A group of Drexel LeBow MBA students examined the technology behind today’s media consumption habits and quickly got up to speed on digital media industry trends — call it “binge-learning” — for a national case competition.
As part of the Interactive Case Competition, organized by Interactive TV Works and media consultant Craig Leddy, four LeBow students — Anastasia Jones, Garret Bullard, Rita Bentes dos Santos and Mauricio Ahumada — presented alongside teams from New York University’s Stern School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, among others. The team placed second out of four teams in the finals, held in November at A&E Networks’ New York City headquarters, and received a $1,000 prize.
“Streaming technology is something that affects everyone,” said Bullard, who organized the team and recruited his classmates to join. “It was a really interesting space to learn more about and to come up with some innovative solutions.”
As part of the competition’s first round, team members filled out a survey on their own TV watching and streaming habits and conferred with industry experts who served as coaches: Jason Epstein, Director of XFINITY/X1 Product Syndication, and Brendan Benzing ’92, Senior Director of Product Management, both from Comcast; and TV industry analyst Rick Howe.
“They guided us through the initial research, told us what issues the judges would be thinking about and shaped our thinking process,” Bullard said. “That was incredibly valuable for us.”
For the competition’s first round, the team developed ideas for digital streaming models and presented their plans for a legacy provider to update both their content and delivery in the face of growing competition and shrinking market share.
After placing second based on their initial report, the team had to condense their findings into a 10-minute presentation, aiming for a high-level overview for the competition’s judges.
“We really had to home in on our story, what we wanted the audience to come away with and how to make sure they understood,” Jones said.
“It was impressive to see how we all have grown from one year ago when we first met,” Ahumada added, noting improvements in presenting and problem solving.
Bullard felt the new knowledge he gained through this competition built on his previous experience in case competitions and aided his professional growth.
“It gave us exposure to a fascinating and dynamic industry, and the industry contacts at Comcast were a great networking opportunity,” he said.