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October 15, 2010

Columbia MBA Students Win Turnaround Management Competition

For the third year in a row, Columbia MBA students captured a first-place award in the case study category of the Turnaround Management Association's Carl Marks Student Paper Competition.


For the third year in a row, Columbia MBA students captured a first-place award in the case study category of the Turnaround Management Association’s Carl Marks Student Paper Competition. Organized by the Turnaround Management Association (TMA), the annual competition recognizes outstanding achievement in the study of corporate renewal by students in MBA or equivalent business-related master’s programs. A team of Columbia MBA students also won the second-place award.

Advised by Professor Laura Resnikoff, director of the School’s Private Equity Program, the teams were selected as winners of the case study category for skillfully handling issues of corporate distress, financial restructuring and reorganization, and the quality of writing and analysis in their papers.

“This year we were extremely pleased to have substantially increased participation in the competition and a significant number of extremely strong entries,” said James F. Wallack, TMA vice president of university relations. “The judges had the happy task of making some very close calls in distinguishing between the top papers.”

The winning team — Molly Bennard ’10, Kevin Sayles ’10, Ronald Schulhof ’10, Julie Thaler ’10, and John Wolff ’10 — looked at the footwear retailer Crocs, which experienced a rapid decline in revenue from 2008 to 2009. In their paper (which can be downloaded from the TMA’s website), the team recommends a turnaround strategy that incorporates trends in the footwear industry and analyzes the company’s strategic, operational, and financial situations.

The winners of the second-place award — Brian Hindo ’10, Sonal Kapoor ’10, Nate McMurry ’10, Ryan Orton ’10, and Sumit Suman ’11 — focused on media company Media General, which owns several TV stations, websites, newspapers, and interactive advertising companies in the United States. In their paper, (which can be downloaded from the TMA’s website), the team adopted the perspective of an adviser to Media General’s board of directors and suggested plans for increasing shareholders’ equity and returning the company to profitability.

The awards were presented on October 7 during a recognition luncheon at the TMA’s annual convention in Orlando, FL. The cash prizes — $3,000 for first place and $1,500 for second place — are funded by Carl Marks Advisory Group in New York.

The Chicago-based Turnaround Management Association has more than 9,000 members in 45 regional chapters who comprise a professional community of turnaround practitioners, attorneys, accountants, investors, lenders, venture capitalists, appraisers, liquidators, executive recruiters, and consultants.