Humana Healthcare Case Competition Winners

Second Win in Three Years for a Jindal Team at Humana Healthcare Case Competition

Humana Healthcare Case Competition winners (left to right): Steve Buchalter, Madison Moore, Charlotte Hamm and Shane Damico

For the second time in three years, a Jindal School student team has won first place, $10,000 and job-interview opportunities in a national healthcare case competition put on by a Fortune 100 health-insurance company.

The JSOM team of four students in the Full-Time MBA program prevailed in the third annual challenge from Humana Inc., an insurer and medical services provider based in Louisville, Kentucky. The competition gauges graduate students’ abilities to solve problems and build viable business opportunities based on those solutions.

Team members Steve Buchalter, Shane Damico, Charlotte Hamm and Madison Moore triumphed over fellow finalist teams from Columbia, Emory, Georgetown, Pittsburgh and Rutgers universities, the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina.

The Columbia University team took second place and $5,000 at the finals, which were held November 1.

The Jindal School team members “were absolutely amazing,” said Andrew Cyders, a 2012 JSOM MBA alum who watched the finalists’ presentations from the audience at Humana headquarters.

A process consultant in Humana’s National Contracting division, Cyders was a member of the Jindal School team that won the inaugural competition in 2011. The interview he earned as part of the team’s winning effort led to a job offer and his current position at Humana.

“The UT Dallas presentation at the 2013 finals really stood out among the many I have seen over the years, “Cyders said.“The primary characteristic that differentiated both their presentation and their solution was its simplicity. As ‘Pioneer Simplicity’ is one of Humana’s values, the elegance of their solution really resonated with our leaders and was specifically cited by Jim Murray, our COO [chief operating officer], as a key factor in their victory.”

The Human challenge begins each year in early fall with contestant teams receiving the case topic via email and then working feverishly to package an analysis and recommendations that are due back within 72 hours.

Teams that move on compete in two finalist heats in Louisville. In each, they make a 20-minute presentation, followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer session, appearing before company employees and judges drawn from Humana’s top management ranks.

“The success of this team doesn’t surprise me at all,” Lisa Shatz, director of JSOM’s Full-Time MBA program, said. “They have taken every opportunity to take what they learn in class and apply it to real business settings. A case competition like this is the perfect setting for them to show their ability to solve tough problems.”

Cyders added that “their clarity of both delivery and reasoning were a testament to their individual talent, their diligent teamwork and the quality of instruction provided at UTD….This year’s team should be applauded both for their success at this event and for their larger contribution to the university.”