sales teams integrate social selling into the marketing mix and sales arsenal.Cheryl has been a speaker at numerous events. Most recently, Cheryl was featured in the B2B Magazine March 2013 issue in the article "IBM Turns Its Sales Staff Social Media Savvy" and in the Chief Marketer Magazine Feb/Mar 2012 issue in the article "IBM's Social Selling, Computer Giant Commits to B2B Prospecting Inside Social Media." She has been a featured speaker at DemandCon 2012 and 2013, the Harte-Hanks Marketing Forum 2012 and the key note speaker at Aberdeen Marketing Summit 2011. Cheryl began her employment with Philip Morris USA in 1991, filling a number of roles in the company's engineering and operations management departments. Cheryl holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Virginia Tech University and a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Louisville. A North Carolinian for the past decade, Cheryl enjoys golfing, running and time with her family.

Executive Sponsor

Neil S. Braun, Dean, Lubin School of Business - Pace University
Neil S. Braun is the Dean of Pace University's Lubin School of Business in New York since July 2010. He has previously been President of the NBC Television Network, Chairman and CEO of Viacom Entertainment, an internet and environmental entrepreneur, a film producer and corporate attorney. Braun serves on the board of directors, audit, compensation and governance committees of IMAX Corporation (NYSE), the board and finance committee of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength and is President of the Board of the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. He has taught an MBA course in economic models of media and entertainment at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School.

Pace University Faculty Advisor

Dr. Ipshita Ray, Associate Professor of Marketing and Graduate Program Chair, Lubin School of Business - Pace University
Dr. Ipshita Ray is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Graduate Program Chair at the Lubin School of Business, Pace University, New York. Her research interests include customer decision making processes, customer relationship management, online versus offline shopping behaviors and marketing communication effectiveness. She has published in journals such as the Journal of Business Research, Journal of Marketing Communications, Journal of Strategic Marketing, Journal of Brand Management, International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, and Journal of Academic and Business Ethics. Dr. Ray also has many years of work experience in marketing research and media planning with companies such as MMA/Carat and J.Walter Thompson. She was the Advertising Education Foundation's 2008 Visiting Professor Program's national award recipient and worked with host advertising agency, DDB, Chicago on McDonald's, Budweiser, Wrigley's and State Farm accounts. She was awarded the Outstanding Professor of the Year award in 2002 with an honorary induction to the National Honors Society for Adult Learners in Continuing Higher Education (Alpha Sigma Lambda).