The Winning Team: David Druin, Eric Brooks, Hannah Kelley-Bell, Matt Srygler, Sam Polino
Place: 1st out of 32 teams
Team Name: Back to the Grid of the Future
A team of five UNC Kenan-Flagler first-year MBA students took home the top prize at the 10th Annual Michigan Ross Renewable Energy Case Competition in November. The student team of David Druin, Eric Brooks, Hannah Kelley-Bell, Matt Srygler, and Sam Polino competed against 31 other top business schools from across the country.
The case prompt challenged students, acting as a team of junior analysts at a growth-stage equity fund, to make a $100M investment in a real California-based startup. The objective being to invest in a company working towards California’s goal of achieving “100% Clean Energy by 2045.” Teams were asked to determine measures of success balancing environmental and financial targets to achieve a successful investment for their electric utility limited partners. Each team had one week to analyze the case, choose their target startup, and submit two presentations (for the semi-final and final rounds).
16 teams were invited to Ann Arbor, Michigan to present in-person on the morning of Friday, November 30th. The top four teams were then chosen to present in the afternoon. The finalists included MBA students from University of Texas Austin (McCombs), Dartmouth College (Tuck), New York University (Stern), and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler).
This win marked the first victory for UNC Kenan-Flagler at RECC and the second finals appearance after UNC placed 4th in 2014. The Kenan-Flagler Energy Club has prioritized improving the program’s performance in major case competitions for 2018-19. Through collaboration among the UNC Energy Center and energy club leadership, the club has worked to prepare first-year students through practice cases and various energy industry education workshops.
Eric Brooks stated that “preparation was key to our ultimate success at RECC.” He said the team met prior to receiving the case prompt to establish clear objectives, understand each other’s strengths, and develop a game plan for attacking the problem. “More than anything, we knew it was crucial that we communicate effectively and just have fun working through the case” according to Brooks. Fellow team member Matt Srygler said his favorite part of the event was getting to know his teammates and “laughing through practice runs in our Airbnb the night before the competition.”
In addition to taking home 1st place at RECC, another UNC Kenan-Flagler team came in 2nd place at Duke University Fuqua’s Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition last fall. With strong showings in these major energy industry case competitions, Kenan-Flagler students are proving that UNC is one of the premier institutions for energy business education in the country.