Ciao from Milan

PROVO, Utah – Jan 19, 2018 – Ciao!

A group of MBA students from the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business packed its bags and traveled to Milan, Italy, to compete in a healthcare case competition held 24–25 November.

BYU Marriott was the only American school to apply, and of the seventy-five teams that entered, BYU ranked in the top ten and was invited to Italy where a first-place winner would be selected.

The invitation came as a result of Alexandre da Cruz, a second-year MBA student from Brazil, searching the web and finding a posting on Alira Health’s website for a case competition it was sponsoring at SDA Bocconi School of Management. Initially, only European schools were invited because the competition was meant to be small and local.

“I shared our initiative with SDA Bocconi and asked if we could at least get the case prompt and learn from the experience,” da Cruz says. “The school said, ‘As long as you’re interested in healthcare, you can come and compete with us.’”

The competition had participating teams from France, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, and Portugal. The teams were made up of diverse students with most speaking two to three languages each. The BYU Marriott team took this opportunity to break the American stereotype and showcase its diversity.

“They were surprised at how diverse our team was because we’re an American team that cumulatively speaks seven languages, including Portuguese, Chinese, German, French, and more,” says Daniel McCracken, a second-year MBA student from Indianapolis, Indiana. “They figured Americans speak one language—English.”

The competition in Italy was a great experience and worth the travel, notes McCracken, who enjoyed the time he had to interact with students from Europe and enhance awareness of BYU Marriott.

“Most of the students we met hadn’t heard of BYU or BYU Marriott—now they have,” McCracken says. “Students and professors we talked to were interested in coming to the United States and potentially coming to BYU if we were to sponsor a similar event.”

Team members expressed gratitude for the clubs and organizations that sponsored their trip to Italy: the MBA program, the Whitmore Global Management Center, and the Healthcare Industry Association (HIA).

Bill Tayler, professor of accounting and the HIA advisor, thinks the most notable aspect of the case competition is how, within only a few weeks of reorganizing the HIA, students put together a team, competed, and placed in the top ten of an international competition.

“The drive and ability of BYU Marriott students is being noticed and rewarded,” Tayler says. “They are going to make a remarkable difference in the healthcare industry.”

MBA Team
BYU MBA team: Danny McCracken, David Smith, Cami Schiel, Dandan Zhao, and Alexandre Cruz.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Emily Colon