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School News

August 23, 2007

Student Teams Triumph at International Competition

Columbia MBA students’ turnaround strategies for Pier 1 Imports and Trump Entertainment Resorts earned two top awards at the 2007 Carl Marks Student Paper Competition.


Teams made up of Columbia MBA students who studied with Laura B. Resnikoff, associate professor of management, won the top two awards in the case study category of the 2007 Carl Marks Student Paper Competition. Administered by the Turnaround Management Association (TMA), the annual competition recognizes outstanding student achievement in the field of corporate renewal.

Submitted in general and case study categories, the winning papers are selected for their relevance to corporate distress, financial restructuring and reorganization along with the quality of the writing and analysis. The first-place team — Hamid Benbrahim ’07 (EMBA), Rich Bozutto ’07 (EMBA), Laurent Grossi ’08, Geoffrey P. Teillon ’07 (EMBA) and John Ure ’07 (EMBA) — adopted the perspective of an adviser to the board of directors of Pier 1 Imports and suggested plans for increasing shareholders’ equity and returning the company to profitability. The second-place team — Christian Blinkenberg ’07, Sachin Kadakia ’07, Michael Yao ’07 and Paul Zangrilli ’07 — analyzed Trump Entertainment Resorts’s assets and operations and proposed a successful turnaround based on refinancing, selling two properties and improving existing operations.

“The judging panel was most impressed by the high quality of the submissions from prestigious schools with excellent MBA programs,” said Lisa Poulin, vice president of university relations at the TMA. “The winning case studies were of a caliber that can be utilized for teaching turnaround issues facing companies today.”

The top two awards include a $3,000 and $1,500 check, respectively, from Carl Marks Advisory Group LLC in New York. The TMA, the only international nonprofit dedicated to corporate renewal and turnaround management, will also provide one member of each winning team with travel and lodging expenses to attend its annual convention in October.